With more than 1 million apps available, the Google Play store boasts a varying array of titles, ranging from best-ignored downloads to genuinely funny to useful apps and games. Yet for every popular favorite such as Kindle or YouTube, there are just as many new, underrated or plain overlooked gems. Check out the apps you're not using but should that can be found in Google Play.
The iPhone has had Find my Friends for what seems like nearly forever. Google has finally decided to offer its own alternative for those living in the Android universe. Google’s Trusted Contacts works similarly, letting you share your location or see where your contacts are. You can send out or request a real-time location, so you don’t have to share your constant whereabouts. However, Trusted Contacts will automatically send out your location if you’re not able to answer a request, which could be of help in an emergency. An iOS app is coming soon for your iPhone-using friends and family members.
There are about a dozen different places where you can go to check airline fares. One of the best apps for this that doesn’t get as much attention is Hopper. You can save potential itineraries for later, and Hopper will ping you if the price drops. The purchasing process is streamlined so it’s only a couple of a taps and a swipe to book your tickets.
There are a wealth of good podcast managers or podcatchers out there, but when it comes excellent free options on Android devices, Xavier Guillemane's Podcast & Radio Addict is one of the best options available out there. It covers the basics with automatic episode updates and downloads, as well as automatic deletion features to save space, variable speed playback, silence skip, volume boosting, a sleep timer and other neat features. A podcast search tool allows you to quickly find individual episodes or search through a variety of databases for new podcasts and trending shows. In addition, the app also supports video podcasts, YouTube channels, audiobooks, streaming radio and other media sources.
Open Whisper Systems' Signal is a fantastic messaging solution for security conscious mobile users. It is an all-in-one messaging and voice call solution that uses end-to-end military grade encryption. You can send text, voice, group messages, media and attachments. Ease of use and strong, open source, audited encryption makes it a favorite of the security conscious, with accolades from the likes of Edward Snowden and other privacy advocates.
If you have multiple shoe boxes filled with old photos that you’ve always wanted to digitized, then this is the app that will help you do it. Google’s PhotoScan will create a high-quality digital image of any print picture. The app walks you through the scanning process, and then will save it to your Google Photos. Whether you keep the physical copy is up to you, but at least you’ll have access to those childhood memories right on your phone.
Unified Remote turns your Android smartphone or tablet into a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-based universal remote control for applications such as media players, slideshow viewers, and more. The free version of the app allows users to easily set up server software on your desktop and comes with 18 free remote controls for a variety of programs. The premium version comes with 90-plus preloaded remotes, the ability to create custom remotes and widgets, voice commands, IR and NFC actions and Android Wear support.
Torrenting apps are another thing you're not likely to see in iOS for a while. In the Android market, Flud is one of the best ones out there. The latest version sports a clean Material interface and comes with no speed limits for uploads or downloads. It sports staple features such as selective file downloading and prioritization, magnet link support, sequential downloading support and a Wi-Fi only mode. You can also dig deep into more advanced functions, in case fiddling with router port forwarding is your idea of fun. The free version is fully functional, while a paid version removes advertisements.