More Essential Free Android Apps

November 2009

Here are some more essential free android apps, all available on the Android Market. Hopefully you'll find one or two apps you haven't seen before and will give them a try!

I've included the installed memory footprint next to each app.

SwiFTP

SwiFTP Logo
SwiFTP Android FTP Server: 0.11Mb

SwiFTP is an open-source FTP server app for your Android handset. If you don't know what that means, it allows you access your phone from any computer on your local network over WiFi. SwiFTP has been totally reliable in my tests and it saves plugging in your phone and mounting the SD card to transfer stuff on and off your phone. You simply start the FTP server and you're given the phone's IP address which you simply type into Windows Explorer or your FTP client of choice running on your computer.
SwiFTP works great. It doesn't have a flashy interface or anything (good), but does exactly what it says on the tin.

EBuddy

EBuddy Logo
EBuddy Android IM Client: 1.66Mb

EBuddy is an instant messaging client, and is very stable and easy to use. EBuddy supports MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, Facebook and MySpace, which you collect together into one EBuddy logon. The reason I have switched from HiMSN to EBuddy is that EBuddy deals with reconnection better in the case of your WiFi going out of range, or your signal disconnecting. This is because you are actually connected to the EBuddy server, which itself stays connected to your messaging accounts. It will run in the background showing an icon in the notification bar, and beep or vibrate to notify you when you receive an IM. You can also easily run multiple chats at once.
Unfortunately EBuddy doesn't have the facility to send/upload pictures, which is a shame, and annoyingly when opening at chat, the text input line doesn't have the focus so you can be typing away before you notice your text has been ignored. EBuddy isn't perfect, but it's now my IM client app of choice for the Android platform.

Aldiko

Aldiko Logo
Aldiko Android eBook Reader: 1.32Mb

Aldiko is the best free ebook reader for Android phones. The user interface is really professional looking and easy to use. Browse and download new books right from within the program, there are thousands to choose from, both paid-for and free ebooks. Your books are displayed nicely along a bookshelf, and you press the books to open them. They will re-open where you last left them. Turn the pages really easily by swiping left to right or right to left, and adjust the brightness by swiping up or down the left of the screen which is great for reading books at night, or use the day or night mode.
If you read books, you must try Aldiko.

Connectbot

ConnectBot Logo
ConnectBot Android SSH Client: 1.2Mb

Connectbot is a secure shell client app for the Android platform. It might only be useful for you if you manage unix servers but if you do, it's essential. I use it for making quick changes to web pages with vi on the go, and it works perfectly. Store your frequently used connections in the program and press to connect. You can connect to more than one ssh server at once, and easily switch between them. Even copy and paste text from one session to another! Another useful feature of Connectbot is the ability to make shortcuts on the Android desktop to open ssh hosts directly.
Excellent app.

ATrackDog

ATrackDog Logo
ATrackDog Android App Management: 0.49Mb

Atrackdog is an app version management program that searches for more up to date versions of your installed apps. It scans the apps you have installed and compares those to the atrackdog servers to see if newer versions of each app exist. It will then give you a list of any newer apps it finds along with version numbers. You can then choose to download them from the Android Market or wherever else you got your app. Atrackdog works great and has found updated versions of a few of my apps that don't show up as updates in the Android Market. Unfortunately it sometimes finds pre-release versions that aren't available on the Android Market but still, this is a useful app to have.