Top Android apps we used in 2011

Navigating an app store can be tricky, with vague descriptions, dubious user reviews, and sometimes buggy apps.

We searched for the best apps available.

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Keep track of everything
Locale
$1 Locale lets you create? location-based tasks. For example, you can have your phone turn on Wi-Fi when you get home, or have the phone silence itself when you get to work. It’s a great way to automate minor tasks, saving you a few extra minutes—and the embarrassment of having an overly noisy ringtone go off in the middle of a meeting. Head to Locale.

Springpad
Free Create notes and? reminders about movies you’d like to see, books you’d like to buy, or just events you’d like to remember. Springpad is also great for putting together shopping lists: You can quickly create checklists and scan barcodes to keep (Also optimized for tablets.)?track of items you’ll need in the future. Head to Springpad.

Wunderlist
Free Wunderlist? syncs your to-do lists across all your devices, so you al­­ways have your tasks with you. Wunderlist will also email you when you are close to a deadline, in (Also optimized for tablets.)?case you don’t check the app every day. Head to Wunderlist.

Entertain yourself

Minecraft Pocket Edition
$7 When you? need to kill time on the go, you’ll find no better game to play than Minecraft Pocket Edition. Al­­though the app lacks the Survival Mode found in the desktop version, its Create Mode lets you mine and build to your heart’s content. (Also optimized for tablets.) Head to Minecraft Pocket Edition.

Reckless Racing
$3 Reckless Racing is? one of the best-looking racing games available for mo­­bile devices, and it has dozens of courses to choose from, some with hidden shortcuts (a huge advantage if you know them). Then, once you’ve sharpened your skills, you can challenge friends and strangers to online multiplayer contests to find out who really is Head to?the most reckless racer. Reckless Racing.

StumbleUpon
Free StumbleUpon lets you? “channel surf” the Web to find things that are relevant to your tastes. You list the topics that you’re interested in, and the app will recommend websites to match.
On Android devices, it will even recommend other apps based on what (Also optimized for tablets.) Head to?you have already installed. StumbleUpon.

Toddler Lock
Free Warning: Eventually? your toddler is going to get hold of your phone and wreak havoc upon it. Solution: Toddler Lock can keep the little one entertained but out of your phone’s precious contents. It lets your kids scribble and draw on your screen and produces soothing sounds, while locking them out of the main Head to?device—settings, data, phone numbers, and the like. Toddler Lock.

Blog, Tweet, and Tumbl

Tweetcaster

IMO Chat Instant Messenger
Free If you? have friends that use a variety of different IM services and you don’t want to have to switch between individual apps, IMO Chat will feel like a godsend. It connects to AIM, Facebook Chat, GTalk, and Yahoo (and a few others); it also permits you to be signed in to multiple accounts at once. IMO Chat is great for chatting with coworkers on GTalk, while saying hello to friends on (Also optimized for tablets.) Head to?Facebook. IMO Chat Instant Messenger.

Tumblr
Free A must-have for avid users? of Tumblr, the posting and sharing site, this app lets you blog no matter where you are. You can upload pictures, videos, and audio, or compose a post just as Head to?if you were on the website. Tumblr.

Tweetcaster For Twitter
Free Tweetcaster is a? colorful and cartoony app that lets you update and view your Twitter and Facebook accounts. If one of your friends likes to blast several hundred tweets at once, you can temporarily hide those tweets until you see fit. The app can (Also optimized for tablets.) Head to?also show you tweets for local happenings. Tweetcaster for Twitter.

WordPress
FreeThis app lets you manage? multiple blogs from your mobile device. You can view blog comments, create new posts or pages, and even get stats on visitor numbers. The app is especially Head to?handy if you run several websites and need to check on them. WordPress.

Protect Your Phone

Loky
$5 If you have confidential data on? your phone, Loky could keep that info safe. The app is password-protected, and you can use it to store vital documents, revealing text messages, or in­­criminating photos. Loky will even keep a log of logins—this record would help you know if someone was trying to get at your private data. Head to Loky.

Loky

Lookout Premium
$3/month or $30/year A? useful app for any Android or iOS smartphone, Lookout Pro protects your phone from malware and phishing scams, tracks the device if it ever goes missing, and enables you to back up your information remotely in the event that you can’t get (Also optimized for tablets.) Head to Lookout Pro. Head to?your phone back. Lookout Premium. (A free version is also available.)

MyBackUp Pro
$5 We are always told to? back up our PCs, but what about our phones? MyBackUp Pro will back up your entire device—app data, pictures, contacts, and more—onto an SD Card or to a re­­mote server. If your handset breaks or if the internal storage is corrupted, you can perform a restore from the card backup and be ready to go. If your phone is stolen or something happens to your SD card, you can also restore your data Head to?using the server backup. MyBackUp Pro.

Save while shopping

Amazon Mobile
Free With its barcode? scanner and other price-comparison tools, this app is a must-have for smart shoppers. Head to Amazon Mobile?.

ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner
Free ShopSavvy turns your phone into the? ultimate barcode scanner. You can scan UPC, EAN, and QR formats on a product, find out its price at that store, and compare that with the prices at other stores and sites. If you see a better deal online than in-store, you can buy Head to?directly from the ShopSavvy app. ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner.

Take better photos

Camera360
Free This heavy-duty camera? app takes some time to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to take some seriously stellar snapshots. You can add frames or scenery to your Head to?photos, as well as apply filters (such as Lomo, Retro, and HDR styles). Camera360.

Lightbox
Free Lightbox is Android’s? answer to the Instagram app for the iPhone: Take a picture, and the software automatically uploads the image to your Lightbox online account. You can add filters to your photos, such as Lomo, black and white, or other retro styles, (Also optimized for tablets.)?though the available filters are a bit limited. Head to Lightbox.

MagicHour
$2With MagicHour, you can? transform your photos into art by choosing from its 40 available photo filters (everything from Emo to Postcard). You can also download even more filters (for free) or create your own. Head to MagicHour?.

Picplz
Free An alternative to Instagram,? Picplz also gives you the ability to apply filters to the photos you take, and upload those photos onto Facebook or Twitter. You can follow other Picplz users and add your favorite photos to a collection. Picplz will appeal to social Head to?shutterbugs who love to share their photos online. Picplz.

Know it all

Dictionary.com
Free Perfect for anyone? who can’t stand spelling errors, this app can help you make sure that you never misspell another word. It can also read words back to you aloud (in case you Head to?don’t know how to pronounce them), and it has a thesaurus mode, as well. Dictionary.com.

Wolfram Alpha
$2 Wolfram Alpha gives? you vastly more information than a simple Google search ever could. The app can help with balancing chemical reactions as well as solving advanced trigonometry problems. And if that’s not your thing, you can use it find out how much wood a Head to?woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. Wolfram Alpha.

Manage your money

MileBug
$2 A must-have app for business? travelers and jetsetters, MileBug helps you track your business and personal driving expenses. Turn on GPS tracking, and the app will note exactly how long Head to?your trip was and translate that mileage into a dollar amount. MileBug.

PageOnce Money and Bills
Free PageOnce? lets you pay your bills, keep track of your accounts, and in­­stantly see your most recent purchases and deposits. You can also schedule real-time alerts when Head to?bills are due so you’ll never miss an important payment. PageOnce Money and Bills.

Plan your vacation

Google Translate
Free Despite taking? four years of German in high school and listening to nothing but your Rosetta Stone tapes on the plane, when you finally arrive in Munich, you completely blank on the word for restroom. Google Translate to the rescue: Type or speak a word in English, and get an immediate translation in over 30 languages. Head to Google Translate.

Hipmunk
FreeFinding the perfect (and? most affordable) flight for your vacation can be tedious, but Hipmunk alleviates some of the pain. The app presents flights on a timeline and cleverly sorts them by agony level, taking into account how long you’ll be traveling and how many (Also optimized for tablets.) Head to?stops you’ll make. Hipmunk.

Kayak
Free Kayak is your one-stop app? for vacation planning: Book a flight, rent a car, find a hotel, and track your flight. Kayak compares hundreds of travel sites at once so you know you’ll get Head to?the very best deal on your well-deserved trip. Kayak??.

Localicious
Free Powered by the White? Pages, Localicious gives you the scoop on the best nearby restaurants, bars, stores, salons, and more. It automatically detects the neighborhood you’re in and displays the places currently most popular via its Foursquare integration.d to Localicious.

Postcard on the Run
Free Sending your? friends and family digital photos from your tropical vacation is nice, but sending a customized postcard is so much cooler. With Postcard on the Run, you can instantly send trip photos taken with your iPhone or An­­droid phone as real, physical postcards with personalized messages to any address in the world. Although the app is a free download, you will have to pay the service an additional amount for postage, which will range from $0.99 to $1.69 per Head to?postcard. Postcard on the Run.

TeleNav
$10/year for premium version Google Maps may be one of the best navigation apps, but iPhone and BlackBerry owners miss out on its turn-by-turn directions. Enter TeleNav, which offers those directions; it also helps you find cheap gas prices nearby, discover local Head to?restaurants, and view 3D maps. TeleNav.

Get into shape

Calorie Counter
Free Calorie Counter? keeps track of what you are eating and even suggests healthy recipes to keep you away from fatty fast food. The app first asks you a series of questions to Head to?determine what kind of diet is right for you. Calorie Counter.

Drinking Water
Free The amount of? water you drink plays a major role in weight loss. But it can be hard to remember to drink your eight glasses per day. This app makes meeting that requirement easy by showing how many glasses you’ve had and how many you have left to go; it even shows a graph of how often you’ve met your water consumption Head to?goals. Drinking Water.

Endomondo Sports
Free Whether you’re into? baseball, dancing, or orienteering, Endomondo Sports can help you track your physical activities. It will show you how long you’ve done your activity, how Head to?far you’ve gone (distance-wise), and how many calories you’ve burned. Endomondo Sports.

Endomondo

iMapMyFitness
Free iMapMyFitness uses? GPS to track your fitness activities, such as running or cycling. You can record distance, pace, duration, speed, elevation, and calories burned for each workout. You can also upload your fitness data to MapMyFitness.com, and Head to?challenge friends to virtual races. iMapMyFitness.

Workout Trainer
Free A few weeks with? Workout Trainer should leave you feeling fit. The app invites you to choose among workouts of different intensities and lengths. While you’re exercising, Workout Trainer will give you motivational advice. You can track your progress through Skimble.com (the source of the app) and race friends and other Skimble Head to?users. Workout Trainer.

Eat better

AllRecipes.com DinnerSpinner
Free This app lets you? search for meal options by dish type, ingredient, and de­­sired “ready” time. The highlight, however, is the Shake for Ideas feature: Shake your phone, and Head to?get a random selection of dishes and ingredients. AllRecipes.com DinnerSpinner

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