We've seen a few clever translation apps in our time, but recently Google Translate has crushed them all. It now offers (sometimes clunky, word-for-word) translations of over 70 languages with input via text, handwritten words or symbols, spoken words or even text recognition via the camera. It can then give you the translation in the form of text or speak it for you.
The core app can do all this with a data connection, and language packs can be downloaded for free so you can use it abroad without the need for Wi-Fi or the fear of roaming data charges.
2. AUDIBLE FOR ANDROID
Audio books! A bit like radio shows that you actually want to listen to, a bit like podcasts before all the funny people stopped doing them, a bit like books being read to you (OK, mostly the latter), audio books are a treat to be savoured.
Amazon's Audible app is a gateway to its own audio book service, drawing you in with free tasters of some of its best sellers. It's worth downloading even if it's only for those free nibbles.
You've got Google Maps already and that's lovely. However, that relies on a data connection, which isn't always available even in your home nation and will sting you with ludicrous charges abroad. Navfree is based on an open-source map database and provides mapping and voice-guided sat-nav for no cash at all.
You can load it with paid extras if you like, but it's fine as it is. Download the local variant for any country you're visiting before you leave and you'll always have a map and a sat-nav tool at your hip.
4. ANY.DO TO-DO LIST & TASK LIST
We're all busy. Busy creating Stuff To Do lists and sticking them in our bags, on the front door, in our back pockets and tapping them into note apps on our phones. Any.do is the best way to keep on top of all those loose ends, thanks to its cloud syncing and sharing skills. You can have it running as a live widget on your homescreen and also separate your tasks into different folders.
With access to over 45,000 comics from DC, Marvel, Image Comics, IDW and Disney, the Comics app is the place to go for all things graphically novel. You get quite a few freebies to get you started, with more free titles released each week. Paid-for comics will typically set you back between £0.69 and £2.49. The app really comes alive on larger devices, where you can pore over the panels in a more leisurely manner than on a phone.
6. VLC FOR ANDROID BETA
Wouldn't it be lovely if there was one video format to rule them all, like MP3 is to music? Well, dream on... Until that day you'll be thankful for VLC, which aims to play every video format you'll ever encounter. If you like to source your movies from varied locations you'll find this one of the most useful apps on your phone or tablet. It's ad-free and doesn't try to harvest all your personal data either, which makes a nice change.
7. RUNKEEPER - GPS TRACK RUN WALK
If you're putting yourself through a fitness grind alone, this virtual back-patter will help spur you on. It tracks all your runs, walks and rides, then does the maths to tell you (and the entire world via social media) how many calories you've burnt, how far you've gone and generally how heroic you've been over the past week or so. The in-app purchase model keeps it all nice and tidy too, so even in the basic free format it's a very neat app to use.
As Android moves closer to home computer territory, syncing photos, music and work documents is increasingly important. As a free service, Dropbox offers 2GB of pleasingly simple online storage which is automatically synced whenever you log in from any of your devices – very useful for occassional file transfers, semi-permanent documents and shared folders. The Android app is nothing fancy but it doesn't need to be, getting the job done without fuss.
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