NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- At current count, there are close to 100,000 apps available in the Android Marketplace. Best of all, you can download and install many of them for free.
There are all sorts of cool games, work-enhancing accessories, fun add-ons and even some brand-new features like the long-awaited
Read on for a dozen of the best, must-have downloadable apps for your Android phone. We have added a few of the best paid apps first. Free Apps start on
Documents To Go
(Full Version) - This is not the free version that comes loaded on some Android phones. This is the super-charged app that, in addition to handling Microsoft Word and Excel files, also allows you to create new files, handle PDFs and PowerPoint docs, save and send changes, view/update charts, zoom and format. Currently the full Documents To Go is on sale. (half-price, $14.99)
This app allows users to easily handle apps, contacts, call logs, bookmarks, SMS/MMS messages, calendar, settings, shortcuts, alarms, dictionaries, and music playlists while backing them up on an SD memory card or on the author's online servers (www.rerware.com). The app makes it easy to reinstall all the saved information in the event of a lost or broken phone.
You know it happens, so use this app as a way to be prepared. ($4.99)
ESPN Fantasy Football
As you might expect, this applet allows you to manage your rosters, change lineups, propose trades and get live scores. And the ESPN/
folks are promising push notifications of injuries, substitutions as well as scoring updates sometime in the near future.
Fantasy Football is free and while it has none of the push notifications it does have all the team editing functions you need on the go besides trades and waiver wire claims. ($4.99)
This app provides you or a care-giver with the information needed to help you in case of emergency - I.C.E. It's a repository of information for paramedics or hospital staff to use, including doctors' names and numbers, medical conditions, medications you take and even people you need notified. ($3.99)
This national newsweekly charges for its Android app. Best part about it? When you want to read a story, the app doesn't have to open a separate browser link to make you wait for the article to upload. ($1.99)
If this didn't come installed on your Android, you should download it. It gives users a full version of
terrific worldwide mapping service. It works perfectly on nearly every Android we've tested, with the exception of phones with very small screens. Another one to try if you find yourself star-gazing: Google Sky Map.
This applet allows you to experience the future of radio on your smartphone. You choose your favorite artists, then
streams their songs as well as other selections that are harmonically, stylistically similar, building your own radio station around your musical tastes. Just remember to switch it off when you're not using it to save battery power.
One of the best portable dictionary and thesaurus combos out there. Not only will you find the correct word or phrase, but it will also tell you how to pronounce and spell it. There is also the popular word of the day feature to painlessly help with your personal improvement plan. User reviews are almost universally positive.
Tweetdeck brings a better
interface to Android. The native Twitter app allows very little filtering and use of lists. Like its desktop model, you can add feeds of your choosing from
and post to numerous sites all at once. Once you get the hang of setting up filters and columns, Tweetdeck improves the Twitter experience, although all the notifications can be a little overwhelming. The beta is open now.
You no longer have to carry all those store loyalty cards on your keychain thanks to Cardstar. This app, which you load either by scanning or manually entering account numbers, can hold information for hundreds of stores. Every time
used it at the drug or grocery store, the clerks reacted one of two ways: They either stared at our phone in wonder or told us that they were seeing more and more of this. Just be sure to let the clerk know, because only handheld barcode scanners will read your smartphone screen.
`Tis the season. Available only on
, this amazing text and video app is the perfect companion to your smartphone passion. MLB set the bar really high two years ago with the first hardcore sports app and the NFL is doing a nice job catching up and now jumping ahead. The fantasy tracker lets you follow your players no matter what site your league is running on. The ability to watch NFL RedZone live on Sunday afternoon on your Android while in the grocery store proves the true value of technology.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (Beta)
The long-awaited (though not by
!) software program allows you to run
Flash-based apps on your Android. At the moment it only works on the latest version of the Android OS, Android 2.2 (aka Froyo), which means you have to own a Nexus One or Droid Incredible to use it. But that's OK. Our testing shows that when we can get it to run, it runs slowly. The application still needs some work.
This is Adobe's own program that allows users to open PDF files on their smartphones. Although Android phones
already open PDFs, it's always nice to have an app from the format's inventor to keep things in order. The app works quickly and it works well.
Opera Mini 5
The standard Android Web browser just received a speed boost with the 2.2 version of the Android operating system. But even for the folks using the updated OS -- and for everyone else, too -- Opera Software's Mini 5 Browser is a great substitute. It lets you browse the Web at record speeds and is perfectly suited for smartphone use. It is noticeably faster than all other comers - so fast that Motorola's i1 phone chose Opera Mini to make up for the fact that the handset operates on a 2G network.
Swype is the best input method for smartphones, period. Swype allows you to slide your finger over the on-screen keyboard and the software interprets what words you want to type. I've tested it on a number of smartphones and have found that it is super fast, accurate and fun to use. It will soon be available as a download for other phones as well. As Beta testers, we have found that Swype works perfectly on the Nexus One, HTC Droid Incredible and the Evo 4G. We highly recommend it. However, you can't get Swype from the Android market, and the beta is closed. Register at Swype.com and wait for it to re-open. It's worth it.
You have anti-virus software on your computers -- so why not on your cell phones? There are two versions of this software: Free, with advertisements, and a $9.99 Pro version, with no ads. We can't tell you for sure that it works, but it does say it checks every new program I've installed as well as say it constantly checks the ones already downloaded to the phone. A little safety goes a long way.
K-9 is an open-source email client based on the core Android OS Mail application that shipped with your smartphone. K-9 Mail improves upon the standard program by including additional functionality and more flexibility in handling your corporate
Outlook/Exchange mail. That includes the ability to delete messages on your company's Exchange server as well as on your smartphone, something the standard Mail client can't do.
Google Sky Maps
You know all about
Maps' point-to-point GPS navigation and Google Earth's views of nearly every inch of this planet. Now there's Google Sky Maps, which lays out the universe in map form. The application uses your Android phone's built-in GPS and location finding abilities to shift the map's perspective as you move so that you can easily find where you are -- and what you're looking at in the cosmos.
If you use UPS to ship your packages, then this Android app is for you. It lets you manage your shipments, track your packages, find nearby UPS drop-off points, estimate costs and delivery times and lots more. It's like having a UPS help desk inside your smarphone. Some users have called it "perfect" in their reviews.
Bump is all about sharing photos, contacts and apps with people you know -- and it's as easy as "bumping" your phones together. You open your smartphones, lightly bump them together and then check to make sure the transfer has been made. And now, with the newest version of the software, you can even bump/transfer from your Android to an iPhone (if it's Bump-equipped, too).
Epocrates Rx (Beta)
Epocrates Rx allows you to quickly access drug information. It provides multiple clinical tools in one easy-to-use application. The authors claim that this software is used by more than 950,000 healthcare professionals who rely on it to make more confident decisions at the point of care. An SD storage/memory card is required.
This app features the directory of elected officials serving you in Congress. It serves up everything from phone numbers and addresses to voting records and the latest bills and laws shuffling through Washington. It's a wonderful resource in this day and age. And, best of all, the Congress app is free.
New York Times
app may be a widespread favorite, but we at
believe our little program is up there as well. We make sure you receive the latest stock market news and analysis along with full-text stories, customizable information sections and your own personalized stock watch list. You can even browse offline when you don't have a data connection.
-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York