Everybody writes their Top Ten Android Apps that You Have to Have on Your New Smartphone lists each year, and invariably they list apps that I would never use, don’t need, or something like that. So I’m going to post MY list. These are the apps that I install first on any new device I have, whether it’s a new phone, or a tablet, or what. Most of them I also have installed on my iPad, so they’re not necessarily Android only.
For some background – I am a bi-vocational pastor. I pastor a small church, and also teach technology at the local elementary school. Both of these jobs influence what I consider must-haves. This is something that the other lists won’t tell you — they will just assume that you are just like them, and have the same needs they do. So as I list my apps, I’ll tell you why they are there.
- The Bible App from YouVersion: This is essential for me as a pastor. It’s not a study resource – I don’t really do major sermon prep with YouVersion’s app, but I DO constantly review the text I’m preaching from. The more you read it, the better off you are, when it comes to preaching a text, and YouVersion’s Bible app lets me do that. It also has some GREAT reading plans – and not all of them are a full year. There are great topical reading plans that may only last a few weeks or even a few days. And there are always Lent and Advent plans that are must reads.
- Evernote: I have to have this to stay organized. Combine this with the Evernote Web Clipper plugin for Chrome and you’ve got a powerful tool. Whenever I read something that sparks an idea for a sermon, it goes in the Evernote folder marked Future Sermons. All of my sermon notes go in the Sermon Notes folder, with tags for the book of the Bible I preached from. On the teaching side, lesson plan ideas go in their own folder, as do my finished plans and a scope and sequence for each school year. I’ve also got a LOT of tech-related articles that I need to have constant access to, as well as network-specific information for the school (proxy addresses, network printer IP numbers, etc.). I tell people all the time that Evernote is my brain, and I honestly couldn’t function well without it.
- feedly: I have a LOT of RSS feeds, and I’m old-school enough that I want them in a reader. I used Google Reader until they shut it down (WHY, GOOGLE, WHY?!), and then in a panic I went hunting and found feed.ly. It works really well, though integration with Evernote requires a pro account, and it let me import my Google Reader settings when I signed up. Most importantly, it’s easy to use.
- Dropbox: I have accounts with several cloud storage places (Box, Mozy, Google Drive) and have apps for all of those. But Dropbox is the one I download first. It integrates seamlessly with my laptop computer (there’s a Dropbox folder in Windows Explorer that I can drag and drop to), and I can automatically upload all my pictures from my phone to Dropbox.
- Kindle for Android: I have a ton of ebooks; in fact, it’s how I buy commentaries anymore, unless I get a really great deal. This lets me keep everything in one format, and I can use them across all my devices (including my iPad and my Surface).
I’m not picky about my clock widgets, or my weather apps (though I do LOVE MyRadar). I do always install Netflix, but that’s not something I consider a must. And of course, I’ve got a bunch of games. But those five up there are the ones I really cannot live without. I’m using my Kindle Fire a lot less now, in fact, partially because there is no Dropbox app in the Amazon app store anymore.
So what did I miss? Let me know in the comments.