Essential android apps that I use

Dec 16, 13 Essential android apps that I use

Smartphones are almost an essential part of our lives nowadays. Even to a point where some people don’t even use their desktop or laptops at home. One of the main reason is the versatility of a mobile phone. In such a tiny device (Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Samsung Note 3 aside), you can watch a movie, surf the net, access facebook, pay your bills, and even do contactless payment. That and a whole lot of other stuff. However, with that power comes a problem. There’s too many apps in the apps store! Be it Apple iTunes or Google Play, there’s probably clones and clones of apps doing the same thing. For me, I’m not much of a gamer, and I never liked filling my phone with tons of apps that I don’t use. However, there are some essential apps that I will always have, and these are some of them.


instagram_transparent Instagram is an app we almost can’t do without these days. From using a old school square photo format, to having standard filters that changes the mood of an image, instagram is now the go-to tool for photo sharing. For single images, I would use instagram to take the photo, apply a filter, type a caption and tag the location. Sometimes I would share to facebook, as the process is just hassle free. I do know of people who use hashtag as a way of sharing, but I’m not much of a fan of hash tagging.



whatsapp-messenger-1WhatsApp is almost synonymous to instant messaging nowadays. It was one of the first contender to the mobile phone IM space, even though you could use msn, skype, etc on mobile phones for a long while. Perhaps it was just the simple feature set and low overheads. Nowadays there are many others such as LINE, Wechat, Kakao, etc.. Each has their own appeal, and honestly, I have all installed. But WhatsApp is still the one to use. I’m a little irritated by the annual subscription, but it’s really a small issue. Ah well.


Google Maps

Google-Maps-iconGoogle Maps is not exactly something you download, since it comes default with every android phone. Initially, it was just a nice to have, but with all the features available, it’s almost a must use on a daily basis. Just for starters, you can use it for close location tracking. This is with the help of GPS of course, given how fast the GPS signal can lock, and how accurate the maps have become. For long distance, it can be used for direction finding. Just type in your location and your destination, and you can select to either drive, take public transport or to walk there. The public transport information for example, is pretty updated and accurate. On top of that, there’s google maps directions. This is somewhat like your GPS, where they will do a turn-by-turn voiceover. I think a data connection might be required though.. Which means there’s still a market for the dedicated GPS apps or devices. Other features which I commonly use is the street view, as well as for saving locations that I have visited but am not familiar with. One interesting feature they seem to be working on is the google maps within a building. For this, you can zoom into a building, and they will show you the shops on a level by level basis. Pretty cool.



skype VOIP applications are starting to feel the heat after the current wave of IM. Most IMs now allow you to make short voice notes, and even VOIP calls. However, with regards to business calls and discussion groups, skype is still a leader in this field. I deal a lot with freelancers from other countries such as India, Philippines, Russia, Europe, and even Kenya. For them, skype is the defacto standard, and I doubt this is going to change. While I do not use their skype to phone function which costs money, I believe there are still a lot of users on that platform.



agodaAgoda is my go-to hotel platform! In this space, there are many others like expedia, asiarooms, booking, tripadvisor, etc. In my opinion, agoda just seems to have a simple and intuitive interface. In terms of pricing, I doubt there is any significant differences. Whenever you need to book a room in a rush, just pull out the app, check the locale you are looking for, and make your booking. Fuss free. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter which one you use, but you should just have one handy. If only you can skip the reception counter at the hotel and do a self collection for the room key. Hmmm.



airdroidAirdroid is quite an interesting application. Essentially. This turns your phone into a server of sorts. So once you are at home, you enable airdroid and this allows the other computers on the network to access your phone. This is definitely helpful if you don’t want to mess with cables to sync your photos, data, songs, etc to your phone. On top of that, it is actually a full featured android manager. That means, you are able to send an sms from the computer, check your phone logs, remotely take a photo using your phone, etc. A must have in my opinion. This is especially so when the newer android OS defaults cable connects to USB MTP instead of mass storage. Those people with gigabytes of photos on their phone, this is godsend!


Any.Do is one of the newer apps I found out about. Essentially, it is just a simple todo list app. What I do like about it is that it has a clean and simple user interface and it’s tightly integrated with google chrome (which I use on my PC anyway). After all, if it’s too difficult to maintain a todo list, we won’t use it anyway. They have an auto ‘ moment’ which rings at a pre-set timing. From there, you run through your list of todo, be it for today, or to postpone to another day. Simple app, nothing too complicated.


AXS Payment

AXSPaymentIn Singapore AXS machines is the de facto payment system we use to pay our bills. However, while they are littered all over Singapore, there’s usually still quite a queue to make payments. The good thing is, they recently released a mobile app. This allows you to save your card/billing information, as well as a record of all your past transactions. Paying bills is now simply a matter of whipping out your mobile phone, and keying in your internet banking details to effect the payment. Totally fuss free!



camcard-business-card-readerI run my own business and usually go to quite a few networking events. As such, there’s always a stack of namecards that you get during a single event. Camcard allows you to scan the card using your phone’s camera, and records the relevant data, as well as an image of the namecard. The free version is limited to 1000 scans though. Even then, it’s still useful enough.



copy.comThere’s so many cloud storage solutions, such as dropbox, google drive, box, copy, etc. For me, I primarily use dropbox, because all my data is already stored over there. Though, I might consider moving to other providers soon. One of the main reason why I use copy is the photo sync function. After enabling the function, whenever you get into a wifi area, they will automatically sync the photos you have taken to cloud. Definitely a godsend. And of course, Copy comes with 20GB of space from the start. So no messing around with looking for referrals and all that.

PS: That said, if you are going to sign up for copy, do use my referral.


Jorte Calendar

jorte_iconEver since I got android years ago, their built in calendar always sucked. After a bit of research, I found jorte and have used it ever since. In all honesty, I have no idea if this is still the best calendar app to use, but it definitely served my purpose. The 7 day view is the one I use primarily, being able to display 5 lines of events in a single day. Colour theming is decent and the app speed is fast enough. Definitely nothing to complain here.



photogridNowadays, taking photos with the mobile phone is almost a necessity. This can be seen by the crazy number of photo processing apps available. One of the main functions required is the creation of a photo collage. In this aspect, photogrid is definitely tops! I’ve used quite a number of  such apps, but I have never managed to find one that is easy enough and with a decent number of layout patterns. For photogrid, there is also some basic photo processing features, but again, the main use for me is just the collage creation.


SG Buses

SGbusesSG Buses is one of the best iteration of a bus time arrival app. Simple to use interface, ability to bookmark, and with just all the features I need. I suppose the timing estimates are taken from a public database, thus I don’t think any of the app would be better than the other in this aspect. UI would be the key in this case I suppose.




uber iconOne of my new favourite app recently. Uber is essentially a private limousine service. In taxi-crunched Singapore, this app is definitely a must have. Yes, the fares charged are 2-3 times more expensive than a taxi ride, but they only use Mercedes or BMW. The app itself is very intuitive. You fire up the app, it uses GPS to detect your current location. Select your point of pick up, click on a fare estimate and your destination if you require, if you decide to use the ride, just a click would locate the closest driver and the information would be given to you. This includes their location on the map (real time), the driver’s photo, the car license plate, as well as the estimated time of arrival. After you get in, the driver greets you (and your guest if you are trying to impress somebody), offers you a bottle of mineral water. A fuss free drive to your destination, you just have to get out of the limousine with no payment done on the spot. Everything is done wirelessly through your credit card on file. At the moment, they are spending heavy marketing dollars to penetrate the Singapore market, as such, I have a $40 credit on top of the standard $10 credit available for giveaway. Drop me a contact to get the $40 credit!

PS: Just use my link above to get the $10 credit first.


So that’s a short list of my essential android apps on my phone.. What’s yours? Any good recommendations are welcomed!

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