16 Must-Have, Free Productivity Apps for Android
With hundreds of millions of global users, Android is now the largest installed base of any mobile platform and it’s growing rapidly. As part of our quest for the best mobile productivity apps, we have scoured Google Play in search for the true gems. Here are 16 of the most useful and intuitive productivity apps for Android. They are all free but some have paid upgrade options as well. It’s time to roll up your sleeves…
Calendar & Note Apps
With its clear and elegant user interface, aCalendar does what it says on the tin and looks good doing it. The app offers three views that can be switched by swiping. But don’t be misled by its simplicity! aCalendar’s feature list is impressive and includes 48 colors per calendar, duplicate events, full screen widgets and a lot more. The app is energy efficient and uses Android’s native calendar backend synchronization.
There’s an optional paid upgrade to aCalendar+ with more features like: A month widget, text & file sharing and helping protect the habitat of the endangered Mountain Tapir.
Appreciated for its professional feel, ease of use and reliability, Business Calendar Free is considered by many Android users the best calendar app out there. It resembles Google’s stock calendar app which makes it easy to master. Syncing with your Google calendar is flawless and the interface can easily accommodate multiple calendars. Other features include search, smooth scroll, zoomable multi day view and quick day overview when adding a new event. A recent user interface update has made Business Calendar Free faster and smoother than ever.
There’s an optional paid upgrade to Business Calendar with more features like: An option to link a contact to an event and the option to create templates for events.
The intuitive and creative souls amongst you will love this app! FreeNote can rapidly become a handy tool in your daily workflow if you can do without features like multiple device sync. FreeNote’s innovative hybrid model that combines handwriting and keyboard is what sets it apart. But there’s more: Whether you want to record your voice, caption photos, videos or text – FreeNote does it all. The app even comes with a built-in calendar, an alarm clock and a to-do list to keep you organized. FreeNote is highly customizable and easy to use. And it keeps getting better.
This is an evaluation edition with a ‘nagware’ that will pop up every 10 days, asking for a donation. There’s an option to remove it (see FreeNote on Google Play for details) or to upgrade for the paid version: FreeNote+.
Unfortunately, even the best calendar apps don’t support Google Tasks integration. Therefore, if you rely on Google Tasks, you are prone to use a separate app. Although Tasks Free is not feature rich, it is by far the best when it comes to syncing with Google Tasks and its user interface looks great on most devices. The app also offers widgets, multiple Google accounts and more.
This version is ad supported. There’s an optional upgrade to a paid, ad free version.
Practical Information & Phone Management
Do you need to schedule a conference call with colleagues in NYC, Berlin and Sidney?
Or call your mum back home to tell her you’ve just landed in Bangkok (without waking her up)?
Clocks around the World is a nifty little app that shows you the time in different parts of the world. The app is easy to use and the graphics are simple and beautiful. Unlike many other world clock apps, Clocks around the World won’t drain your battery nor will it require any permissions. The app is ad free and, according to its developers, will always remain so. It includes a database of about 21,000 cities with historic and translated names for large cities. Analog clocks with smooth second hand movement are displayed alongside digital time and date in the particular time zone. Another cool feature is Time Sliders which makes finding good calling times a breeze.
Whether you’re a freelancer, a business owner or simply need a better way to manage your projects, Timesheet can improve your work life. One of the best mobile time trackers you can find, Timesheet is only getting better after each update. It is a simple, flawless time tracking app, with great design and a clean, user friendly interface. It allows you to record your time with a simple push of a button and easily add breaks, expenses and notes. The app offers advanced features, including: Assigning tasks to projects, adding tags, exporting tasks to Excel and Dropbox integration. Timesheet is one of those apps that has some users ask: “Is this app really free?”
Our mobile phones keep getting smarter, but some functions are still complicated to perform: Killing tasks or backing up files, for example. That’s where ES File Explorer comes into play. It is a full featured file and application manager. Just like a virtual Swiss Army Knife, ES File Explorer functions as all of these apps in one: It is a file manager, an application manager, a task killer, a cloud storage client (compatible with Dropbox, Google Drive and more services), an FTP client and a Samba client. ES File Explorer helps you manage your resources, access your files and share them with others. With over 100 million downloads, ES File Explorer is rated one of the best resource management tools on Android, and it keeps getting better. The app is simple, fast and makes it easy to sync between devices. It supports 31 languages, including English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.
If you’re flushing your phone or upgrading to a new one, restoring all your apps can be a real headache. Downloading all of your apps again from Google Play can be time consuming, and what if your app is no longer available for download?
That’s where App Backup & Restore shines. This simple app makes back upping and restoring Android apps a breeze. You can back up your apps to an SD card or to Dropbox, batch backup, multi version backup, auto backup on install and easily restore your apps. You can also send APK installer files to your friends by email. Please be mindful that the app only backs up the installer APK files of apps, not the app data!
When turned on, 3G, 4G, WiFi and other components in your phone are known as battery drainers, even when not in use. JuiceDefender comes to the rescue by managing your power and helping you extend the battery life of your Android device. It allows complete customization through a clean and intuitive user interface. Once configured, it runs by itself as a background app. JuiceDefender integrates seamlessly with power control widgets and shortcuts and won’t interfere with manual settings. It has many features like: Home screen battery widgets, CPU scaling when phone is idle, smart brightness control and more. Some users report doubling their battery life with this app, so give it a try!
Some of the aforementioned features require a paid upgrade to JuiceDefender Plus or Ultimate.
Control freaks, rejoice!
With Quick Access Info PRO you can always be in control of your Android device. This full featured monitoring app tells you everything you need to know about your device: Installed applications, CPU, memory, SD card, running processes, network states and more. Quick System Info PRO also provides a one-click application cache cleaner, an application history cleaner, an enhanced network connection & traffic viewer and more. The app is praised by users for being functional, smooth and easy to use while speeding up your phone. It does use quite a bit of memory though, so be prepared…
This version is ad supported. There’s an optional upgrade to a paid, ad free version.
As a smartphone or tablet owner you are in constant search for WiFi networks. At home, at work, in the café – getting the best signal is not as easy as before, with so many other WiFi users like you. WiFi Manager helps you find, connect and manage WiFi networks. A graphical channel radar discovers open networks around you and helps you improve connection quality. Three home screen widgets are included. They show detailed connection info, let you switch between your favorite networks with a single tap and toggle WiFi access points. The app graphics are now improved to include a dark color theme, and the developer is responsive to users’ feedback.
Some additional features require the purchase of the $1.75 premium package.
With so many internet services that require passwords, playing it safe online is becoming harder and harder. Using the same password for all services is not recommended. Memorizing long ASCII character strings is not practical either. So what do you do?
Universal Password Manager (UPM) is one of your best options when it comes to managing your passwords online. It allows you to store all your usernames, passwords, URLs and notes in an AES encrypted database by one master password. What sets UPM apart from other open source managers is its simplicity, cross platform (it runs on Android, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux but not on iOS) and easy database syncing across several PCs/devices. UPM is fast, lean and streamlined for power keyboard users. Just don’t forget to back up your database regularly on your SD card and save the file off your phone as well, just in case your phone breaks or gets lost. Unfortunately, UPM doesn’t do it automatically yet.
Documents & Administration
“Free? You gotta be kidding! It’s awesome”
(a typical feedback from a Kingston Office user).
That’s what happens when you create a top notch app and give it away for free. Kingston Office is the only full featured free mobile Office out there. And judging by users’ feedback it outperforms other paid Office apps! Kingston Office is user friendly and has a nice user interface. It has rich editing features and support for 23 kinds of files, including: DOC, DOCX, TXT, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX & PDF. A variety of gesture operations are included and there’s tight integration with the mail application. All major cloud storages are supported, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Box.net and others. With too many more features to mention here, Kingsoft Office is the closest you can get to a desktop Office experience, on-the-go, and it keeps getting better! International users can opt for Kingsoft Office 4.9 (Multi-Lan).
All Android devices come with a stock keyboard. But if you’re not happy with your default keyboard, there are various alternative keyboards to choose from. One of the most promising options is Kii Keyboard. Still in beta, this simple yet multi featured keyboard already reaps users’ acclaims. Although some key functionalities, like auto-correct, are still missing, Kii Keyboard has an impressive feature list: Accurate and smart keyboard predictions, gesture keyboard control, font & color customization and a lot more. The keyboard supports 34 languages (download the dictionaries you need from Google Play), including most European languages, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Kii Keyboard is truly multi touch, works fast and keeps getting better.
Whether you’re a college student, a writer or a reporter, carrying a tape recorder around can be a chore. Batteries and tapes run out, or worse yet – you forget the recorder at home! With Easy voice Recorder your worries are over. This fun, intuitive audio & voice recorder can be used to record meetings, lectures and personal notes, without time limit. You can record lossless WAVE files or various types of MP3 files. Sharing is really simple and you can turn the recording into a ringtone and easily transfer the file to your computer. The sound quality is as high as your device permits and the one touch widget makes recording quick and practical.
Easy Voice Recorder is ad supported. There’s an optional paid upgrade to Pro for additional features like: Bluetooth and stereo support.
You’ve just written this wonderful poem you want to hang on the fridge. Or maybe your spouse has emailed you a gorgeous photo of your 5-year-old you can’t wait to print out.
Whatever the case, Cloud Print will make your life much easier. This super handy app allows you to print files from your phone directly to your printer. It uses the new Google Cloud Print service which is easy to configure. Various file types are supported, including: PDF, JPG, JPEG, DOCX, ODS, XLS, XLSX, PPT, ODP, TXT, DOC & XPS. You can print webpages, SMS, mail and print from clipboard. Set-up is easy and printing is flawless.