16. BBC Cbeebies Playtime
A lot of free apps for children are beset by confusing prompts for in-app purchases that can seriously hamper the fun. CBeebies Playtime is an ad-free lucky dip of educational games and activities for pre-school children, based on some of the channel's biggest shows and characters, including Mr Tumble, Tree Fu Tom, The Octanauts and real-life actual people such as Andy and Nina.
SoundCloud is great because it's not just the same old music rehashed in a new, futile money-making shell. It does hold a lot of full-length commercial tracks but it's the unique user-generated music that makes it special. That means DJ mixes, remixes, cover versions, live recordings and recitals, snippets, sounds and spoken word contibutions. If you want to listen beyond the sphere of Spotify, cock your ear this way.
More after the break...
18. Met office weather application
All UK weather forecasts are based on information and predictions from the Met Office, so why not get your forecast from the horse's mouth? This app doesn't go in for swanky visuals but does give it to you straight, with timeline breakdowns of the changing skies plus map-based predictions of advancing weather systems. If you're less of a weather geek, try the BBC Weather app for a prettier presentation of much the same stuff.
19. 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.
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.