I know….I know.  The iPhone is all the rage; however Android phones are becoming a conender, and I’m starting to see more and more people with them.  I’m also an Android user and wanted to share my favorite applications in hopes that it will help fellow users be more productive with their phones.Before we get in to the list of applications, note that I believe that a phone, above all, is a tool to be used to make you more productive, and that is what this list focuses on.  I may, if time permits in the future, write about favorite games….but as of right now there are none.  Without further delay, here is my list of must have applications.

Vendor Utilities

The T-Mobile folks have put together some great utilities to help you stay connected with your account, manage voicemail effectively, and get application recommendations.

  • T-Mobile AppPack: Get application recommendations from T-Mobile.
  • T-Mobile Hotspot Connect: Did you know that Android users get free T-Mobile WiFi access?  Well, you do now.  Install this connector and it will show you all hotspots available, including those that aren’t T-Mobile.  Happy surving!
  • T-Mobile My Account: View your account balance, set options, and more with this application.  It also allows one touch settings to some phone options.
  • T-Mobile Visual Voicemail: See who called and when.  Listen to your voicemail in any order using the speaker or handset, and delete messages.  Never dial voicemail again!

Productivity

As I stated earlier, I view the phone as a tool, so productivity is important.  These applications help you get things done!

  • AK Notepad: This application is a great pen and paper substitute.  You can create notes with any type of text, set reminders, and customize the application.  You can even send notes via SMS or e-mail.
  • Astrid: Task and “to do” manager that integrates with Remember the Milk.  Categorize tasks, set due dates, and receive motivational reminders to get things done!
  • Barcode Scanner: Have you been shopping and wanted to find pricing and product information?  This application scans the UPC code and searches the web to find that information for you.  It even reads QR Codes.  This application has personally saved me money and helped me make “on the spot” decisions about purchases.
  • Bump: Exchange contact information between phones (even Android to iPhone) just by bumping your phones together!
  • Documents to Go: Open and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Adobe PDF files right from your phone!  Essential if you take public transportation and need to look at bus/train schedules that are only available in PDF.
  • Key Ring: I saw this and had to have it.  If you are tired of carrying around club cards or keyring tags, this application can lighten your load.  Works with most handheld scanners and, if it doesn’t work, the store can enter the card # in.
  • OpenTable: If you eat out a lot, Open Table can get you fast reservations at many restaurants right from your phone!  It will even locate nearby restaurants, taking the guesswork out of trying to find a good place to eat.

Social Networking

  • Facebook: If you are active on Facebook, this is the app for you…and it’s free!  See your newsfeed, view photos, and even “like” posts.
  • PingDroid: If you use ping.fm to update various social media clients, check this application out.  Use triggers, send photos, and more all in one place.
  • Twidroid: This client will keep you connected with Twitter.  Great features and a good interface make this a must have.

Utilities

  • Linda Manager: Allows you to move files around on your Android phone.  Especially useful for managing your SD card without connecting the phone to a computer.
  • Locale: This gem automatically sets your ringtone and other phone preferences based on a variety of triggers, including location and time of day.  I used to use  it to put my phone on vibrate when I’m at work, in class, on the train, and at night when (I should have been) sleeping.
  • Maps: Google Maps is fantastic when it comes to navigation and more.  Never get lost again as long as you have data service.
  • Power Manager: Manage your phone’s power usage automatically based on battery remaining, time of day, and more.
  • TasKiller: Even though your Android phone supposedly manages applications well, occasionally some don’t exit properly.  This program will help regain memory and other resources without restarting the phone.

Information/News

  • NewsRob: This application synchronizes with Google Reader, allowing you to read RSS feeds on your computer and your phone while keeping read/unread status the same on both devices.  I use it to keep up to date on technology, training, and other industries/hobbies.

Instant Messaging/Communications

  • Google Voice: I use Google Voice as a means to manage calls from my customers.  It allows me to keep my business phone with me no matter where I am….and I get transcribed voicemails, the ability to ring multiple phones at once, call filtering options, and more!

You can install these applications through the Android Market (“Market”) on your phone.  While not the definitive list, it should be a good start to productivity and fun!