10 must-have free Android apps

By Logan Kugler, Computerworld |  Personal Tech, Android apps, google android

Google's Android operating system, native to T-Mobile's G1 and myTouch smartphones and due out soon in a number of new phones and even netbooks, is an impressively open and versatile platform. As with rival smartphone platforms -- Apple's iPhone OS, RIM's BlackBerry OS and Palm's new WebOS -- the out-of-the-box features offered by Android are just a starting point.

Android phones can be easily customized with new software and functionality from the built-in Android Market, which features thousands of free and commercial applications that do everything from exposing hidden system preferences to allowing you to edit documents.

With more than 10,000 apps to choose from, the Android Market can be daunting -- though nowhere close to the dizzying 70,000 apps available from Apple's iPhone App Store. And unlike the App Store, the Android Market is difficult to search -- rather ironic, given Google's core business. So I've cut out the fat.

Here are ten apps that I think should come standard on every Android phone -- and every single one of them is free.

[ Don't have an Android phone? Check out 10 must-have free BlackBerry apps or Five fab apps for iPhone OS 3.0 and the new 3GS. ]

GDocs

Since Android is a Google product, the absence of an app for viewing and editing documents and spreadsheets from Google Docs would just be wrong. That's where Art Wild's GDocs comes in, allowing users to view spreadsheets and to create, edit and view word processor documents from their Google Docs account.

When you're viewing a document or spreadsheet, a reasonable approximation of the original formatting is preserved (considering the small screen); editing is strictly text-only, though.

While you probably won't want to write your life story on your phone's tiny thumb-board, you can probably touch up that report for work or write up some notes for that short story you've been mulling over.

Imeem Mobile

You can play music off your phone's SD card or stream music over the Internet with Imeem's mobile player.

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