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Best apps for Android smart phone?
Old 12-21-2015, 12:04 PM   #1
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Best apps for Android smart phone?

I bought a Moto G smartphone recently because I needed to access the Internet while on a trip.

Now that I'm home, I'm not finding much use for the device. It's an OK camera, but we already have cameras, and anyway, how many selfies does somebody my age need to take? I haven't even used it as a phone, since I have a perfectly good old Nokia cell phone with 900 minutes on it.

I don't need to access e-mail or social media much when I'm not home, and the screen is too small to do most things (I have to take out my old-lady-reading-glasses).

So, I keep hearing about all these great apps for smartphones - that let you compare prices and do other useful things. What apps do you use a lot? Do you have any to recommend for sheer usefulness?


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Old 12-21-2015, 12:07 PM   #2
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Google Maps works pretty well for navigation. Don't let it show terrain or pictures and your data use will stay low.

I also use Duolingo daily. I actually heard about it here on this site. I just dabble in learning another language. It is a good way to keep my brain from getting crusty.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:24 PM   #3
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Google app widget for quick Siri-type questions
GasBuddy to find best gas prices near where I am
Pandora for music (plays on Bluetooth speaker)
Netflix (cast to my big screen using Chromecast)
TripAdvisor for finding highly rated area restaurants and attractions while traveling
Out of Milk for grocery and to-do lists
Kindle app for bookreading (not me but it is available(

and of course, the app!
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:25 PM   #4
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I have a Moto G and love it.

For 3rd party apps, I have United Airlines, Mr. Number (blocks spammers), Capital One Account (CC monitoring, etc), Early Retirement, 1Weather, Dropbox (files I need to get to occasionally), Charles Schwab (investments), Google Maps.

Don't use these much at home, but when out I have them available. It's more about having them available then using them a lot. Some folks have social media apps like Facebook, but that's not me.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:39 PM   #5
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I don't remember which ones I bought and which came with the phone. I have to pull out my glasses for most things but I have to carry glasses for lots of things so I'm rarely without.

Probably the most useful one for me is google maps for navigation.

email is handy if I've forgotten some details on an event or whatever else. I like the gmail app better than the stock phone app. I rely some on facebook too, since some of my friends use that for communication in addition to email, plus the stock messaging app

Google calendar is also useful to me to remember appointment/event details.

Evernote is a really handy app to share documents and files between my laptop, kindle and phone. I use it for shopping lists, to do lists, books I want to find at the library, movies I own so I don't go to the $5 bin and buy a second copy, pdf files or docs of whatever info I want to have handy, a cheat sheet of info for nature hikes I lead, and password hints for all my accounts with enough info for me to know without anyone else being able to (easily) figure it out.

Weather apps are nice and useful.

I like to follow sports, so I use "theScore" app to track the scores of games I am missing.

I use GPS tools like SkiTracks, AlpineQuest, and Strava for skiing, hiking and running, though I usually use my running watch for running so I can see my pace and distance without digging out my phone.

WikiMobile is handy to look up whatever comes to mind if I don't want to wait until I get home.

My clock app gives me a reliable alarm clock, as well as a timer.

I've got a number of travel related apps that help with sightseeing, air travel, airports, auto traffic, and so on. Nice to have that at my fingertips if I suddenly need it.

I've got a couple tools like a compass, level, and the most useful one, BrightestFlashlight which gives me a super bright light. I've used it for safety in a dark place, to read a menu or bill in a dark restaurant, to help get a key in a lock at a dark doorstep, and so on.

Banks apps, just in case I need to check my balance or make a transfer, plus many banks now let you deposit a check by taking a picture.

I do have a barcode scanner for help with shopping, but I don't tend to shop in stores too often so I don't have much for shopping apps.

I've got a beer rating app (Untappd) to read beer reviews in stores or bars, and track what I've drank and liked or disliked.

I put my favorites from my music collection on my phone so I've always got that handy if needed. Now that my car has a USB slot I rarely use it anymore, but I could.

News apps and games, along with email and facebook, help pass the time if I have to wait somewhere.

I have a few "keeper" photos that I can use instead of carrying wallet photos. I also take a picture of my drivers license and insurance card just in case I don't have my wallet and need it. I use a screen lock on my phone in case I lose my phone, and also put a message on that screen with my email and my son's # as an emergency contact.

Hope that gives you some ideas. I didn't use it for much initially, but as I used it more and browsed the app store whenever I wondered if there was an app to do something, I found more uses.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:03 PM   #6
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If you use Google Maps for navigation, you can use it in offline mode. This won't consume data while navigating.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:25 PM   #7
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Many of the same as RunningBum mentioned. A few to add, MyFitnessPal, and Mapmywalk, both from Under Armour. MyFitnessPal is a great way to lose weight and get a handle on nutrition. Mapmywalk integration into MyFitnessPal makes tracking exercise easy and sends exercise data to MyFitnessPal to allow easy estimation of your calorie consumption and burn off.

Also local TV apps for weather information. Fidelity for checking balance or making trades. I'd be lost without google maps. Pinterest and All Recipes for food ideas. There was any other one I used for grocery lists but I'm drawing a blank on the name.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:54 PM   #8
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I just used mine to pay a parking meter. I also refilled the meter from a distance, so I would not get a ticket after the two hour limit.

Online banking, GPS, email, flashlight, etc. 10000+ apps...

I even have a countdown timer for my retirement date...
FIRE no later than 7/5/2016 at 56 (done), securing '16 401K match (done), getting '15 401K match (done), LTI Bonus (done), Perf bonus (done), maxing out 401K (done), picking up 1,000 hours to get another year of pension (done), July 1st benefits (vacation day, healthcare) (done), July 4th holiday. 0 days left. (done) OFFICIALLY RETIRED 7/5/2016!!
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:27 PM   #9
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Here's my list of the most used:

"OK Google"... for answers to almost any question and to control other device functions
Google Now... quick updates on weather, sports scores, stocks, news, and shipment status
Google Maps... maps, Navigation, traffic updates, and finding places nearby
Fidelity... mainly to deposit paper checks using the camera
VIP Access... 2-factor authentication for my Fidelity accounts
Hangouts... free WiFi calling and text, occasional video calls to see the granddaughter
Ting... to track usage of data, minutes, and text
K-9 Email... one client for all my email addresses with look & feel of Outlook
Fitbit... updates status from my Flex
MapMyRide... GPS app for tracking my bike rides and other workouts
Local TV station app... mainly for good quality weather radar easier than reading the full site on Chrome
Pandora... free music app that learns what you like
Poweramp... great app for playing mp3s
CameraZoom... much better than the stock camera app
Quickpic... better than the stock photo gallery
Swiftkey... better than the stock keyboard app (learns how you write)
Call Control... to block spam and other unwanted calls
Chromecast... to cast anything on the phone up to the TV (mainly photos)
Retired at 52 in July 2013. On to better things...
AA: 55% stock, 15% real estate, 27% bonds, 3% cash
WR: 2.7% SI: 2 pensions, some rental income, SS later
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Old 12-21-2015, 09:58 PM   #10
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Pushbullet syncs your phone to your laptop or PC. If you're on either and the phone is in the other room, you'll get notifications of who is calling or texting. You can also initiate or answer texts right from your laptop/PC without having to grab the phone. This is one of my favorite apps. I also use Postman to weed out text spam. Shazam is great when you're out somewhere, hear a song you like, and want to know who the artist is. Just hold the phone up to the music source and Shazam will come up with the song title, artist, etc.

I love the Moto G. The phone camera is great when a vendor wants a copy of a document. I take the pic, attach it to my gmail or text, and send it off. Did this recently when notifying my insurance company of a car change. Did the same thing when I bought my car in May: took pics of my insurance card and drivers license and attached to a text. When I went down to pic up the car, paperwork was pre-filled and all I had to do was sign. Was out of there in about twenty minutes (versus about an hour in the pre-digital age).

If you want to know the weather instantly, just say weather and your zip code. Recently, rather than bothering to google, I asked the phone about short-term capital gains as it applies to real estate gains and got an instant answer.

The more you use the phone, the more useful you will see that it is.
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:13 PM   #11
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I also have the Moto G and like it. Have a lot of apps but a few of the common ones that I like are: Mr Number to block any annoying phone numbers. GasBuddy to find the best gas prices when traveling. GSam Battery Monitor. Stay Alive, useful when you want your screen to stay on when specific apps are being used.
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Options View Post
I love the Moto G. The phone camera is great when a vendor wants a copy of a document. I take the pic, attach it to my gmail or text, and send it off. Did this recently when notifying my insurance company of a car change. Did the same thing when I bought my car in May: took pics of my insurance card and drivers license and attached to a text. ...
CamScannerHD is a great app to assist with this. Using the camera in the way you do is fine, but this app really does a great job of cropping, re-aligning, and adjusting the contrast, and you can even add notes and such.

I don't know about the camera in the Moto G, but the one in DW's iPad is very good, I almost never use the scanner anymore. If you need to steady yourself, simply putting the doc on a kitchen chair, and holding the device over the table edge has worked out pretty well.

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Old 12-21-2015, 10:55 PM   #13
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I never use an external scanner, camera and do almost no printing anymore, either (docs are digital). Phone does what all these peripherals use to do in one easy, convenient device. I also concur with the above regarding Mr. Number as an outstanding app for blocking unwanted phone calls.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
What apps do you use a lot? Do you have any to recommend for sheer usefulness?
We use the app a lot. When my spouse grabs something off the shelf in a store I scan its UPC symbol and the app almost always finds it less expensive online.

We have a built-in GPS in our car, but still rely on the Google Maps app because it provide far better up-to-the-minute traffic avoidance.

We use Google Sheets so that my spouse and I can share a simple Shopping List without having to worry whether there are two pieces of paper laying around the kitchen somewhere.

TXT messaging, of course, and Skype. Skype is often how my spouse lets me know when work is done so I know when to put the dinner I've been prepping in the oven, for example. We also use Skype a lot when one or the other of us are gone on business for a week.

Email and calendar.

We use our bank's app to deposit checks from home or wherever we happen to be when we open the mail.

Our smartphones are the best cameras in the house now. We also have video security cameras around the house, which we can view from an app on our smartphones.

We also have an app that allows us to control our HVAC system, but that's not all that useful since the system itself is fully programmable, so before we leave home we can generally program it to do what we want it to do around the time we're heading back home.

More and more, we use our smartphones instead of paper movie tickets, paper boarding passes, paper hotel reservations, etc.

We use the Facebook app quite heavily now to keep in touch with the church friends we left behind when we moved to Georgia.

In the next year we'll be switching from a landline to our smartphones to save money, so of course the smartphones will become our telephone handsets, at home.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:24 AM   #15
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A couple I use once in a while are a compass and carpenter's level, dont use them often, but they are sometimes handy. I loaded up a rangefinder app but haven't used it much.

Today I am investigating a hardware item that connects to the usb port on the moto g. It is a thermal imaging device that uses the phone screen as a display [maybe the cpu as well], so it's much cheaper than a stand alone tool. I will use it to try to find a roof leak, but it may be useful for other stuff as well.

Open Street Maps has been a favorite of mine for a while as a stand in for Google maps, but they are both pretty effective anymore, in fact I have both on the moto g.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by MRG View Post
.... and Mapmywalk, both from Under Armour......
Watching this thread because the Moto G was tops on my list for a replacement phone - till i bought a used iPhone 5s. Loaded up the iPhone version of Mapmywalk and it is pretty cool - does a better job than us mapping our walk on Google Earth Pro after getting back to the house. Also has a timer and does the math for minutes/mile and calories burned and such - and lets you know where you are! Good recommendation.
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:34 PM   #17
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Here are a few I like:

Weather Underground, specific and accurate. There is a nice 2x2 widget too that shows next 3 days with rain probability (installed with transparency set to full on).

Google Keep for notes. Simple interface.

BBC News good for international perspective.

TripAdvisor for places you are headed and restaurant reviews when you are there.

GoComics has Snoopy, etc.

LastPass try free on PC. Then if you like it $12 for mobil. Works great with a phone that has fingerprint reading (Nexus 6P, Iphones). Good for putting those long passwords into your bank's app.

NASA app for out of this world stuff and the doctor's office which never have good magazines.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:41 PM   #18
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I have the traffic cams apps for DC,MD, and VA to monitor traffic jams on the local interstate systems.

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Old 12-22-2015, 06:45 PM   #19
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One I didn't see in the list is Shazam. listens to song on radio and tells you who the artist is.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:44 PM   #20
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Apps? I don't need no stinkin' apps! Mind you, for some reason, a free compass app gives more than its fair share of amusement at happy hour!

[mod edit to remove partisan political comment]
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