Wednesday, June 1, 2011

There's an app for that

The last few apps I used on Tuesday evening.

I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to my smartphone. It's the first thing I pick up in the morning and the last thing I check before I fall asleep.

At last check, I had 61 apps on my phone, including the ones that came pre-installed. Here are some of my faves! Just for reference, I have a Motorola Droid (first gen) and all of my apps were free. 

  • Gmail/Email. Since the Droid has a Google operating system, Gmail is the default email application. The other email app supports multiple accounts from various servers, and I use that one for my work account and Hotmail account.
  • Twitter for Android. I like the official app for my personal Twitter account.
  • Facebook. I'm not nearly as active on Facebook as I am on Twitter, but I check Facebook often just to keep up on what's happening and see pics of my friends' kids (yes, I actually like when people post those).
  • Messaging. More of a function than an app, I prefer text to phone calls (or really short emails).
  • Toggl. This time-tracking tool is a great way to keep track of how much time you spend on projects (useful for billing or as reference). It also syncs to the web-based site.
  • Astrid Tasks. Keep your to-do list on hand, add deadlines and reminders, and mark them off as you go. I use this more for blog ideas or to-dos that need alarm reminders.
  • Evernote. Like Pinterest before Pinterest. You can add photos, audio, text notes, and webpages and tag them into different categories. Plus it syncs with the desktop app.
  • Hootsuite. I use Hootsuite to keep an eye on multiple Twitter accounts for work. I wish the mobile app had better Facebook Page support (the web-based one is great).
  • Calendar. This syncs automatically with my Google Calendar and the calendar tied to my work email account (in Outlook).
  • Key Ring. One of my favorite apps ever--it keeps track of all my membership accounts, like Safeway, Ulta, Southwest, Sephora... I noticed recently there are exclusive deals on here, too...good to know!
  • Diet & Food Tracker (Spark People). From time to time, I like to track what I'm eating just to make sure I'm not over-doing it. I've been using the Spark People website for years, and the mobile food tracker is just as good as the one online.
  • Handy. Just handy.
  • News and Weather. Pulls from Google News, with the same categories.
  • Weather Channel. I program all my favorite places so I can see the weather in So Cal or Miami at a glance.
  • Shopper. Great for reading specific product reviews (just scan the barcode) or checking prices elsewhere.
  • Gas Buddy. Much less planning needed to use this mobile app compared to the website. Wish I'd had this sooner.
Fun and games
  • Yelp. The filters on the mobile app are much more limited than the website, but definitely a handy tool when you're traveling to a new city.
  • Fandango. Check out movie reviews and playing times.
  • Words With Friends. No explanation needed.
One of the things I like about the Droid is that I can place shortcuts to web bookmarks on my home screens, which in some cases works just as well as having a dedicated app, thanks to some great mobile websites. My favorite bookmarked sites are Google Reader, Google Docs, and ESPN News. I also use my phone camera a fair amount (most of my weekly link photos are cell phone pics).

I put out some feelers a while back on my Facebook page about your favorite apps. Here are some of the responses: and Urban Dictionary - Amy B.

The Onstar My Link app, FB and my bank's app. You can take pictures of checks to deposit them! - Kathleen M.

What are your favorite smartphone apps for work or for fun?

*This is not an advertisement for the Droid or Android operating systems. It's just the only smartphone system I know.


  1. I love my droid also!!!! I can't live without it! I use most of the ones you mentioned. I also use Cardio Trainer for tracking my workouts and the Weight Watchers app for tracking my food.

    Oh and can't forget Pandora for music!

  2. Love this post! I have the same phone. I'm going to have to check out Astrid Tasks and Key Ring. Thanks for the tips! :) I think I have all of the other ones you mentioned!

    A few of my other favs are:

    Seafood Watch - Monterey Bay Aquarium's app for sustainable seafood.

    Movies - which links reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and lists movie showtimes

    Goodreads - because I can update my books read/reading/to read anywhere. :)

  3. My iPhone is purely for me, not work. My favorites are Words With Friends (seriously, I'm addicted), Hootsuite and Facebook. I also text WAY more than talk. I hate actual phone calls. :)

    Come take a look inside A Working Mom's Closet

  4. I've really stopped using Astrid... not sure why, but I just started using calendar reminders instead.

    My Android list:
    - NumberPad Keyboard (I use a T9 keyboard--hey, I'm fast with it!!) :-)
    - Facebook
    - The default Gmail and email apps for personal and work email
    - Google Voice--LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!
    - Dropbox
    - Evernote
    - LauncherPro
    - TasKiller
    - Agenda Widget (keeps my calendar on my desktop)
    - Words With Friends
    - Aldiko (ebook reader)
    - PicSay Pro (BEST photo-editor app!)
    - Astro (file manager)
    - BeyondPod (podcast manager)
    - Read It Later
    - UnBlock Me Free (puzzle game)
    - Various widgets for clock, screen brightness, screen rotation, battery

    I have some other stuff, but these are the ones I use daily. I used to have TONS more, but I've pared it down after realizing how much some of them suck battery/memory. And as much as I love my new Thunderbolt, my old Droid was MUCH more battery-efficient. Oh well.

  5. Love, love, love my Droid. Thanks for the list of new apps to try.

  6. Great app recs, ladies!

    @ kellie - I have the goodreads app, too, but don't use it very much. I like it, though!

    @ kimbluff - I hear ya...I go back and forth on using Astrid consistently, since I like paper to-do lists, but I always end up back at Astrid for some things. I love your list! Bummer about the battery life...I definitely love the life on my Droid (I rarely drain it within a day), and am a little worried about when I get a new phone, since there seem to be so many phones with battery problems. :(

    @ noguiltfashion - you're welcome!


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