Most useful productivity android apps


Your Android phone may be the best hardware on the market, but everyone knows it’s the apps that help you make the most of your Android devicewhether it’s brand new or a few years old. For our third annual Lifehacker Pack for Android, we’re highlighting the apps that help you stay productive, stay connected, and stay informed and entertained, not to mention a few that will make your Android phone just that much better.
The Lifehacker Pack is a yearly snapshot of our favorite, must-have applications for each of our favorite platforms. If you’re curious to see how things have changed this year, here’s last year’s Lifehacker Pack for Android. For our always-updating directory of all the best apps, be sure to bookmark our Android App Directory.The Android app that’s arguably one of the best apps of all time turns out to be a productivity app called SwiftKey.It’s an application that tracks the way you write and automatically makes suggestions on what your next word should be. On a small keyboard, like that of a smartphone, it speeds up the process of typing immensely.
But the differentiating part of SwiftKey is that, among all the predictive text apps, SwiftKey actually works, and works exceptionally well. After you spend a few days with the keyboard, it will already begin guessing what it is you are trying to say.As a result, it’s become a key point of differentiation for Android—and we argued was one of the main reasons you should switch to Android—and a big example of what kind of innovation can come out of a completely open platform like the Android ecosystem.(You can download the app on the Google Play store. As a quick fun note, you can find out what your most-typed sentence is by hitting the predictive text right away. Mine is pictured below.)We caught up with Joe Braidwood, chief marketing officer of SwiftKey, to find out more about the app and the team behind it. Here’s what we learned:

As you know what happens with most startups, a couple people got together with an idea. That happened in the summer of 2008, a couple friends of mine from Cambridge got together, one of them had a Ph.D. in natural language processing. The other had a physics degree and was working in the UK government. He was getting bored with that. He wanted to try something a bit more entrepreneurial, and they were bashing around ideas. The first problem we looked at was typing on a small device—autocorrect and predictive text was sucking. They had this idea that you can analyze loads of data and get an understanding of how language works, and use that technology to solve one of the most simple everyday problems we’ve seen. We called ourselves TouchType then. I joined about a year in to start helping them. It was a research project at that stage.

Toward the beginning of 2010 we were ready to try actually launching a product that would tackle this problem, and one of the things we realized about Android was that Android allowed you to create an application that would change the entire keyboard. We could inject all this intelligent language technology behind a new keyboard and package it as an app. We launched SwiftKey back then, that became the public presence for what we do. We got a load of downloads, got right up to the third-most downloaded app in the free marketplace that day, and 100,000 downloads in a week. For Android back then, that was pretty good.
A few months after that we launched the first application as a paid app, that was back when Android was a smaller platform, when monetization was more difficult. They’d only really launched paid app support that year, it was still early days. We worked with Google, and we launched as one of the featured developers. We’re the first people to have done a split keyboard for virtual touch screens, which was also soon done by quite a few other people.
We’ve hit the No. 1 app on Google Play about six or seven times. It’s hard to know exactly if we’re the No. 1 app in the world, but in the US and UK we were No. 1. We’re No. 1 in ten countries. We also have a series of deals to provide this technology which is the core component of SwiftKey that powers language and more accurately corrects. We’ve partnered with some health care organizations to understand the language medical professions use, there’s a whole lot of other exciting industries. get the thought out of your hand and out of your mind into the device.

Flick Note
Sure, there are way more complicated note-taking tools available for Android, and they may suit you, but we have to love the simplicity and syncing of Flick Note with Simplenote, one of our favorite plain-text note-taking services. Flick Note has tablet support, gestures to move between views, cross-note search at the top of the screen, and can even sync your notes and data to Dropbox.

There are more than a few great to-do list managers for Android, and while we still think that Wunderlist and Astrid are fantastic tools, these days we’re paying a lot of attention to the folks behind Any.DO. We fell in love with their gesture-based to-do app when it was launched, and it’s only gotten better with time and updates. Any.DO uses prediction to add items to your to-do list that you’ve done before so you save time fiddling with the app, supports speech-to-text to add items, syncs with Google Tasks, and more. Best of all, there are enough enticing features on Any.DO’s roadmap (a webapp, support for syncing with more services, and more) to keep us coming back.


Mint is still one of your favorite personal finance tools and we definitely agree. If you’re a Mint user, you definitely need the Android app—it gives you access to your budget, all of your accounts, and even lets you log transactions against your accounts so you’re never in the dark about how your purchases affect your budget and your funds. Mint’s recent updates may not have expanded the app’s regional support, but it has vastly improved its features.

Dolphin Browser HD

Dolphin Browser is still the best browser for Android in our opinion, and it’s most recent set of updates have only made it better. Support for drawn on-screen gestures to accomplish tasks like opening bookmarks and favorite pages, jumping to the top or bottom of the screen, and page navigation are incredibly useful, and Dolphin’s built-in Sonar voice command system is actually useful and not as hokey as it might sound. Plus, third parties have rallied around Dolphin with a number of plug-ins and extensions that add functionality to the browser. Still, it’s worth mentioning that Dolphin isn’t alone anymore. Nipping at its heels are other great options, like the previously mentioned Firefox for Android and freshly stable Chrome for Android, even though the latter only supports ICS devices.

Google Voice

Google Voice is still one of the best utilities to manage your voicemail, SMS messages, and take advantage of low-cost (or in some cases, free) calling on the market. If you have an Android phone, you’ll at least want to use Google Voice for your voicemail, but to get the full benefit, you may consider porting your number. Here’s how to make that easy. Once you’ve made the move, here are some useful tips.

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