10 Great Free Apps - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Hundreds of thousands of apps are available at the Google Play Store for your Android phone — so why not collect them all! Rather than spend an idle evening downloading apps for the rest of your life, here are some suggestions for must-have apps, all of which are free. Your phone may have already come with similar apps. If so, great! Otherwise, consider getting these apps to enhance and extend your phone’s capabilities.

ASTRO File Manager

ASTRO is a great file manager app of choice. It does a lot, and some Android users would argue that it does too much. When you need to go file spelunking and the phone doesn’t have a file manager app, give ASTRO a try.

Doodle Jump

Like all good addicting games, Doodle Jump is easy to figure out and challenging at the same time. This app makes excellent use of the phone’s accelerometer, which keeps you moving while you play the game and, therefore, a source of entertainment for those who are watching you play.

ESPN SportsCenter

If you have a hearty sports-score-news-schedule appetite, check out ESPN. Sports nuts are everywhere, and if this includes you, consider obtaining the ESPN SportsCenter app. A paid version is available, as well as a Watch ESPN app.

Fast Notepad

All phones need a plain, text-only, note-taking app. Fast Notepad is a simple, easy-to-use app for that purpose. It lets you jot down quick thoughts without a lot of cumbersome features and options obscuring that basic task. It’s simple and elegant.

Yahoo Finance

Whether you find yourself obsessed with the stock market or you simply want to keep an eye on your portfolios, the Yahoo Finance app is a good choice. You can build a portfolio, keep track of your own stocks and market news, and dream of one day retiring and living the good life before robots rise up and destroy all of humanity.

Movies by Flixster

The Movies by Flixster app is your phone’s gateway to Hollywood. It lists currently running films and films that are opening, and it has links to your local theaters with showtimes and other information. The app is also tied into the popular Rotten Tomatoes website for reviews and feedback. If you enjoy going to the movies, you’ll find the Movies app a valuable addition to your phone’s app library.

Sky Map

Ever look up into the night sky and say, “What the heck is that?” Unless it’s a bird, an airplane, a satellite, or a superhero, the Sky Map can help you find what it is. You may discover that a particularly bright star in the sky is, in fact, the planet Jupiter. Just start the app and point your Android phone toward the sky. Pan the phone to identify planets, stars, and constellations.


Translate is a Google app. Not only does it assist with other apps in the translation of foreign tongues into English, but you can also use the app directly to help you pass third-period French. Although the translation is okay, it’s not perfect. Still, it’s fun to play with and brush up on anything from Chinese to Russian.

Voice Recorder

All Android phones can record your voice and other sounds, but few phones come with a sound recording app. That’s why you should get a voice recorder app, many of which are simply called Voice Recorder. Follow the preceding link to find a good one, though they all perform similar duties and generally display pop-up ads unless you get the paid version.


The Zedge app is a helpful resource for finding wallpapers and ringtones — millions of them. It’s a sharing app, so you can access wallpapers and ringtones created by other Android users as well as share your own. If you’re looking for a specific sound or something special for Home screen wallpaper, Zedge is the best place to start your search.