Best Free Android Apps
The best free Android apps for moving files, watching movies, messaging, driving across town and more.
Having a clear, real-time list of the devices attached to my home network is a huge time saver. Fing provides this for me without any extra effort. It even provides me with the assigned IP addresses, device manufacturer name and hostname for each appliance. Fing goes further by providing me with ping, traceroute and DNS lookup options. And as an added benefit, I can even execute WAL (Wake on LAN) for any computers setup to receive the "magic packet."
Reddit is a guilty pleasure of mine. But rather than bother to load up Reddit in Chrome, I prefer to use BaconReader. Its UI is intuitive, simple to use and runs very smoothly. I also like that I can share comments or a direct link to a Reddit post with minimal screen presses.
I spend more than a fair amount of time in SSH these days, between checking logs and working with my crontab. I've been known to monitor server performance or track down issues, while using JuiceSSH on my Android phone. I need SSH access to Debian ARM on a Pogoplug, Ubuntu Server on a Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu MATE and Arch (Antergos) dual-booting on my main rig. With JuiceSSH, I have simple access to all of these machines. Add in Dynamic DNS and I have SSH access from anywhere in the world. The biggest thing that sold me on JuiceSSH vs other related apps are the plugins available. An importer for my ssh_config, performance monitor for my remote servers, a port knocker, even a solid audit log.
I'm a cord cutter and my TV comes primarily from Netflix and Hulu, with my DVD movies being backed up to a Plex server here at my house. Out of all of the devices available, I've always returned to Roku. Not only does their set-top box do everything I need, Android has a great Roku remote app in the Play Store. With the Roku app I can manage my channels and control the Roku box. I can even add new channels to my Roku box. Most folks may scoff at this...until you need a keyboard to login to Hulu or Netflix. Even searching for video content with the Roku app is dead simple thanks to the keyboard built into the app.
I manage no more than two NFS shares, since most of my shares these days are Samba based. This is due to me living in a cross platform home and naturally, Samba makes the most sense in terms of compatibility. AndSMB provides me with quick access to my LAN-based Samba shares. It also means I can add files to my Samba shares from my Android device, should the need come about.
As a rule, I avoid sharing files between my phone and PC over bluetooth. Using my LAN is far more effective and much faster. Still, sometimes I need to connect my phone to my computer to transfer data. To make this possible, I run the Astro Bluetooth app on my phone for local OBEX FTP support. After trying a number of alternatives, I've found this app to be the most reliable with larger file transfers.
Whitepages Caller ID
Growing up the era of phonebooks, I obviously recognized the term Whitepages. But with the Whitepages Caller ID app, you end up with some additional features such as call blocking. I've found that the blacklist option bundled with the reports from other recipients is very useful in preventing robocalls, etc. It's a light program that runs in the background and it does a great job at keeping me in the know as to who is calling me.
Like I said before, using Bluetooth isn't the best way to move files and media from phone to PC. This is where AirDroid comes into play. It's like running your Android phone on your desktop. You can manage your media, files and apps from your desktop PC with AirDroid.
I like to believe most apps installed onto my Android phone are completely safe. Unfortunately there are occasions where something nefarious manages to sneak past less savvy Android users. For these folks. I recommend Lookout as a malware scanner. It's good at staying out of your way, so it's not inhibiting your daily phone use. With each application install it provides a detailed scan to make sure there isn't anything dangerous bundled with the app. The software also periodically scans your phone's file system as well.
I really like using MightyText to send and receive SMS from my computer. It's running through my Android phone via the MightyText app. I then run the Chrome extension or use the web app to access my SMS messages as they come in. The killer feature with this app is being able to send and receive SMS messages while my phone's charging in another room.
If there was a natural companion to MightyText, it'd have to be LinConnect. With the LinConnect app running on your Android device and the server running on your PC, LinConnect will alert you to "events" happening with the apps you're wanting to monitor. For example, this is how I monitor my social apps and incoming phone calls. It's easy to use, just set it and forget it. On my PC, I simply run the provided bash script that starts the server up in the background.
When I drive, I run my Waze app on my phone. Available for both iPhone and Android, Waze is best described as a social GPS app. You get all the usual real time GPS data you'd expect while driving around. But as an added bonus, you'll also get accident alerts, notifications to reported speed traps and even construction alerts. An additional feature I like is the ability to share your real time driving location and ETA with anyone you send the URL to. If the recipient lacks Waze on their phone, they'll be able to see the information within their browser.
When wifi first became available, I knew people who spent crazy amounts of money to purchase analyzers. Today, our Android phones have the capability to do the same thing without any of the cost. You can use Wifi Analyzer to check on interference, signal strength, channel overlapping, even recommendations as to the best channel to select. Wifi Analyzer provides you with a multitude of graphing options to choose from. This way you're able to see what is happening with your local wifi in the best layout possible.
Like with any mobile app store, Google Play has a ton of free Android apps available. Sorting through the good ones, however, is a bit challenging. In this article, I'll share what I believe to be among the best free Android apps available.
What are your favorite free Android apps?
In this article, I've shared free Android apps that I believe are among the best free options available. Each of them serves a specific purpose, many of them benefit users of all Android skill levels.
That said, I'm curious – what free Android apps do you rely on? Do you have some titles you'd like to add to the list? Then hit the comments below and share your discoveries with the us.
For more great apps, check out our other lists of Android apps:
|Must Have Android Apps|
|Top Open Source Android Apps||Android Apps|