This is my list of Android applications that I recommend everyone to have and install on own phones and phones prepared for clients. Of course everybody will need more apps for specialized purposes, but these ones should be relevant for every user.

Selection criteria for this list:

  • only one selected best app for every purpose
  • any functional open source alternative is preferred to a polished proprietary software; proprietary licences are marked in red to indicate looking for a free & open replacement still
  • decentralized open communication protocols (e-mail, XMPP, SIP) are preferred to commercial centralized applications (Skype, Facebook)
  • communication apps should be privacy-enabled
  • the app selection should enable self organization and group organization, esp. for grassroots movements like social change activists

The "state" column contains my personal installation state info – just ignore 😉

state name FDroid Google Play description
notes
licence
x 3G/4G Speed Optimizer   Play Allows settings for faster 3G download and upload speeds, and for adjusting distribution between both. freeware
x 4EXT Recovery Control n/a Play For managing the 4EXT Recovery mode from inside an app. 4EXT Updater is a simpler, gratis alternative. commercial
x AdAway F-Droid   Removes all the pesky in-app advertisements. GPLv3
  Advanced Task Killer Free        
  ADW        
x Alarm Klock F-Droid   Full-featured alarm clock to help you wake up. Apache2
  aLogcat        
  AnaCam        
  AndroSS        
  AndStatus        
x Angulo F-Droid   For measuring angles and distances, also useable as a water-level. GPLv3
  AnyMemo        
  AnySoftKeyboard        
x APV PDF Viewer F-Droid     GPLv3
x Arity F-Droid   Scientific calculator. Apache2
x Barcode Scanner F-Droid   Complete barcode and QR code scanning app, employed by other apps as well. Apache2
  BLUE LINE        
n/y BlueGps F-Droid n/a Allows to connect an external GPS device and make it usable in e.g. OsmAnd~ via the "mock location provider" option. Means faster, more precise and higher coverage GPS, longer battery runtime, and allows placing the GPS receiver outside the car. To be evaluated. GPLv3
x Bluetooth GPS n/a Play Same as BlueGps, but non-free. Good quality though. freeware
  Busybox   Play Installer for Busybox, a boiled down version of GNU Core Utils. Needed for many other root apps, incl. 4EXT Recovery Updater. GPL 2
  CamPainter Lite        
x ChatSecure F-Droid   Encrypted XMPP chat client, including off-the-record features. Apache2
x Clock n/a n/a This app (com.android.deskclock) comes pre-installed with Android and is well done, including clock, alarm clock, countdown clock and stop watch. Only the alarm clock misses some features, so we also have Alarm Klock. open source
  ColorDict        
  Compass        
  ConnectBot        
  Cool Reader        
  Diktofon        
x Evernote   Play Note taking and organizing system that syncs to desktop and web. freeware
  Every Locale        
x F-Droid F-Droid   Package manager / marketplace for all the Android open source software recommended here. GPLv3+
  Fake Dawn        
  FAST App Search Tool        
x Faster GPS F-Droid   Enables getting faster GPS fixes by selecting a NTP server near you. GPLv3
x Firefox F-Droid   Web browser, mobile edition. MPL2
  FolderSync        
  Freemind Viewer        
x GetBack GPS F-Droid   Finding a way back to a "home location" with GPS guidance. Hopefully better than Point, which can be inaccurate. GPLv3+
  Google Play services        
x Google Play Store        
x K-9 Mail F-Droid   Full-featured e-mail client. Apache2
  KeepTrack        
  Ki Freemind        
  Maniana        
x Mathdroid F-Droid   Handy calculator with history. GPLv3
  MobileOrg        
  MobileWebCam        
x MrWhite F-Droid      
x Network Discovery F-Droid   A network utility: discover hosts inside a network you are connected to, and open ports on these hosts. GPLv2
  Notification Plus        
  Obsqr        
  Offline Calendar        
  OS Monitor no-gmaps        
x Osmand~ F-Droid   Super great offline map viewing and routing application. Uses OpenStreetMap data. GPLv3
x OSMTracker F-Droid   GPX tracker that allows note-taking, esp. also meant as a help for OpenStreetMap mapping work. GPLv3
x Pedometer F-Droid     GPLv3
  Blockchain        
  QuickDic        
  Remuco        
  Ruler        
x SatStat F-Droid   GPS, sensor and network status information. So for most purposes, a more low-level graphing app like Sensor Readout is not needed. GPLv3+
  Sca Lite        
  Search based launcher        
  Search Light F-Droid   Flashlight using the camera LEDs. Screen is on at the same time, so MrWhite is also installed as a less energy hungry alternative.  
  Speech Trainer        
  Super Ruler Free        
  TallyBee        
  Tallyphant        
  Terminal Emulator        
  Theme Chooser Themes        
  Timesheet        
  Units        
  Vanilla Music        
  Who Has My Stuff?        
  WiGLE Wifi Wardriving        
  WikiDroyd        
  Wikipedia        
x Word Lens Translator n/a Play Travel app that translates words recognized in the live camera view between five languages and English. All happens offline, no network connection is used for anything. commercial
n/y WordPress F-Droid     GPL
  YAAB        
  YouTube        

I am still looking for apps for:

  • SMS backup application (there is SMS Backup+, but it cannot save to SD card)
  • accessing microblogging services incl. Identi.ca and Twitter
  • App for power saving while travelling: switch mobile network off (airplane mode) while the phone moves by car or train, as determined by GPS from speed and location. And only check every 30 min for missed calls.
  • Find a powerful, high usability text editor for Android. Ideally with hierarchical mode that is compatible with Freemind's double-indent text exports.
  • Find or develop an app that unifies all possible action on clipboard content, can be called from every app and stores clipboard history, and analyzes clipboard content and history to suggest relevant actions (like "send wire payment to").

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