One of the best things about Android is that apps have a lot more freedom compared iPhone apps.
Some of the most innovative Android apps are exclusive to Android because they do something Apple simply wouldn’t allow.
These apps let you hack your smartphone’s LED lights for custom notifications, record your screen, and even earn free credit to buy more apps.
Just remember not to brag too much to your friends who have iPhones.
If you need to record what's happening on your phone screen, you're not going to be able to on an iPhone. ADV Screen Recorder works to let you capture your phone screen to store for later use, and doesn't require any rooting.
Google Opinion Rewards is simple: you answer some consumer surveys from Google, you earn credits for the Google Play store. You get a notification when a survey is ready, and you can get up to $1.00 just for filling it out.
If you are ever in a situation where reading your notifications might be annoying or dangerous, Audify will read them aloud to you. The app works by speaking your notifications through a connected speak or (wireless or wired) headset. The thinking is that when you have a headset in, it's probably not a time when you want to be fumbling around for your phone (let's say when you are in the car).
AppLock Face/Voice Recognition is an interesting app that lets you use your face and voice to unlock your phone and access locked apps. You can decide which apps to lock and unlock using this method, and there's even a nifty 'liveness' feature that requires you to move your face to protect against people tricking the system with photos.
Sometimes malicious apps make their way into the Google Play app store, and this comprehensive antivirus app will keep you protected. It scans for and removes viruses, includes antitheft tracking, lets you lock specific apps with a PIN, and even lets you remotely snap a picture and record audio if anyone steals your phone.
If your phone has an LED light for notifications, Light Flow will let you assign a custom colour for when you receive a text, email, phone call, calendar reminder, or even when you're running low on battery.
Apple removed the Wikileaks app from the App Store, but you can download a version of the app on Google Play. (Just a heads up, it hasn't been updated in years though.) The app lets you browse and dive into Wikileaks' treasure trove of leaked documents.
Lux lets you tweak your phone's brightness settings. You can lower the screen's brightness below the default zero when reading at night, and there's Night Mode, which can be turned on automatically at sunset.
Mighty Text allows you to send and receive SMS text messages with your computer or tablet, which is great when you're in work mode and can't glance at your phone. It also works from within Gmail.
Cerberus does a lot more than just let you track your stolen device. You can control it remotely using the website or via text message, sound an alarm even in silent mode, wipe everything, lock the device with a code, record audio from the mic, see a list of sent and received calls, and even hide the Cerberus app so the thief doesn't notice it.
Price: Free trial
HoverChat is a messaging app that lets you continue your conversations even while you're using another app or watching a movie. By resizing and deciding how transparent you want the messaging window to be, you can customise your messaging to fit what you're up to.
Cover removes the hassle of searching through pages of apps to find what you're looking for. Cover senses whether you're at home, work, or driving and puts the apps you use most during those times right on your lock screen.
Locale is an automation app, meaning you can customise how your phone behaves based on where you are, who calls you, what your battery life is, the orientation of your phone, or the time. For example, you can set it up so you silence your phone by turning it over, or so that it turns down the brightness automatically when your battery life hits 20%.
With over 200 built-in actions, Tasker is another great app for deciding what your phone will do when a certain 'action' occurs. You can create custom actions based on the app, time, day, location, event, widget, or shortcut, and there's even a built-in platform for creating and selling your own app.
UCCW allows you to design your own widget for your home screen. You simply choose from one of the many skins to create your own look. Then you can choose what the widget displays, with options for text, images, weather, clocks, calendar, battery info, missed calls, Gmail, and more.
Unclouded is a great tool that lets you manage all of your cloud drives in one place. If you've signed up for the free storage on a bunch of services, it can be a pain to constantly manoeuvre between them. And Unclouded lets explore clean your accounts on services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, and Mega.
Drupe is all about bringing your contacts into one place. This app lets you first look at 'who' you want to contact, then decide 'how,' and not the other way around. When you select your contact, you can call them, text them, Facebook message them, WhatsApp message them -- whatever way you want.
Solid Explorer is one of the best file explorers out there. A file explorer is an app that lets you access files stored on your phone's SD card the same way you would on a computer. So if you transfer a video directly from your computer to your phone, a file explorer helps you find that video. And Solid Explorer integrates with cloud services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, Mega, and Owncloud.
Additional reporting by Steven Tweedie and Lisa Eadicicco.
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