In the current tale of two phones, I’m firmly in the Android camp and after over a decade of using this phone system, there are some apps I always install on the phone.

While I’m suggesting these applications from the perspective of a Mobile Phone, I also use some of them on my Chromebook, so I’ve also noted if the app works well on ChromeOS and uses the new scaling feature well

NZB360 – Paid

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kevinforeman.nzb360

If you know what Sonar, Radarr and Sabnzbd are used for then this is a handy app for you linking to the API of each of these as well as your preferred torrent or indexer.

The app provides the ability to completely control your media acquisition system from your phone from searching for the files, to controlling what you down this is not just a viewer the app provides total control over these servers from a nice central location.

The app is updated regularly and there is a cost associated with it for all the features. It’s far easier than trying to manage these services from your phone’s web browser.

Works on ChromeOS

Scales well on ChromeOS

Protonmail – Paid

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=protonmail

While it might be over 40 years old, email is very much still the default communication method for so many things. There are so so so many Mail apps for Android providing the ability to connect to many many different mail services.

Protonmail is a mail service which asks you to host your mail with them because it’s encrypted. Based in Switzerland and associated with CERN, these guys take security seriously like really seriously. Mail is encrypted on the server, you can associate certificates with mails, there’s a really simple easy to use mail wrapper where you provide the remote person with a password/passphrase and when you send them the email they will get directed to an HTTPS proton page, they can enter the provided password/passphrase and after a set amount of time, the mail is deleted.

If you use mail and don’t want Google, Amazon etc mining it for data, maybe a move to Protonmail is worth a look.

Works on ChromeOS

Scales well on ChromeOS

Solid Explorer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pl.solidexplorer2

I’ve used just about every file manager app on Android over the years and keep coming back to Solid Explorer. Not only is it a local file explore tool providing you with the ability to see the files on your device in the various folders you can’t usually see there are connections to most other remote services like S3 buckets, SFTP/SSH, Dropbox, Nextcloud and many more.

The Interface is highly touch-friendly with a swipe right swipe left interface to copy and paste things between folders on the phone or a 2-panel interface on a bigger screen.

With added Bookmarks, the ability to run background sessions and even (although I’ve never used it) a built-in FTP server to make your device something you could quickly transfer files to over the internet.. This is a well-thought-out app with regular updates and a good community of users behind it.

Works on ChromeOS

Scales well on ChromeOS

Termius – Paid

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.server.auditor.ssh.client

I’ve blogged about this app so many times you’d think I had shares or was being paid by them (I don’t on either count)

This is the best portable SSH client I’ve found bar none, totally cross-platform with certificates and login details that travel with the platform you’re using it on. What does this mean? If you add an ssh connection to a device on the Mac or Linux desktop version of the software. When you open the Android version 1 minute later the new SSH Host will appear with all the creeds and certs in place ready to use.

This data is held securely and transmitted securely.

If you manage servers and need remote connectivity to the command line this is the best way to do that even more so if you use different platforms. Termius also supports mosh and telnet. The app can be fingerprint/pin access protected and if you don’t want to use Solid Explorer there is a build-in SFTP client with the application.

Updates come regularly with bug fixes and feature enhancements.

Works on ChromeOS

Scales well on ChromeOS

FlickFolio – Paid

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.snapwood.flickfolio

One of the oldest photo gallery platforms out there is Flickr, and it does have its own Android App, I feel however it just doesn’t get any love. So after many years recently just moved my own photos back to Flickr I was looking for a better mobile experience to upload and view my photos.

Out of the box, this is what this app does, and this is something it does well. Google photos is a first-class app and will take multiple selected images and post them to flicker with names, tags, data and other metadata.

If this was all it did it would not be on this list. However, it also has some great slideshow features, which can be cast to Chromecast. This can be done after a recent update at 6k on 6k screens.

This is one of those photo apps that do what you need it to so well, then you find out some of the other features and they become useful and you start using it. It’s stable and is updated occasionally.

It’s far better than Flickr’s native app and looks a lot better as well.

Works on ChromeOS

I’d recommend just using the browser.

Bundled Notes – Paid

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=bundlednotes

Todo apps on Android, 2 a penny covering so so many ways of taking notes, just in time, just do it and all the other methods of getting things done. Note-taking apps are the same.

So why do I like Bundled Notes?

It will create me notes grouped on the type of node I want, be it raw, lists or formatted however it also has a little for me, the killer feature is that it has an option for creating a Trello-like Kanban board as well.

As another of those multi-platform applications that work across web browsers or apps Bundled Notes helps me manage my work tasks, home to-do lists, and blog post ideas in a way I’ve not found another app to help with this workflow.

It’s not going to replace Evernote for me as a searchable document repository, however, it has replaced Google Keep as my default not taking app.

Works on ChromeOS

I’d recommend just using the browser.

Beeper– Paid/Beta

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=beeper

I’ve recently had my ask for a beta account for this app approved and wrote an article covering it and what it does on this site.

This is the future of chat on the mobile aggregating multiple chat platforms into a single user interface. Not needing to run What’s app, Signal, Linkedin Chat and other applications on your phone and having all the chats come into this central Matrix-powered application

As a big fan of pulling in feeds into a single app while I know this is a relatively new app compared to the others on this list even in this beta stage, I know it’s one I can’t live without.

Having all the chat feeds in a single spot changes how I use chat, and yes the app does have some sharp corners which need sanding down at this stage it’s highly usable for my needs.

Getting an invite however takes a while I waited over 12 months, and many have waited longer. Now I’m using it, I’m glad I did as I think this method reduces the number of bugs as the userbase increases and it is very sensible.

Works on ChromeOS

I’m working out if the Linux or Android app works better, the Linux appimage has no Desktop Icon

Lookout – Paid

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lookout

I once sat in Copenhagen Airport with my tablet, got a call for the plane, got up, flew back home and then realised I had lost the tablet.

Google’s Find my phone didn’t work but Lookout told me that the tablet was in the lost and found at the airport.

To be on the safe side I then used the Lookout features to blat the device and shut it down…

This is the main Lookout feature and having had this happen a few times over the years since It’s been a godsend, especially with phones.

As well to this feature the App is about securing your device so it will scan apps against known exploits, regularly scan and when installing, it provides a VPN to protect you on Wifi that you don’t trust and lets you know if there have been any data leakages on the backend services which feed the apps you use.

Lookout is there to sit in the background and keep you safe.

Works with ChromeOS

Scales well on ChromeOS

Paletta

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pifox.app.imagecoloreditor

Paletta is the app which makes creating those beautiful colour pop photos easy. There are a lot of apps on the Play store which does this, some better than others.

What makes Paletta stand out is the ability to not need to use your figure to carefully reveal those small areas. Instead, choose a colour from a palette and the app will identify that primary colour on the photo and reveal it automatically.

This is another great example of a well thought out app that does one thing and does it very well.

This app installs on my Chromebook but really doesn’t work well

Tailscale

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tailscale.ipn

If you don’t know what Tailscale is head over to my blog post on the subject and the company’s website.

OK, so you’ve read those and you get that you can use it to create a mesh network over cloud providers, and different physical and network locations. In most cases removing the need for complex routed networks.

Tailscale works on just about every platform out there including Windows, Mac, Linux and with this handy Android app your phone can also join in on all the fun and provide your mobile device with access to services on the Tailscale network.

As an example, the SSH on my servers is locked to only working via Tailscale.

Works well with ChromeOS

Scales well with ChromeOS

Thoughts

I use far more apps on my phone than this, these however stood out as good examples of apps I use a lot. What are your goto apps?

By davidfield

Tech Entusiast