Android Central

Another grouping of app picks that's primarily tools and productivity. We've got an EQ settings manager, file manager, remote app and a few others. There are enough dials, buttons and tabs in these apps to keep you busy for a couple weeks at least. If these aren't exactly your cup of tea, don't worry, we'll have another group of picks just 7 days from now. Either way, they're always worth a look -- you may just find something you like.

Richard Devine - Music Volume EQ

Android Central

I'm not a massive user of EQ effects when listening to music on my phone. But, having previously had a Beats Audio device -- yes, i said Beats -- I've recently started to be a little more interested. The biggest problem for me, is the variety of applications I use to get my music. I'm really disorganised. Some is in Amazon Cloud Drive, some Google Music, and the majority of my music comes from Spotify. What I need, is a generic EQ app that will work across all my apps, the same way Beats does.

So, i happened upon Music Volume EQ. It's not flashy, it's not particularly advanced, but it is free. It's also non intrusive, as once you've set it up, it retreats to the notification bar out of the way. Otherwise it's a basic, yet functional EQ with presets for the usual music genres, Rock, Metal, Dance, Hip-Hop, you know the deal. Volume and bass can also be independently adjusted. As it's free, it is ad supported, but as it isn't a front facing app it doesn't really affect.

Download: Music Volume EQ (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - OI File Manager

Android Central

The open and accessible file system is one of Android's killer features. The folks at Google have no desire to lock you out of the data on your phone, and make it pretty easy to get to it from on the device itself or while attached to a computer. The only thing they don't offer is a file explorer application. Luckily, they do offer plenty of examples and use standards so any skilled developer can make one.

If you have a OEM branded phone from a company like Samsung or Motorola, there's a good chance you have a file manager built in. But if you went for the pure Google experience, you'll need to download one. There are plenty available, but I still use OI File Manager. It's light on resources, gives me all the file operations I could ever want without all the glitz and glamor that some of the others add. It's also completely open source, and I'll always support the open source option when it's available.

To top it off, it's free, and as you can see runs on every Android device ever made -- even our old friend the T-Mobile G1.

Download: OI File Manager (Free)

Scott Young - Official XBMC Remote

Android Central

Anyone into the HTPC scene knows about XBMC. XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media and is available for Linux, OSX, and Windows. However something that a lot of HTPC folks don't know is that there is an official Android app that gives them total control of XBMC. The app let's you que up playlists for your media, see what's currently playing on XBMC, and can even function as a remote control. It works over your cell network or WiFi connection, which means you don't need any sort of IR dongle for your phone. You can even setup the app to show your status bar notifications, incoming texts and incoming calls on your TV (and will pause your media accordingly). If you're running a HTPC and have XBMC installed, I highly recommend the (Free) XMBC app.

Download: Official XBMC Remote (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Reddit is fun

Android Central

It seems as though there are two types of people on the internet -- the small group that frequent Reddit on a daily basis, and everyone else. There may be some “lurker” types that check out some of the popular AMA threads, but largely those who are into Reddit are really into Reddit. For those people, it seems like the only option is “reddit is fun”. The app works well and brings you all of the cat pictures and memes you’ve come to expect from reddit. The app is free, and for $1.99 you can get both tablet support and a widget to accompany the main app.

Download: Reddit is fun (Free), Paid ($1.99)

Simon Sage - NFC Task Launcher

Android Central

I never really got into NFC stuff, but after getting a whole pack of tags from TagsForDroid, I've been having a lot of fun figuring out what I could do with them. NFC Task Launcher has been doing a great job of programming new tasks, adding vCards, or assigning website links to tags. The full suite of options are available, including rewriting tags, locking tags to later reprogramming, adding messages, or creating tasks that switch. If you're not familiar, NFC allows you to execute quick, simple actions by tapping the back of your device against one of these sensor tags. Tasks vary in type from simple connectivity and display options to social network check-ins and opening applications.

I'm still toying around with the various use cases, but the tags are cheap, and so far it's a lot of fun - especially if you're looking to rub something in the face of your buddy who just bought an iPhone 5.

Download: NFC Task Launcher (Free)

Alex Dobie - BBC Media Player

Android Central

If you want to watch BBC iPlayer TV and radio content on a Jelly Bean device, you'll want to snag the BBC's new Media Player app. Replacing previously-required Adobe Flash Player, the BBC Media Player is a native Android app for viewing streaming media from the Beeb, including iPlayer content when accessed via the corporation's website. The BBC is still in the process of porting content over, and certain stuff like Sports coverage isn't included yet. However, if you plan in viewing any BBC content in the near future, or you just want another excuse to rid yourself of Adobe Flash, then this app is definitely worth keeping loaded in the background.

The BBC Media Player app is available to download now for free for Android device owners in the UK. Unlike the dedicated BBC iPlayer app, it supports the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Download: BBC Media Player (Free)

Sean Brunett - Streetball

Android Central

Do you like simple and easy sports games? The you’re definitely going to want to check out Streetball from Battery Acid Games. I love basketball games and find they’re some of the easiest to play on-the-go. Streetball is, as you’d expect, basketball on a street court rather than a gym. It features four games modes: 21, 2-on-2, H.O.R.S.E, and a practice session. The on-screen controls are simple enough. You have a joystick to move your player around, and two buttons, shoot or pass. In my opinion, the simpler you can make sports games on mobile the better since on-screen controls are somewhat limited. As for characters, you have 14 options to choose from, including believe it or not Abraham Lincoln. My one gripe with the app is that H.O.R.S.E is a little too easy (you follow a pattern to determine if your shot goes in), but that’s a minor issue. The app is $1.99 from the Google Play Store and worth every penny in my view. There is a free version, but the features are limited, such as only offering two modes instead of four.

Download: Streetball ($1.99)

Chris Parsons - Bacon Reader

Bacon Reader

Like reading Reddit? Cool, me too. Now that we have something in common, I'd like to share a secret with you. OK, it's not really a secret but some people have tried it out before and others -- not so much. It's called BaconReader.. Mmm.. bacon. But wait, it's not what you think. Bacon Reader is a really cool Reddit app built by One Louder Apps. It's available for free from the Google Play Store and with it, you can cruise Reddit in style.  Post new items, read already existing ones, get PM's and more including full profile support. Give it a go over you're looking for a better Reddit client on Android.

Download: Bacon Reader (Free)


Reader comments

Apps of the Week - OI File Manager, Music Volume EQ, Official XBMC Remote and more!


Holy cow! The G1 looks like something from 10 years ago, not less than four years ago. The leaps and bounds Android has made are remarkable. Apple may have been first, but Android has lapped them already.

Used OI File Manager for over a year before rooting. It's a great simple File Manager. Once you root though, it doesn't have any root type features (ex. change file permissions), so I switched over to ES File Explorer. :)

I agree, its out of date.

IO File Manager also doesn't support anything off-phone. No Windows Shares, No FTP, No DropBox, Drive, SkyDrive, Box, Sugarsync, Ubuntu. No Bluetooth.

ES File Manager is light years ahead. Send those ES boys email telling about a new file-hosting service, and they are on it in a heartbeat.

The only reason to stick with IO FM, is nostalgia.

Or not having all that extra fluff is exactly the reason why to stick with OI File Manager. 700k footprint, fully supports Android intents, and doesn't suffer from mountains of options I never would use.

But instead of using ES File explorer (or any of the others) I suspect you (the generic you) have installed Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., on your phone, making for an even bigger footprint.

I like swiss army knives.

You know, I'm going to have to check out that dropbox integration with es explorer, because the Dropbox app itself has become untenable and Apple-like. I can't even figure out how to download a folder so that it behaves like an ordinary folder.

Root explorer for root exploration, but es explorer for drilling into my nas/via samba and then playing media from samba! Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

I still haven't found a good sshfs with rsa client solution though. And you're right: Astro has gone downhill. But Jerry does have a good point about io explorer being light and simple. It's nice to have io explorer built in so I can make that first Titanium apk sideload after flashing a new rom.

Isn't it great that we can have a raging debate about which is the best file explorer because we have the most computer-like smartphone os?

Oh no that's sick. There is indeed cloud integration with es explorer.

I wondered what I was going to do with my 25gb of skydrive. I'm uploading my flac files right now, es explorer can stream them right out of skydrive. The skydrive app certainly can't do that.

Astro now has the cloud integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. too. it's pretty sweet to be able to quickly push a file or folder directly from your phone storage to the cloud.

THis is a punk statement, lol. You are way too transparent and there is no way you have gone any length of time over a week without having to use a different file explorer because of the better options it has. Something like a file explorer, IE, Windows explore SHOULD have a big footprint!! For Christ's sake it's the main explorer for your phone, lmao. That is like saying, my phone app should not have a missed calls display and redial because it's too big of a footprint, lmao!!!

thanks, that is what I was wondering and why I use ES as well. I like to support Open Source also so when Jerry suggested it I thought I'd switch but the root functions as well as LAN features etc of ES make it my number 1 file explorer app.

In regards to the file manager, I'm using the paid version of Root Explorer. I had been using the free version of Astro, but since it underwent a whole UI overhaul, it's crap and I'm now using Root Explorer only.

Richard, thanks for the EQ app recommendation. I've been wanting something like this for a while now. Cheers.

Volume+ app makes Music Volume EQ obsolete unless you just want something pretty on your home screen.
With Volume+ you turn it on once make your settings and forget about it.
I can't do something that looks pretty and I have to keep turning it on and off.

I use Reddit News for mobile Reddit browsing. It has a RES like image viewer and good swipe features. A great up and coming app though is Reddit Sync, really nice looking but still missing some features.

Richard, or anyone who has experience, how do you like Music Volume EQ vs Equalizer?

I've used Equalizer before but after flashing a ROM I just never put it back on and haven't really missed it, but like you want a EQ that works across all apps. I guess either way I'm gonna install Music Volume EQ and give it a go but figured I'd ask in case anyone already had a comparison. :)

also finally ordered my NFC tags, having them sent to work so that I can show them off in front of my iCoworkers especially the ones that just got the iPhone5 >:D

I'm not sure that I'd go as far as calling the media player native. It's Adobe Air, I believe (similar to Flash outside a browser) and still using very low quality streams.

I realise that the required level of DRM on Android might be a pain and they want to support Gingerbread and ICS/JB with the same technique (I believe the technique used for iPhone is only available on Honeycomb onwards) but the result is a poor experience for many users.

I have used all of the file explorers listed here and IMHO x-file explorer is by far the bes of them all. You can add Dropbox and box and Google drive etc.and they will always sync and act like folders on your phone. You can even add WiFi network locations let's say from a shared folder on your laptop. It also has a dual view and you can have 2 locations open and move files between them. Much much more...