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The 2014 New User’s Guide to Power Apps on Android

Around the holidays, a lot of people get new technology.  As the prices come down and availability goes up – it is more and more likely that some folks got their first Android device this very Christmas.  But just because they are new to Android doesn’t mean they are new to technology.

This article isn’t for the new casual user of Android.  We’re not going to list Flipbook here.  You’re not going to find Candy Crush Saga, Instagram, Netflix or HBO to Go on our list.  In fact, there will be no games listed here at all.

Instead, we’re going to take a look at the “power” apps for Android – presented for the first time or new Android user.  If things like FTP and RSS are foreign to you or you don’t know why you need a file manager on a phone – this article isn’t for you.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get on with the goods.  I’ll try to break this into logical chunks, but not all apps fall easily into a given category.  Note: While these are certainly my favorites, the list is by no means all inclusive.  But, it should give you a starting point.  Feel free to list your personal alternatives in the Comments section below.

Some apps may not be free, have pay versions and may require ROOT.

File Management

File management is the moving of files within your device, between devices and between internet providers (such as FTP and cloud sharing).

All In One


This does it all.  Dual pane file manager.  Direct access to network shares, cloud services (Dropbox, Google Drive and more), FTP – all in one interface.  Built in file editor/viewers (no extra downloads) and fast powerful searching are all presented in a single clean interface (with some ability to customize – including a dark theme).  For security nuts, you have SSH and FTPS available.  Truly an all in one solution; even does root access (if rooted, of course).



Great for all the security options and it can be used as an FTP intent for other applications that need FTP pushing available.

Remote Access


There are things this remote client will let you do that others will not.  It doesn’t appear to be supported anymore, but it is great at what it does.


The powerful free remote software.

Air Droid

Remote access your Android device from your web browser.  Powerful.

Video Playback

MX Player Pro

I’ve tested every single one – and this always shines out in front.


Use this for media files with odd audio codecs that MX Player Pro


Plex Media server official client.  Best way to get to your media remotely.



SAB server, NZB leecher, Sickbeard client, Headphones client, Couch Potato client all in one.

Moon Reader Pro

Access your Calibre book server directly.

Audio Playback

Subsonic / DSub

Access your music remotely and on your device.

Questionable Leeching

youTube Downloader

Power download youTube videos remotely.

System Level Stuff


(via F-Droid) Block ads everywhere on your phone

Startup Manager

Find out what is wedged in your start up script.


Mount OTG USB drives if your ROM doesn’t.

Folder Mount

Mount external drive folders as if they were internal.

Adobe Flash Player

Love it or hate it, you’ll probably end up needing it.


Get easy access to your Android log file.

Barcode Scanner

Lightweight barcode and QR reader.

Changelog Droid

At a glance view of all your recent app updates.

Disk Usage

Visual layout viewer of your storage space.

Fast Reboot

If your ROM doesn’t have a reboot of it’s own, use this.

Fast WiFi Tether

No root means of tethering to Verizon for free.

Game Controller 2 Touch

Map USB controllers to touch screen.

Google Authenticator

Use for Google two-step authentication.

Goo Manager

Install CWR/TWRP and custom ROMs.

MyApp Sharer

Easily extract and share an APK (app) installed on your device.

Titanium Backup

Ultimate backup tool for apps AND data.

USB OTG Helper

Mount OTG USB drives if your ROM doesn’t.


Moon Reader Pro

My personal favorite PDF and eBook reader.

Media Tracker

Catalog your games and movies easily with export to the web.

Photo Editor

Simple, easy and quick photo editing like crop, resize, etc.

Quick Office

Google’s Office replacement solution.


NFC tag reader/programmer



Programmer’s notepad.



Use it to get around Verizon’s IRC blocking for Freenet.



Popular swiping keyboard with speech recognition and cloud storage of dictionary.


Nova Launcher

Whcn the standard launcher sucks, this is it’s replacement.

News Consumption

Tiny Tiny RSS

You’ll need your own server to use this RSS reader, but it’s worth the set up.


About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

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