What Are Your Six Go-To Android Apps?

We're tapping the Linux Mag hive-mind this week for Android-based apps that deserve an install. Share your favorites.

If you’re the proud new owner of an Android-based smartphone or tablet you might be digging through the Market wondering what you should be installing. So I thought we’d take this chance to tap the collective wisdom of the Linux Mag audience and see what everyone is using on their phones and tablets.

Below are my six go-to apps running on my Motorola Droid, share yours in the comments.

1. GMail + Priority Inbox
Priority Inbox is the best thing to happen to email since GMail.

2. Pandora
In the past couple of years I’ve fully embraced the music rental model. Having sold or given away around 200 CDs earlier this year, I don’t actually “own” any music (physical or digital). Despite this there’s always music playing in our house.

Pandora is the go-to app but, depending on the mood, StreamFurious, LastFM, Slacker or Rhapsody will be running or one or more devices around here.

3. Pulse News Reader
Lives up to the hype. The only RSS reader I’m interesting in looking at on this small of a screen.

4. SBMX (Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile)
I can’t really stress how good this app is; just a wonderfully intuitive drawing platform. This app alone turned my phone into something that I enjoy using rather than a convenient jukebox, alarm clock or handy email client.

Ridiculously underpriced at $2.99, the free version has plenty of features to get you hooked.

5. CardioTrainer
While the UI leaves a lot to be desired (see RunStar for comparison), CardioTrainer packs a number of slick features into a workout app that the competitors haven’t implemented yet: treadmill support, Google Health integration, step counter, distance travelled (map display) and audio pace/distance notifications (really, really nice).

CardioTrainer also supports tracking for a number of other workouts but I’ve only really used it for tracking runs.

6. FBReader
In stark contrast to my stance on music ownership, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool dead tree man when it comes to my books. But as a option of last resort I will turn to FBReader if I’m stuck somewhere without a trusty paperback in tow.

I find the user experience and customization to be a bit better than the Kindle’s app (Google Books doesn’t even really merit a mention). And with the deep selection of public domain material at http://www.feedbooks.com/, I’ll not be running out of material to satisfy my cravings for either the classics or early-to-mid-20th century pulps any time soon.

Special Mention: Launcher Pro
Replacement for Android’s stock home launcher. An app, but more of a system-wide tool. Still in beta and can be a bit of a memory hog but tremendously better than the default option.

That’s my list after six months with the Droid. It’s quite boring I know: no games, no social media. What are your go-to apps? Post yours in the comments.

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