Sep 13

My free Android tools

Given the relentless rise of smartphones (33.3 million since April 2005 and no signs of slowing!) I thought I’d show you the inside of my phone, as it were, and show you the FREE tools I use to get the most out of mine.

Just in case you’re interested, it’s a Samsung Galaxy S2, updated to run the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

I’ll show you three folders, named Connect, IT and Office. Once again all the apps shown here are free, and most require you to be connected to either the internet or your dataplan.



Free android communication tools


This folder is full of the tools I use for comms.

  • WhatsApp. A free Instant Messaging service, that works across all the phone systems. Many of us have plans that come with either large or unlimited amounts of SMS, but if you don’t then it’s a great alternative. As long as someone else in your phone book has the app installed, then you’ll be able to contact them. Requires either Wi-Fi or your data plan to be running.
  • Viber.  Similar to WhatsApp, but also allows for calls to be made over an internet connection between Viber app users. Call quality, well, I have had some problems with it, but it works. Great for reducing costs when, for example, calling from abroad and avoiding international call costs.
  • Skype. Instant messaging and voice. Automatically picks up your contacts from your account and carries them with you! Occasional problems logging in, but not too often
  • LinkedIn. Great for connecting and remembering people you meet while out and about.
  • Twicca and Plume. Both  mobile Twitter apps. Still trying to make my mind up about these, though starting to favour Plume,  it supports multiple accounts and has a URL shortener.
  • Bump. Don’t use this as often as I’d like! It allows you to share your phone number, websites, blogs, emails (even photos, suggested apps and other your other contacts) by simply byumping your phones together.



Free Android IT Tools

  • Dropbox. A favourite of mine. Carry files around and access them from the cloud. I also use Cloudfogger to securely encrypt client folders. Install both services on your main machine first. Edit and sync on the go.
  • Drive. My gmail drive documents. More cloud storage! Great for sharing docs as well
  • Chrome to Phone. Pushes webpages, maps etc to the Chrome browser on your phone. Requires desktop plug in to sync.
  • Software data cable. Got a file that’s not in your cloud storage? This app allows you send files via Wi-Fi to other phones or desktops.
  • Box. Even more free storage! Requires desktop/laptop account first. Like Dropbox and Drive, allows you to edit and sync on the go.
  • Easytether. This is the free, lite version.  Plug it into a computer and use your phone as a data connection using either wi-fi or your data plan. I’ve mostly used it to help people drag cloud files to their desktop in emergencies. The paid version allows you to access webmail and instant messaging, but if your phone is connecting, you just use your phone anyway!
  • Whiteboard. Ok, maybe it should be in another folder, but here it is. Not used this much, but I like it, allows you to draw quick schematics and the like, then save them for export later.
  • Wi-Fi analyser. Quite useful. Measures the strength of various Wi-Fi signals. Great for spotting interference, signal strength, and of course missing signals!



Free Android Office tools

  • Calendar. Well, self-explanatory! Synced to my Google apps calendar. Sets reminders as well.
  • Polaris Office. Allows you to access your Microsoft Office documents on the go.
  • Fetchnotes. Mostly used to edit my Box files on the go.
  • AK Notepad. I use this a lot. Write quick notes and set reminders.



So that’s it. A collection of 19 free apps to help make the most of your phone.

So we’re really interested in what you use to make the most of your smartphone, or what you think are better free alternatives to the one’s listed above.