When one of your longstanding clients asks you to develop written content for them, you don’t ask “what”, you ask “how quick”. And when Dailyhunt wanted us to put up some content on the blog section of their app, we started flexing our mental muscles before they finished the sentence. This was the first in a series of tech, entertainment and fashion related content we’re creating for them. Well, why are you still reading the introductory para, go on!
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Google’s Android is the world’s largest mobile eco-system and as testament to that, its Play Store boasts of over 2 million apps with a cumulative 65 billion downloads. Google recently introduced 8 new categories to help users wade through the clutter but even so, finding useful apps is still a headache, especially for casual users. Well, that’s what we’re here for! Without further ado, let’s just jump right into our list of 10 Must Have Free Apps!
1. Music Discovery
Soundcloud and Shazam tie for the position of best Android music discovery app. For those wishing to hear curated music from India and abroad, Soundcloud is the perfect medium. It lets you search for playlists made by other users according to your preferences, and all the music is streamed free of cost! Hearing a tune on the radio, but don’t know the name? Well, just fire up Shazam and it’ll tell you what you’re listening to in a jiffy! It has an excellent database of not only English songs, but also songs in Hindi, Tamil and other vernacular languages.
Other Apps: Soundhound is an alternative app you can try instead of Shazam. Like to listen to music as you sleep, but don’t want to waste battery? Sleeptimer lets you set a specific time limit and automatically stops the music while you sleep. Radio India and RadioFM let you listen to radio channels from all over India and the world in superb quality.
2. File Management
The option of manually managing files is one of the biggest advantages that Android has over iOS, but the stock apps rarely let you use its capability to the fullest. X-plore File Manager is one of the best solutions out there. It lets you search, copy, cut, move and modify your storage as you please. It even helps you see what kind of files take the maximum space on your mobile and clear them out to save storage space. With an in-built picture, PDF and ZIP viewer, it’s an all-round solution for your file management problems.
Other apps: File Manager is another amazing app for file management, if you don’t like the interface of X-plore. File Manager has a clean UI and a bright design with most of the features that you have in X-plore and extra options to manage and share apps.
Next Lock Screen takes the cake by far in this category. For those using slightly older versions of Android, this is the best way to access top line features. It lets you set a custom lock screen password or pin and lets you access notifications from the lock screen itself. You can make calls and launch your favourite apps directly from the lock screen and customize your wallpaper and UI.
Other apps: If you don’t want to lock the phone, but only specific apps, Applock lets you set a password on apps you choose. Works each time, every time. Vault-Hide SMS, Pics & Videos offers the same services, and additionally lets you hide or lock your picture, videos and SMS (from specific contacts).
Evernote and Dashlane Password Manager emerge as the cream of the crop in this category. Evernote lets you create notes, video links, to-do lists, etc., arrange them in separate notebooks, an amazing host of formatting tools, and lets you sync your notes between devices. You can start writing something down on your phone, and then just continue editing it on your laptop! With a very clean, easy-to-use interface, it’s the best solution for note-taking right now. Dashlane Password Manager provides a safe, reliable method to store, edit and use all your passwords from one place, without having to worry about misplacing or forgetting anything.
Other apps: Google Keep and Pocket are decent alternatives to Evernote, but neither have desktop apps, so they’re not cross platform compatible. Splitwise is an easy to use money manager for trips and monthly expenses, and will help save you from the usual headache that comes with splitting multiple bills between multiple people.
QuickPic stands heads and shoulders above its competitors in this category. An excellent interface coupled with a multitude of options makes QuickPic an excellent choice. It offers basic photo editing and lets your view photos and videos in landscape mode even with rotation turned off.
Other apps: Airbrush and Perfect365 are excellent apps for those addicted to selfies. MXPlayer is brilliant when it comes to playing videos, and Slow Motion Video FX lets you experiment with new video styles.
Inshorts and Dailyhunt rule the roost in this category. Inshorts delivers tiny bite sized bits of news collated from hundreds of sources. Each news byte is presented as a picture, a headline, not more than 60 words of description and a link to the full article. A perfect way to catch up to the buzz on your morning commute to office. Dailyhunt has always been India’s top news app in the vernacular languages. Spanning the entire length and breadth of India, Dailyhunt collates news from various sources in over 15 languages, presented in an easily browse-able, readable format.
Other apps: Flipboard and News Republic are alternates to these apps, but with a more international outlook, letting you access sources such as The New York Times and The Telegraph alongside Times of India and The Hindu.
When every single person has separate accounts on facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat, skype, viber, whatsapp, hike, line, and a hundred other apps, it is quite complicated to navigate through all these mediums. Add traditional calling and text messaging and it becomes really confusing to keep track of everything. Contacts Phone Dialer: drupe simplifies the clutter by letting you access all these accounts with a single tap. It compresses all your communication with your friends into one single app and soon you’ll wonder how you used to get things done at all before!
Other apps: Family Locator and Safety does exactly what it should. Easily helps to keep track of your friends and family who also have the app installed. Especially useful for people living in volatile areas.
8. Bill Payments
Freecharge has been top dog in this field for quite a while, recently adding the ability to pay utility bills directly from their app or desktop website. PayTM has been catching up by and by and has similar features. Freecharge lets you pay at stores like McDonalds and PayTM lets you pay autowallahs by scanning a QR code. Both these apps have been making it easier and easier for us to buy and pay for services around the country, and all the regular discounts and offers are just the cherry on the cake.
9. Good Governance
MyGov is a unique effort by the Government of India to usher the country into the digital age. It serves as a platform to get updates, join groups, participate in discussions & polls, and submit grievances and suggestions directly to Government authorities. While the app is plagued regularly by login issues and has a cluttered interface, it is a very innovate approach by GoI to reach out to the masses.
Unhappy with how your phone interface looks? Jealous of how your friends seem to have cooler menus and home screens? Well, Nova Launcher is your solution. It completely takes over your home page and navigation UI to help you customize it however you want! You can make your UI look like HTC, Samsung, Sony, or even the stock material design from Google! It even provides minute control over every aspect so you can tweak and modify your phone to make it look exactly like how you want it.
Other apps: Looking for form over function? Love Google’s Material Design? Then Action Launcher is the app for you. It oozes Material Design from every pixel and works even better than it looks!