I’ve used this site to publish lists of all sorts of favorite things: TV shows, albums, radio stations, Firefox extensions… Yet it occurred to me the other day that, despite having an Android phone for almost two years now, I haven’t done a “Best Android Apps” post yet. So let’s fix that!
Below are some of my most favoritest Android apps. I’ve tried to keep the list as general as possible: I have several sports apps I love, but not everyone loves sports, so I’ve left them off the list. All apps listed below are free, although many have “Pro” or “Ad-Free” flavors, too. Some require root access, but these will be noted as such. All links are to the app’s page on Google Play.
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Shush! – This app silences the ringer on your phone for a given amount of time. But the best part is that there’s no “app”. You just use the volume buttons on the side of your phone to silence the ringer, and a window pops up asking when you’d like the ringer to come back on. There’s also an option to choose the volume level when the ringer comes back:
I use this app every single day: I charge my phone on my nightstand, but don’t want the various notification sounds to wake up me or the missus. So I set it silence the phone until 08:30 or so the next morning. I say “or so” because there’s no way to have Shush! resume the ringer at a specific time. As you can see from the screen cap above, there’s an awkward rotary menu, and it selects time in 15 minute chunks. So if I use Shush! at 23:07, my only options will be to restore the ringer at 08:07, 08:17, 08:37, or 08:47. I kind of wish Shush! also had a whitelist feature, where calls from people I choose could override the settings. I know such apps exist, and I’ve used them before, but I keep coming back to Shush! ‘cos it’s simple and it “just works”!
Alarm Clock Xtreme Free – If there’s one thing Google Play has tons of, it’s alarm clock apps. I should know: I’ve tried a hundred of them. And Alarm Clock Xtreme is my alarm of choice. You can use the app as a traditional alarm clock (choose the time, set the mp3 you want as the alarm), but the reason I like it is that it has math CAPTCHAs. Yes, you have to solve math problems to turn this alarm clock off. And, because of that, I’ve almost never overslept with this. You can choose how many math problems you want, and how complex you want them to be (“11 + 4” or “227 / 6”?). It also has a “graduwake” feature, where the alarm starts softly but gets louder as it goes on. There’s even an option to have “decreasing snooze duration” (i.e. the first time you hit snooze, you get 10 minutes; the second time you get 8 minutes). Despite so many options, the app is simple, and most importantly, the app is reliable. I’ve tried other alarm clocks in the past, and believe it or not, many had problems waking the phone from deep sleep. Like Shush!, Alarm Clock Xtreme “just works”!