One of the things of which many Android users are proud of is the high percentage of free apps available on the 30,000-strong Android Market. If you turn that on its head, then any developer with enough chutzpah to charge for their software must be pretty convinced that it's worth paying for.
Sadly, that logic falls down with the large number of chancers out there, so we've compiled a list of 10 apps good enough to open your wallet for instead and, remember, if you don't like them, you've got 24 hours to get them back to the Android Market for a full refund. Let us know your top tips for paid apps in the comments below.
- Free/$19.99 per year
WaveSecure is actually free for another few days on Android, so download it now and ask questions later. After 31 March this award winning app will cost you a subscription of $19.99 per year whereas early birds get it for nothing until they die. It's a phone security program that will back up all your data in the cloud - contacts, SMS, photos, videos and all other files - where you'll be able to restore from should the brown sticky stuff hit the rotating air blowing thing.
If your phone is stolen, WaveSecure lets you lock the device, track it via GPS and SMS triangulation, it sends out emergency text help and will let you know if someone tries to put in their own SIM. If you still can't retrieve the thing, or would rather not venture into the depths of Moss Side, then you can also perform a remote wipe as a last resort.
Should you miss the WaveSecure deadline or you'd just like to add a little spin on phone security, then pick up SMS Commander at a very reasonable cost. The app enables you to send SMS controls to your phone if you can't find it. You can turn the ringer volume up, get battery information, lock your phone, get your phone's location on a map and set up automatic call and text forwarding until you get it back. Not quite as in depth as WaveSecure but a very good second. Now to some different stuff.
Games! There we go, that's a little more life loving than worrying about getting your phone stolen. There's bags of games out there on the Market, but we have never seen one get such universal praise as Speedx 3D. Considering it's just a first person speed racer type game with very little to it at all, it's quite staggering that it's received 5-star after 5-star review - but it has. It's apparently crazily addictive and the video kind of does make you want to spend your life mastering it. Best of all, of course, it's not even a quid to buy.
Of course, another theory on paying for games is that you might as well get lots of them in one hit if you're going to pay at all. This is where the SNesoid SNES emulator for Android comes in.
It's not fool proof. There's the odd complaint from users, it'll work a lot better with multitouch and not all the roms seem to function, but there's plenty of people out there making them and you can currently play a whole bunch of classics like Final Fantasy III, Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda, TMNT 4, Madden 98, Mario Kart, Street Fighter II, Megaman, etc, etc. Takes a bit of patience and hunting around, but well worth it for the quality old-school action.
Technically speaking, the app itself is free, but you're not going to get much out of it until you sign yourself up for a Spotify Premium account. They're not cheap at £120 per year, not one bit, and you can't even get the service the world over right now but, if you like music, even a little, and can afford it, then it's something you simply must add to your arsenal. It offers unlimited mobile access to the kind of vast catalogue of music you'll only catch out with the Beatles and some forms of obscure Norwegian pipe music.
We're not going to claim this one's an essential, but it's well worth the $2.99 for the option of instantly rejecting a call and sending an apology text at the same time. PhonePlus Callback pops a menu up on your screen when you get an incoming and it's then up to you if you want to take it or not and what you say, if anything, by SMS or e-mail when you turn it down. Great while in meetings, driving or when "otherwise engaged".
Camera Zoom FX
It's a touch on the temperamental side from time to time but, then, isn't that one of the hallmarks of a genius? Camera Zoom FX essentially makes the camera on your Android phone actually quite good in a way that they generally aren't. There's over 40 photo fixes to choose from as well as adding white balance, geo-tagging, one touch uploads to the socials, high burst shooting and all sorts of other goodies. It doesn't make up for not having a proper camera on you but it's still great value for £1.99.
10 dollars is certainly a lot less than the price of a separate dongle, so picking up EasyTether is actually making you a saving really. The app allows you to use the data package on your SIM with your PC so long as it's running 7, Vista or XP. What's great about this app is that it gets around any tether-barring your mobile service provider has kindly stamped on your account without you having to pay the extra.
Checkbook Genius Hyper
Stupid name, great app. This little guy is your pocket accountant, offering to keep a track of work expenses, receipts, bill paying, other transactions and from multiple accounts as well. Naturally, it still requires you to actually be bothered to do it all, but it saves you stuffing paper in your pockets to deal with later or trying to work out where all those virtual documents are come January. Checkbook Genius Hyper means it's all in one place for you and, if you're self-employed, you can count the $3.95 outlay against your profits.
DocumentsToGo Full Key Version
It's a close call between watching paint dry and talking about office software, but those who mocked will be laughing on the other side of their handsets when they can't open, edit and create PDFs, Excel files and PowerPoint docs at will. We know you can imagine those kinds of emergencies, the question for you is whether it's worth spending the 20 bucks or coping with the sweat patches in your blue shirted arm pits as you stand with disco knee in front of an audience at work.
So, that's our clutch of money-grabbers. What are the best Android apps you've ever spent your pennies on or which of this lot has caused you problems in the past? Let us know.
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