Let's face it, there are a huge number of Android applications available for download on the Android Market, and like the iPhone and iTunes, it can be a lot to wade through. I've picked 10 of my must have applications that I install on every Android phone I own or test for review on our site.
Most of these are FREE, and all are available on the Market, so there's no need to side-load or throw in the towel if you're using an AT&T Android phone that doesn't allow installation of non-market apps.
Since I routinely install and use more than these 10 apps, I'll be posting about other apps that are definitely worth a look, and we'll have an Android app of the week on our site.
Here's the list of 10 must-have applications for Android:
1) Facebook Facebook's own app for Android is free and full-featured. It has notifications, status updates, live URLs, photos and more. If you're among the millions who use that social networking service, get it now.
2) SportsTap Get your sports scores for free. Includes all sports from NFL, to MLB to tennis. This app has a notification feature for scores, and it has sports news and a few other goodies.
3) Tweetcaster There are several very strong Twitter apps on the Market and some decent built-in support on some phones. But I keep returning to Tweetcaster for its clean look and full set of features. It has notifications, controllable update intervals and there are free and paid versions.
4) The Weather Channel You guessed it: weather information with long term forecasts, weather maps and more. This is a free app and it has a widget too. I find it's less resource intensive (particularly easy on the battery) compared to some other popular weather apps. Runner up: Weatherbug.
5) Bonsai Blast A fun free game that's like Zuma with a more scenic backdrop. Shoot the bubbles as they wander around Zen-like gardens. A great time killer when you're waiting for the bus.
5) FeedR News Reader An RSS news reader than handles RRS, atom and podcasts. There are several solid news readers on the Android Market, but this is my favorite and it supports Google News syncing for feeds. It has an excellent inline reader with images, full post read capability and it's fast. Not free but worth the $1.99 price.
6) Speedtest.net by Ookla Want to test your 3G download speeds? Ookla's app is the best, and it keeps a running tally of your results.
7) Kindle Like to read? Got an Amazon Kindle account? You can read Kindle purchases on your Android phone, download your books anytime and anywhere and keep them sync-ed.
8) Astro File Manager This free file manager is quite powerful and if your phone didn't come with a file manager, you need Astro.
9) Advanced Task Killer The granddaddy of task managers, this one is available in a free version that can show you what's running and allow you to kill running applications. Very handy on RAM constrained phones.
10) TV.com Watch full TV epsiodes from CBS, catch CBS News and check out short content from Showtime. The apps also has CW, CNET, CBS Sports Mobile Classic TV and Stupid Videos. It's free and it works well over 3G and WiFi.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview