The Android platform is outpacing Apple’s iOS by almost 100%. Every day, 500,000 new users activate their Android devices compared to the 275,000 who do the same with Apple products. As of July 1, 2011, Android had captured 38.1% of the mobile-device market to Apple’s 26.6%.
Android’s growing market share has succeeded in attracting some of the top app developers away from Apple which has led to a surge in new apps. This means that Android users have more options than ever, but it also means a greater number of substandard apps to weed through before you get to the good ones. We’ve combed through countless user reviews and done rigorous testing of our own in order to come up with this list of essential Android apps.
Travel: Gas Buddy
Whether you’re sticking around town or taking a road trip, this free app can help you cut down on fuel costs by connecting to your GPS and showing you the four best gas stations based on price and proximity. The app relies on you and other users to keep gas prices up to date, which gives it a nice community feel. An entire community dedicated to saving you money. Imagine that.
Fitness: Cardio Trainer
Cost: Free for standard version. $9.99 for Pro version.
This app is like having a tiny personal trainer in your pocket. Cardio Trainer uses your Android's GPS capabilities to track your every move whether you're inside or outside. Some apps work better with a single activity like running or walking, but the Cardio Trainer offers the same great information no matter what type of activity you prefer. Additional features include:
Security: Emergency Panic Button
How many times have you heard stories about someone being saved only because they were locatable by their mobile phone? This app takes that idea one step further. Set up a list of emergency contacts, and each one will receive an email or text message when you hit your Emergency Panic Button. This is a great idea for anyone who works or plays in remote or dangerous areas.
Astronomy: Google Sky Map
If you love to stare at the night sky but can’t pick out a constellation to save your life, this app is like a telescope and your own personal astronomer rolled into one. Simply point your phone at the heavens and it will tell you the name of the star, planet or constellation captured by the camera. If you’re looking for a certain item, simply tell the app what you’re looking for to receive instructions.
Video: Qik Video Connect
This cool app is the reason why cell phones are being banned from concerts. It’s a would-be bootlegger's dream that turns your Android device into a live video broadcast tool. Whether you’re broadcasting an entire show to the world or sharing your kid's first steps with Grandpa, Qik Video Connect makes it easy to broadcast important happenings to your friends and family as they happen.
Television: SPB TV
With SPB TV, your Android device will be capable of receiving live TV feeds from over 150 different public TV stations representing more than 20 countries. With no cost to download and no monthly subscription fees, this app has earned more than four million subscribers around the world. Believe it or not, this freebie is also feature packed. Here are just a few of SPB TV's highlights:
This list represents a small number of the options available in the ever-expanding Android market. As Android’s dominance of the mobile market continues, we’ll only see more developers and apps flock to the Android store. With an amazing array of choices, Android users are quickly converting their mobile devices into multi-purpose tools that can do just about anything -- even make a phone call!
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