Google Play is one of the key reasons why Android has been a grand success in the smartphone market. This store hosts more than 1.3 million applications or apps of every kind, but how does a first time Android user select an app from such a vast range?
Each app is unique in nature and serves its purpose, but the real catch is how well suited it is for you and your device.
This article showcases some of the best apps in Open source that can be suitable for your daily needs.
- Device compatibility
- Resource consumption (such as memory, CPU, data, etc)
- Data protection
- Performance ratings
All the open source apps mentioned here are available at Google Play as well as F-Droid.
Mozilla Firefox has been the best open source browser for years. The mobile version of Mozilla Firefox comes with a sleek interface, which enables the user to switch through various options such as recent tabs, history, top sites, bookmarks, etc.
Although there are many features and add-ons available for Firefox, Id like to mention just two of the most outstanding.
The Reading List add-on enables you to save Web pages for offline reading.
The Save as PDF add-on enables you to convert the Web pages to the PDF without much hassle.
Telegram was originally launched in 2013, but it soon became a popular instant messenger (IM) for Android. At present, there are more than 35 million users of Telegram worldwide.
Telegram is based on the cloud platform and is aimed at speed and security.
While there are plenty of other IM clients for Android, what makes Telegram really stand out from the rest of the apps out there, are the following:
- It is open source
- Secret chats
- Self-destructing messages
- Group with a maximum capacity of 200 members can be created
- Support for almost every file format
Most of the email clients that come by default in Android devices are sufficient for personal use, but if youre looking for an option to address your business needs and you receive a lot of mail, then it is worth taking a look at K-9.
It can support multiple accounts and each can be configured by you based on your needs. K-9 Mail can connect to Web servers using all popular protocols such as POP3, IMAP and WebDAV.
Another important feature is that you can encrypt and decrypt mail using Open PGP and APG methods.
GNU Cash helps you to track your personal finances. It acts as a companion to the GNU Cash desktop client. So, you can import your accounts and transactions from your desktop client to your mobile app. But you cannot synchronise the desktop client with the mobile client.
Some of the features of GNU Cash are:
- Creates multiple accounts and transactions
- Double-entry accounting with support for multiple splits
- Nested account hierarchy
- Exports the transactions in OFX (Open Financial Exchange) and QIF (Quick Interchange Format) formats
- Saves your transactions in Google Drive, Sky Drive, Dropbox, etc
VLC Player is the open source media player for Android, which is capable of playing audio and video files. The app automatically scans all the files in your device so youre set to play your media files.
You can easily switch between the audio and video players by using the side bar. The app also remembers the position at which the video file last stopped and resumes playing from that point onwards.
VLC Player has emerged from the beta stage and has released its first stable version 1.0.0.
Tinfoil for Facebook
It is pretty well known that Facebook tracks users via cookies, but most of us are still compelled to this social networking platform because many of our friends and colleagues use it and we cannot sever all communications with the outside world. But if you are concerned about your privacy, Tinfoil for Facebook protects you by using a wrapper.
This app uses the mobile view protected by a wrapper, which prevents the mobile site from accessing online activity. The app provides various options such as allowing you to check and open links inside the app instead of an external browser, blocking all the images.
Tinfoil for Facebook doesnt consume much battery power and is low on data consumption.
The Duck Duck Go search widget
As you are aware, Google searches are not secure and your search history is made available to some private corporations for profit. So if you want complete privacy on your searches, then Duck Duck Go is the best choice for you.
Duck Duck Go enables you to search the Web anonymously. Below the search field, theres a stream of interesting content that is collected from various sources such as Reddit, Quora, BBC, Ars Technica, etc. You also get to choose the sources as they are provided in the app under various categories.
Since the sole purpose of the Duck Duck Go app is to provide anonymity for your searches, you can increase your anonymity by integrating the app with Orbot.
The search results can be modified by changing the Region Setting to a country of your choice, so that you may get the search results with respect to that country.
Orbot is the TOR anonymity client for Android, which protects you from network surveillance. Orbot works both in rooted and non-rooted devices.
If your device is not rooted and you do not have super user access, then you can use other apps that work with Orbot to secure your privacy. Merely installing Orbot doesnt guarantee privacy, though.
Some of the other apps that work with Orbot are:
- Chat Secure
- Duck Duck Go
- Mozilla Firefox
When you are done with configuration, you are now ready to run the app. There is an icon of an onion on the notification area to indicate that Orbot is running.
You can check if Orbot is properly configured by using the Check browseroption. If your device is successfully configured, a Web page will show that the browser is configured to use TOR.
OSMAND~ is the acronym for OSM Automated Navigation Directions, which is an Android app for offline map and navigation purposes. OSMAND~ relies on OSM (Open Street Mapa huge collection of offline maps that was contributed by users around the globe) for data.
To begin, you need to download the maps according to your preference. These maps often get updated so you can have more precise details about your location. All these maps are stored in the memory card for offline use.
OSMAND~ provides turn-by-turn voice guidance, optional lane guidance, street name display and estimated time of arrival.
Note Cipher is a simple note-taking app that employs the industry standard 256-bit AES encryption.
After installing the app, you will be asked for your password, which once set cannot be changed.
Once the app is unlocked, it will show the unlocked icon on the notification, but it will be automatically locked if the app is idle for a few minutes. It will never store data in an unencrypted state.
You can share your notes with others just by clicking the Share icon on the interface.
The author is deeply interested in Linux and he spends most of his leisure time
exploring open source.