Steve Kurtz
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My Android “Top Five Apps” List

November 17th, 2010

A few months ago I made the switch from Palm to Android. It wasn’t a difficult choice; Sprint made me an offer I could not refuse. And I’m glad I switched.

And as so many other happy Android users, I feel compelled to share my top 5 “Must Have” applications for Android. So here you go.

Advanced Task Killer

One of the things that plagues all Smartphones is battery life. This is especially true of Android phones, which pride themselves in multitasking. Unfortunately, this means your phone is probably running quite a number of applications that you ran once and forgot. This can consume a lot of battery.

Advanced Task Killer will shut down unused applications. You can configure it to do so on a timed basis (every hour, 2 hours, etc) or whenever the screen turns black (my favorite).

Don’t forget to exclude certain applications from this automatic shutdown, like the Clock (who’s alarm won’t wake you if you let ATK shut it down).

Power Search

My last smartphone was a Palm. Palm has some very inteligent features for business folks, like comprehensive search through Contacts. I could store things in the Notes field or Company field in a Contact record, knowing that I could search for that later.  The stock Android Contact app really falls apart here. You can only search by First or Last Name.

Enter “Power Search”. Power Search not only searches most fields in your Contact List, it also searches (if configured to do so) your Calendar, Email, Call Log and a host of other phone and web locations – all at the same time. Now I can store key search words in the Notes field and recall a contact by searching for that word later.

Calendar Pad

This is another thing I miss from my Palm. Business people live on their Calendars. The stock Calendar application for Android lacks many of the features I used to have on my Palm. Most notably, a “Week View” and “Month View” that show the text of the activities for that period.

Though not perfect, Calendar Pad provides this functionality. Though many events are cut off due to the screen size, at least you can get a hint of what’s going on. It’s a lot easier to get a handle on your busy schedule when you can read many days events at a glance.


ASTRO is to Android what Windows Explorer is for your PC. ASTRO lets you browse your phone’s files and folders, and move, copy, delete and open files. It will also reach out over WiFi to your local network’s shared folders, so you can easily move files to and from your PC without needing the USB cable.

Secure Vault

I don’t know about you, but one of the best convenience items about a Smartphone is the ability to keep whatever information you want with you at all times. Personally, I have some very personal information that I keep in a text file on the phone. But if my phone was ever lost, the personal information could fall into the wrong hands.

Secure Vault creates an encrypted folder into which you can place files to be kept from prying eyes. The folder cannot be opened without a password. Don’t forget the password, because it can’t be retrieved – ever.

If you have a favorite app(s), please do let us all know.

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