Android's popularity is exploding. The tablet and smart phone Operating system from Google has become the top OS for smart phone and the second highest used operating system for tablets following Apple's iOS that is used by Apple's iPad tablet.
Experts have been amazed over the fast paced growth of Android. Google's OS has shown a dramatic increase in market share over the past year, surpassing iOS, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry, and other mobile platforms. It commands the biggest smart phone share with one report suggest that 52 percent smart phone users use Android OS. This is followed by Nokia's Symbian that attracts close to 17 percent. Apple's iOS is the third highest used OS with just 15 percent market share.
With the explosion in Android users, the demand for Android Apps has increased manifold. The best thing about Android apps is the fact that most of the good stuff on Android is free, thanks to the work of developers who do it for love alone. So here's our pick of the top free Android apps you should install.
There is one app that allows you to manage your files in a lot better way. Astro File Manager helps you manage your files in more organized way. It makes your phone act as a miniature PC. You can copy/move/rename files, back up apps, send files as attachments, and create compressed files. Ad-supported free version, $4 premium version
Then there is another great app called The GTasks task manager. The GTasks task manager syncs with the desktop Google Tasks, which you can also access in the Web version of Gmail and Google Calendar. It's so useful, it should be included on every Android phone. Free
Search engine giant Google's Google Music is one app that could enthuse music butts. Google Music is yet another new service from the internet giant. The new video streaming service can store 20,000 tracks in the cloud, which you can stream to your Android devices once needed. The new feature from Google helps you save enough memory space in your handsets without having to store music in it. Once you want to listen to a track, just stream it from Google Music.
Then there is a great app called Seesmic. Seesmic is an app that help you manage your tweets. There are many Twitter apps on Android and Twitter itself shook up the scene with the launch of its own-brand app recently but we're sticking with Seesmic. Offering support for multiple accounts, a home page widget showing latest tweets and an incredibly slick and professional design, it's one of the finest examples of app development out there today.
Facebook for Android is another great application that comes handy for those who want to use social networking wherever they go. Facebook for Android is lacking in features compared to Facebook itself, but a recent update added Inbox support to the Android app, finally allowing its users to communicate in almost real time. The apps fast and stable, with a simplicity that reminds you of the old days when using Facebook used to be bearable.
This is not just a great Android app but helps everyone who doesn't want to carry lots of cash in his or her pocket. For many critics the list of best Android apps will not be complete without Google Wallet. The new service from Google to make you pay bills at checkouts with your handset is up on all Android phones. Google launched its Wallet service this fall and it has now become one of key features for your handsets.
A great app that has got great reviews from every Android reviewer is BeyondPod. The great app manages audio and video podcast subscriptions. With Beyond'Pod, which integrates with the Android music player, you can discover and manage audio and video podcasts. The premium version adds better controls for updating and managing subscriptions. Free basic version, $7 premium version
The number of social networking users is increasing fast and so the apps targeted at such people. TweetDeck is one such app. TweetDeck for Android is one amazing little tool. As well as presenting your timeline, DMs and replies in separate side-by-side panels that you swipe the screen to flip between, it can also pull in Facebook status updates.
Google has been trying to reach out to more people and become a part of their lives. Google Reader seems to be part of a well planned strategy. Google Reader has got some great functionality built in, with support for multiple Google accounts and plenty of thread customisation options. You're also able to use the volume rocker to page up and down between messages, which is handy for extra-lazy news assimilation.
This app may become a very important part of your financial management. Though it costs a big amount, nevertheless you will be happy to shell out the amount for SnapTax. If you want to make your tax things foolproof? Then, SnapTax is an incredible Android app for you. The app lets you take an image of your W-2 and then process the info to send off your tax returns. The app is free for downloading, but you need to pay $19.99 to file the tax details.