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Best paid Android apps of all time

by Ian Black

So what are the best Android apps worth paying for? These paid Android apps - some of which have been updated for use on Honeycomb-based Android tablets - are a worthy investment and vastly improve upon any free alternative. We recommend you download these paid Android apps that make the most sense for your life.

Swiftkey X Keyboard ($3.99)

What makes virtual keyboards better than physical keys? You can update and improve upon them through software. Swiftkey X Keyboard delivers a smart typing experience that has been critically acclaimed in many high-profile tech reviews. It’s optimized for typing with either one or two hands and learns your style of writing and any new words you use. As you use it, the predictive word choices it shows you get better and better. The ultimate benefit: You can type faster on your Android device. If you're a tablet user, check out Swiftkey Tablet X Keyboard instead ($4.99)

LogMeIn Ignition ($29.99)

Need to access your computers remotely? LogMeIn Ignition gets it done. You’ll need to create an account on their website and install the host application on your Mac and PC computers, then download the app to your Android. All of this is easy to do, which can’t be said of many other remote access solutions, and you’ll be amazed at your ability to work on your PCs from your phone. You can even pinch-zoom around your remote desktops for easy control. An added benefit is the ability to give trusted friends and family access to your LogMeIn account to download the host app to their PCs. That way, you can “take control” remotely to troubleshoot their computer problems.

Root Explorer (File Manager) ($3.99)

An Android phone is much like a mobile computer, except for the ability to explore every aspect of the file system. Enter Root Explorer. This app is the ultimate file management utility for Android. It provides the ability to browse every folder on your phone, including data, which is often restricted from many file management tools. You can search for specific files, create and fill .ZIP files, browse multimedia in thumbnail views, edit text files, execute scripts, and much more. Be warned: With great power comes great responsibility. You could easily brick your phone if you don’t know what you are doing.

Beautiful Widgets (approx $2.59)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you have to behold your Android several times a day, so you’ll want to make it look as good as it can. Beautiful Widgets is appropriately named. It offers a set of continually updating skins that customize the look, and a little of the feel, of your phone. You can set gorgeous animated weather, clock, and battery-life animations. Or, pick one-touch buttons that let you toggle things like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, airplane mode, silent, vibrate and GPS on and off. For just under $3.00, you’ll also be receiving an app which features a constant stream of widget updates.

PicSay Pro PhotoEditor ($3.99)

Read the rave reviews and you’ll know that this app is one of the easiest and effective photo editors available for Android phones and tablets. Just as with a more expensive PC-based tool, you can sharpen images, remove red eye, crop and straighten, overlay other photos, add color, insert word balloons and text, apply effects, paste in stickers, and a lot more.

Support for the Motorola Xoom and other Honeycomb-based tablets is included in the latest release, letting you edit photos on a bigger screen.

Titanium Backup Pro ($6.58)

You will need the free version of Titanium Backup installed first, but once you do, paying for the full version unleashes all kinds of power over your Android device. This is a fully-featured app that lets you backup all your apps and Market links and uninstall ‘bloatware’ apps that clog up your device. It’s an essential tool for technically-minded Android users who have already ‘rooted’ their phones to give them unprecedented access to the system files within.

DocumentsToGo Full Version Key ($14.95)

Rather like Titanium Backup Pro, make sure you install the free version of Documents to Go 3.0 Main first, then purchase this ‘key’ to unlock the power of the full version. Documents to Go allows you access to lots of Microsoft Office docs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, not only for viewing, but also for editing, so that’s why purchasing the full version is recommended for power users. It’s expensive, but essential for mobile workers who need access to documents from everywhere.

WeatherBug Elite ($2.99)

For fans of weather apps and budding meteorologists alike, Weatherbug Elite is a nice upgrade to its free counterpart. It’s a very thorough app and 100 percent ad-free offering enhanced maps, alerts, an additional home screen widget and the ability to track unlimited locations. This is all on top of what the regular version offers like live, local weather, 7-day forecasts and access to weather cams. WeatherBug Elite sure is likely to be a better option than the simple widget or app that comes pre-installed on your Android device.

TweetCaster Pro ($4.99)

The free version of TweetCaster for Twitter offers all the functionality of the paid version but you’ll have to deal with ads. This ad-free version is worth spending a few bucks on because you get a really nice Twitter client with a great look and feel. It’s fast, organizes the social network in a simple and efficient way, lets you use multiple accounts, plus you can post status updates to both Facebook and Twitter at the same time. If you’re a tablet owner, you’ll find the app has been well optimized for Honeycomb devices to take advantage of the extra screen real estate offered.

Dropbox (free, subscription-based)

OK, we appreciate that Dropbox is initially free, but if you want more storage space, you're going to need to pay for a monthly subscription. Dropbox bridges all your machines – your home computer, work computer, tablets, Internet café terminals, and your Android phone – with web-based storage. For free, you get 2GB of storage, but you can upgrade to 50GB for $9.99 a month ($99 a year), or 100GB for $19.99 a month ($199 a year). At these storage levels you can move multimedia like music, pictures, or video around. Or, you can back up significant data to the web and swap it around at will among your computers and gadgets.

Others in this series:

1. Best free Android apps of all time

2. Best free Android games of all time

3. Best paid Android games of all time