From secure messaging to document editing, our top free must-have apps have been rated, reviewed and named the best free Android apps of 2015.
We know there is a huge number of apps competing for storage space on our Android devices, but why spend time and bandwidth to download an app that sounds cool, only to find it isn’t that great? Our list top 13 must-have Android apps have been rated, reviewed and named the best free Android apps of 2015.
1. Bleep Offers Private and Secure Instant Messaging
It’s no secret that WhatsApp is at the top of the instant messaging heap, but despite its popularity, security and privacy concerns remain. Bleep is a great alternative from the makers of BitTorrent which offers fully encrypted messages which, critically, are stored locally, not on the cloud. In the style of Snapchat, Bleep’s whisper optiondeletes messages as soon as it is read.
2. Manage Your Cloud Storage With Unclouded
Between Dropbox, Google Docs, OneDrive, and a host of others, online storage can get cloudier than your vision after a good night of partying. Fortunately, there is a freemium app called Unclouded which aims to grant access to all your far-flung online files through a single app. It isn’t possible to peruse more than one cloud account at a time, but an intuitive menu system allows you to switch back and forth without entering and exiting multiple apps for multiple cloud services. Unclouded provides details on how may files are in each account and the amount of available remaining space.
3. Find Apps faster with App Dialer
Remember at the dawn of texting when we would laboriously type words using the grid-style number pad on our flip phones? Those days are back with App Dialer, which allows Android users to search for apps using a T9 keypad. This time around, though, a simple touch of the key corresponding to either of its three letters will show all the possibilities of apps which can be formed with those characters. A sequence of 9-2-4 corresponds to W-H-A, for instance, bringing up WhatsApp as a potential match.
4. Use Snapseed to Tweak Your Digital Snaps
Originally launched as a desktop tool, Snapseed is a powerful must-have photo editing tool. Combing simple, one tap effects with excellent editing power and an intuitive UI have made this app a hit with smartphone wielding photographers. Recently released Snapseed 2.0 allows users to retrace their editing steps by saving your adjustments as re-editable layers.
5. Docs To Go offers Easy and Lightweight Editing
For lightweight word-processing and editing of text, Docs To Go remains one of the easiest to use and slimmed down apps available. In addition to text, Docs To Go supports editing of spreadsheets and integrates well with cloud storage. As long as one never needs to give a long winded slide-based presentation, this app may be all that s required.
Like it or not, documents created with Microsoft Office abound. At some point, Android users will either be asked to open or create a file in this format. Gasp! I know. The good news is Microsoft’s suite of Office programs are available on Android for free and the apps are rather well designed, too. Word, Excel, & PowerPoint are included, so one can open and edit these documents no matter the location. It’s worth noting the MacBook Air on which this article is being typed refused any and all attempts to auto-correct the word Microsoft. Go figure.
7. Uber Offers Smooth Traveling
Traveling in an unfamiliar city and can’t find a cab? Uber is essentially a on-demand network of private cars run through a smartphone app. Using GPS, Uber will pinpoint your location and send a driver to pick you up (if one is nearby, of course). Leave your cash at home; Uber drivers only accept digital forms of payment such as credit cards or PayPal. Users are encouraged to rate their drivers after each trip.
8. Drupe Lets You Manage All Your Messaging Apps
Between Facebook Messaging, WhatsApp, and regular old SMS, mobile users have a myriad of messaging apps to manage. Drupe is a Play Store app which attempts to corral all of a user’s messaging apps (and send messages!) in one place. Once installed on your device, Drupe organizes all your contacts and messaging apps, placing your contacts on the left side of the UI and messaging apps on the right.
9. Google Translate: Handwritten or Spoken Text Accepted
Star Trek promised us a lot of cool gadgets, not the least of which was the Universal Translator, which allowed Captain Picard to threaten hostile alien species with ease. Google Translate is our 21st-Century equivalent, offering word-for-word translations of over 70 languages accepting input via text, speech, or even text recognition using your device camera. Google’s translation will be displayed in text form or read aloud through your phone’s speaker. Shields up! Red alert!
10. Talk With Up to 200 People With Popcorn Buzz
Group chat is great, up to a certain point when the conversation gets so large it’s almost impossible to tell who is saying what via text. Popcorn Buzz allows users to call up and talk with to 200 people at the same time. It would work well for business conference calls, or when you need to talk with Uncle Joe and Aunt Maisie on Christmas Day to thank them for the new socks.
11. Spotify is a jukebox in Your Pocket
Spotify is a music streaming service, turning your Android device into a virtual jukebox. Users can listen for free, while downloading tunes for offline listening requires a premium account. Recently, version 3.0 update brought a redesigned UI with larger control buttons. With the announcement that Apple’s Music streaming service will be available on Android, it will be interesting to see what further improvements Spotify’s team has up their sleeves in what is quickly becoming a crowded market.
12. Google Keep: A Virtual Android Corkboard
Google Keep is an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Pinterest, with its pinning of all your favorite things, corkboard style. With Google Keep, users can go a step further by record audio notes for their corkboard along with to-do checklists and favorite pictures. It should already be in your pre-loaded Android apps.
13. Zoho Docs: The Iconic Document Platform
This Android app works great for freelancers who need to work with a variety of documents in a myriad of formats. With a simple and easy to navigate UI, Zoho can open virtually all of your documents in cloud storage without users having to worry about compatibility. Sharing documents with other Zoho users is exceptionally easy. The ability to save documents locally is a huge bonus.
This article was originally published on June 29, 2015