Android Smartphone AppsEven though our Android smartphones and tablets are very much tools of distraction, thanks to games like Super Stickman Golf and Bad Piggies, they can also be incredibly valuable tools for helping us get things done. And when you utilize the right set of apps, you can get things done smarter, more effectively, and more quickly.

Whether you use your Android device to organize your personal life, your professional life, or just your digital life, these five free Android apps should help to make your life that much easier. I personally use all five of these on a near-daily basis.

HootSuite

HootSuite for Android

HootSuite for Android

Download from the Google Play Store

We’ve written about HootSuite before, but it’s very much worth revisiting. You can waste a lot of time switching between your various social media apps, like Facebook and Twitter, just so that you can keep up with the rest of the world. When you use HootSuite, everything is neatly organized into a single app. It supports multiple accounts across multiple social networks, letting you sift through your Twitter lists, schedule updates into the future, and preview linked images and webpages without leaving the client.

Better still, it all syncs up with its browser-based equivalent, so anything that you do from the comfort of your computer is automatically applied and saved to the cloud. This way, your experience between your desk and your smartphone is positively seamless.

X-plore File Manager

X-plore File Manager Android App

X-plore File Manager Android App

Download from the Google Play Store

For better or for worse, there’s no true native file browser or file manager in Android. You need to rely on third-party apps, but you don’t have to root your Android device to get that kind of root access. One of the best file managers I’ve found is X-plore.

It’s particularly handy on tablets, because the user interface shows two panes side-by-side. This way, you can navigate to one folder in one pane, another folder in another pane, and then simply choose the files to copy between the two. This is true for files stored in the internal memory, as well as cloud storage, external memory cards and more. As far as free Android apps go, this is probably one of the most useful.

GTasks: To Do List

GTasks Google Tasks App

GTasks Google Tasks App

Download from the Google Play Store

I use Google for a lot of things that I do online and that includes my to-do list. Yes, there are other to-do list apps out there like Remember the Milk, but I find that the simplicity of Google Tasks is all I need. Strangely, though, Google doesn’t have an Android app for tasks.

GTasks is a great third-party alternative. It’s not the most complex or robust of the free Android apps, but it gets the job done. You can see your multiple to-do lists, add and remove items, and–in the case of a tablet–see a list and a highlighted item at the same time. It synchronizes with your Google account and there are even several homescreen widgets you use.

Dropbox

Dropbox on Android Tablet

Dropbox on Android Tablet

Download from the Google Play Store

Saving things to the cloud is easy and efficient. I’ve tried using alternatives like Google Drive, but I keep coming back to Dropbox because it just works. The folder structure is easy to understand, you can share files and folders with other users, and the whole things synchronizes seamlessly. It also helps that you can set it up so that every photo you take with your Android device is uploaded to the “Camera Uploads” folder in your Dropbox too. Just make sure that you set up 2-step verification to be safe and secure.

AirDroid

AirDroid Wireless Android Device Manager

AirDroid Wireless Android Device Manager

Download from the Google Play Store

As far as mobile devices have come, it’s still easier and more efficient to get things done on a more conventional computer. What if you could take over your Android smartphone or tablet and control it from your PC? AirDroid lets you do that from Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. This includes file management, to be sure, as well as the ability to send and receive text messages, search contacts, check call logs, customize ringtones, play music, and backup apps, among other functions. This is very robust and it all happens over a Wi-Fi connection.

Image credit: beyondtherhetoric / Flickr

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