Top Apps for new Android Users

Mar 17, 2010

It’s my full-time job to help teachers and librarians make excellent use of online technology for teaching and learning. As a new Android phone user, I couldn’t help myself — here’s my top list of FREE apps for anyone who just picked up a Droid. Enjoy.

Advanced Task Killer

Multitasking on the Droid is insanely great. From time to time, your phone may slow down. Use this app to quickly and cleanly force-quit from your background apps. No fuss, no muss, and speeds things up. Free version > paid, since paid auto kills apps. You want to control which app(s) you want to kill, and when. ATK Free does this flawlessly.


SwiftKey Keyboard Free

Sure, your Droid comes with a pretty nice keyboard. Ditch it by installing this replacement. Between the haptic feedback as you type, the layout of the characters, and its ability to correctly guess what you’re typing all adds up to a must-download for all new Droid owners.


Key Ring: Cards Coupon & Sales

Leave those bulky club cards at home! With Key Ring you can create a digital copy of any club card by simply scanning its barcode or by manually entering the barcode number / membership ID. No more 5-15 little plastic cards messing up your car keys. Scan them in, remove them, and use your phone at the store. Neat. Helpful.


ShopSavvy Barcode & QR Scanner

This app will sell 1M Droid phones and save you more than $30/month for your data access. Go to any store, open Shop Savvy, and scan any bar code. Your phone will show you the price of the item at other local and online retailers. You can click through to local stores and get directions to run out of the store to get it cheaper elsewhere, or click through and instantly order it for MUCH less at, etc. A must have. Already saved $115 in four days shopping at Target, Best Buy, and WalMart on toys, electronics, and more.


Car Locator

Save your location when you park and Car Locator will help you locate and find it via GPS/built-in map. Yes, your wife will be thrilled! (And you will be, too, when that senior moment hits and you can find your car!)



Get live weather information on your phone, including radar images. The best feature of the app is the notification service. Once a location is set (either by the users current position or manually choosing), the current temperature is displayed in the notification bar. If you drag down the notification bar the current temperature and forecast are both displayed.


ScanLife Barcode & QR Reader

Seen those weird blocks of symbols on websites and the real world? Think of them as visual bookmarks linking to websites or YouTube videos. ScanLife turns your camera phone into a 2D barcode reader. Simply hold your camera phone over an EZcode to get connected to a wide variety of information and content. Without typing anything, you can automatically link to a specific website, send an SMS, make a voice call and more.



Have a FaceBook account? Use the official app to connect to your Wall, post, upload photos, etc. A must for any mobile FB user.


UberSocial for Twitter

Have a Twitter account? Twidroid makes it easy to post Tweets, read updates from your friends, and more.


TweetPhoto Pro

If you’re a Twitter user, this app allows you to choose any photo from your gallery/stored images, click a button, and upload it to the TweetPhoto servers. Then, you can add a Tweet message, and post it to Twitter, knowing an embedded link will be added to let your followers see your image. (Best not to use the direct take a new pic/post method, crashes my phone from time to time. Better to take images using the Camera app on your phone, open TweetPhoto, then select an image from your Gallery to post. Seems to be happier this way.)


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