Whether you're the proud owner of a new Android phone or you're just looking to add new functions to your existing device, the quickest way to make it even better is to head to Google Play and start downloading apps.
Google's online marketplace is filled with many great apps that can help you do much more with Android than what you might get from a phone or tablet just out of the box. There are plenty of useful free apps — we've collected some of our favorite free downloads, in fact — but if you're willing to part with a little bit of cash, you can find even more outstanding apps for your Android device. Here are the ones we recommend you add to your Android device right away.
Android has long allowed users to manage their phone's files and folders themselves, and a good file manager app can go a long way toward hassle-free file organization. Solid Explorer is a feature-packed premium file manager that sticks to a clean, Material design style while offering easy drag-and-drop operations and a two-pane interface in landscape mode that makes copying and deleting files a breeze. Solid Explorer offers built-in support for a range of archived files including ZIP and RAR, indexed search, and a root explorer, as well allowing you to access your cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Plugin support lets you bolt on additional features such as USB OTG support.
Widgets have long been a popular Android feature. Zooper Widget Pro allows users to build their own custom Android widgets, combining a wealth of possible options, such as date, time, weather forecast (with a choice of data sources), countdowns and system information. While the free version of Zooper already provides a lot of nice functions, the Pro version is worth shelling out for more widget options and templates that can be saved to your phone's SD card, an ad-free mode, and support for themes and Buzz Launcher.
Most Android phones and tablets come with a built-in music player, but power users looking for a more capable and configurable app may want to check out Poweramp, an old favorite among Android users. Poweramp is a feature-filled Android player available free for a 15-day trial, with a $3.99 upgrade to the full version. The app includes support for a wide variety of audio formats, a 10-band graphic equalizer, support for lyrics, .cue files and numerous playlist formats. A tag editor, fast library searching, home and lock screen widgets and numerous visual and setting customizations make Poweramp a heck of a choice if you're willing to shell out for a nice Android music player app.
If you're a fan of live radio then you're probably familiar with TuneIn Radio, the streaming service that brings thousands of radio stations worldwide to your phone or computer. Whether you're looking for sports, news, music, or talk radio, there's going to be something for you on the more than 100,000 stations you'll find through TuneIn. Users can find and listen to their favorite stations, discover similar content, or stream and play on-demand content such as shows and podcasts. The pro version in particular is well worth the upgrade, removing distracting advertising from the app (though not necessarily from each station's own local stream), as well as letting you record content for listening later when offline. A further premium subscription adds live games from the NFL, MLB, and BPL, as well as a series of commercial-free stations.
SKRWT is a fantastic image editing app that's all about editing a photograph's perspective and correcting distortions caused by the camera lens. The app allows you to straighten lines, apply keystone corrections, and more — all in a fairly simple interface that doesn't overwhelm like a more generalized photo editor. In-app purchases provide even more tools, such as a 4-point perspective tool and mirror effects.
The original Monument Valley charmed mobile gamers with its Escher-like optical illusions and whimsical, minimalist storytelling, and its sequel is just as amazing. Monument Valley 2 features the same mentally stimulating puzzles, this time with a touch of color and light as you navigate through a kingdom that resembles an M.C. Esher print. Monument Valley 2 adds welcome new features like the ability to control a second character — the heroine Ro is joined by her child on this journey — while maintaining the minimalist look and immersive music that made the first game such a joy to play.
One of the more useful apps on Android, Tasker is perfect for anyone who wants to quickly get things done. The $2.99 app lets you set automated tasks to perform whenever you choose. You can set it to automatically send SMS messages, open up your browser and go to a web page and much more.