My favorite Android apps of the past year
Hey everybody! It's the time of the year where all of us here at AC look back and think on the highlights of 2014. That means we all get to compile lists of the things we thought were the "best." We're kicking it off with a "Best apps of 2014" list from each of us here. Fun stuff!
Best means different things to different people. To me, it has nothing to do with how many downloads an app has, or what it costs, or even how new (or old) it happens to be. The best apps are the ones that do what I expect them to do, in the way I like them to do it. It's pretty personal, and your list (or Phil's, or Alex's, etc.) aren't going to be like mine. That's a good thing.
I've decided on the five apps I use the most, do exactly what I need them to do, and work best for me.
I still find myself fiddling with a server or building stuff from source code every now and then. For that, I need a way to conenct remotely most times, and Juice SSH is the best way to get a shell on any machine running an SSH server from your Android phone or tablet. It's a full-color ssh client (or local terminal) that also includes telent — a plus for many of us.
The options and extras are what makes it the best. You can copy and paste between sessions, save transcripts to your device or somewhere external like Dropbox, has a great connection manager and the Pro version syncs everything between two or more Android devices.
If you need to connect via SSH or Telnet (it even supports Mosh mobile shell connections) Juice SSH is the program you want to use to do it.
- Download: Juice SSH (Free; in-app purchase for pro version)
Cookpad is more than a recipe app. Think of it as the social network for people like you and me who want to be able to cook delicious things to eat. I think it's the best place to find recipes.
You can tell the app what ingredients you have and it will find something you can cook, ask questions and get answers about what you are cooking and how to do it right, and even share pictures of your creations when they come out of the oven. You can even read the recipes on your Android Wear watch!
I'm not a chef, and I don't play one on TV. I'm just a guy who loves to play in the kitchen and eat delicious things. Cookpad helps make that happen.
- Download: Cookpad Recipes (Free)
Unless you have a Moto X (or maybe even then, too) or are using a phone running Lollipop you want to install and use Skiplock.
Skiplock lets you set your phone up so that the password or pin is bypassed when you're connected to a Bluetooth device or on a particular Wifi network. It's easy to setup, works well, and has other options like auto toggling of things like Wifi, Bluetooth and device application syncing.
It has a few kinks with things like fingerprint scanners or patterns and face unlock, but the app is free to try and see if it works for you. It works for me. In fact it works so well I still include it in my list of the best apps.
- Download: Skiplock (Free for 30 days)
F-Stop Media Gallery
F-Stop Media Gallery is still one of my favorite apps, and earns its place on my "best of" list once again in 2014.
It's an image gallery replacement, that brings all the extras I want or need and does it in a beautiful way (you even have full theme support). Of course you can view the pictures and screenshots that are on your phone or tablet, but F-Stop brings great new ways to view them. Support for smart galleries, folders, nested folders and tags mean you'll have an easier time sorting through everything, and image search works great when you still need a little help. You can also read metadata (like EXIF data) right from your images. Add in password protected galleries and I think F-Stop Media Gallery is the best way to look at photos and images on your Android.
- Download: F-Stop Media Gallery (Free; $4.99 Pro upgrade)
Network Signal Info Pro
I'm a bit of a geek, and use my smartphone as a tool most of the time. Whether I'm communicating, or measuring, or calculating, I depend on my smartphone to deliver. If you have a need (or just want to nerd out) to know more about the wireless networks your Android is connected to, Network Signal Info Pro is a great way to do it.
You'll get detailed information about your current wireless connections — both Wifi and cellular — a cell tower database that uses a signal tracker to build KML files to view in Google Earth, widgets you can place on your home screen for information at a glance, and more.
Maybe you don't think reading data about your network connection and keeping track of it is sexy, but a lot of people do. If you're one of those people, Network Signal Info Pro is a tool you need to have on-hand.
- Download: Network Signal Info Pro ($1,97)
We've just started digging into our years-best lists, so keep your eyes peeled for more from the people you know and trust here at AC. We love making these lists (and reading the discussion that will inevitably follow) as much as you love reading them!