5 Essential Android Apps for Newbs

Here are the 5 apps that I install on Android as soon as I get a new handset or install a new ROM (OS). They are essential from the perspective of making my phone more functional, and more importantly ‘extra’ sexy. Click on any of the images to enjoy high res versions of the visuals.

1 Go Launcher/Contacts - replaces your stock launcher, makes the interface cleaner, adds amazing desktop transition animations, fully themeable. Dock icons are fully customizeable, follow the theme and can be swiped left and right. Managing widgets on multiple desktops and adding desktops is a breeze. Highlights new apps when they are installed. Go Contacts is a dialer replacement, that is more functional, cleaner, and has some amazing side swipe animations. [Market Link 1] [Market Link 2] [Free]

App Drawer

Locked Homescreen


Downloadable Launcher Themes


Dialer Replacement with Incremental Search

















2 Go Weather - adds a wide variety of amazing looking fully themeable widgets for weather junkies. Once you load the application, you get detailed views, including hourly forecast and a temperature trend. [Market Link] [Free]

Main Screen

hourly forecast


Temperature Trends








Downloadable Themes










3 Handcent SMS - replaces the stock Android or vendor modified SMS (text messaging) application. Makes it look sexy, work better, and will keep retrying your message sends when it can’t send a text (either due to airplane mode or lack of radio). [Market Link] [Free]

Hancent Contact Screen

Handcent Chat Window










4 Onavo - tracks your wireless data useage, shows you your profile, alerts you when an application is hogging data. Also allows you to restrict apps to wifi, or totally stop them from using data. It also scans your apps when they are installed to make sure they are bandwidth friendly. [Market Link] [Free]


Onavo Home Screen

Data Usage Graphs

Restrict to wifi or no data use



















5 Plume – made by the makers of beautiful widgets, this application makes twitter sexy on Android phones. By far the slickest and easiest to use Twitter client. Also has amazing widgets. Screenshots speak for themselves. [Market Link] [Fremium]


Plume Main Window

Plume Create Tweet









Other Twitter Functions










These 5 apps should make a huge difference in how you feel about your user interface experience in Android. Let me know what your experience is, or if you have apps you think should be added to the list!

3 thoughts on “5 Essential Android Apps for Newbs

  1. Hey Girish, I’m in total agreement, there are definitely more “interesting” apps out there. But from an “essential for newbs” standpoint, I don’t think you will find a better launcher than go Launcher Ex for instance, or a better SMS client than handcent. The idea here was to get people grounded and started with Android.

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