There are two types of Android users.
One type will leave all basic services as they were delivered with the phone, often not even deleting or disabling “bloatware” but simply banishing the built-in apps to the second screen of their phone.
The other type constantly looks for interesting apps to try, always tinkering with the settings, looking for updates, and on a quest to find the ultimate apps for Android devices. These people will try new dialers, new messaging apps, alternatives to popular services, and will always look for the app that does even just that one simple thing that makes a service more usable, more convenient. If a person of this type stays loyal to a certain app, it means that the app in question is truly great at what it does. The apps on their phones may not have tens of millions of downloads and millions in ad revenues but they are almost always stable and stood the test of time – like the ones below.
Email: Blue Mail
There is nothing wrong with the built-in email client in every Android phone – except for their capabilities. This is where Blue Mail comes in.
The first version of Blue Mail was released in 2015 – this June, it turns five years old. Since then, the app gathered just around five million downloads and more than 400,000 five-star ratings. According to AppBrain, it is in the top 100 productivity apps in several countries – mostly in Europe and Japan.
Blue Mail is a surprisingly capable email client available free of charge on Android 4.4+. Its feature set is extensive: it handles multiple email accounts on protocols ranging from POP3 and IMAP to Office 365 and ActiveSync, it can send group emails, it can group mails around topics, it can filter spam, and it can send smart push notifications to the phone’s notification area as well as Android Wear devices. And it comes with a built-in dark theme, too.
While some may think that RSS is a thing of the past, it is actually very much alive and well. Moreover, it is a far better way to keep up with a blog or news outlet than following it on social media – after all, the information and the updates come to you instantly, without being filtered by moderators or smart algorithms.
There are many feed readers that gained a lot of popularity after Google phased out Reader in 2013. Feedly is one of them – it has been a Google Reader competitor since 2011.
Feedly is a simple, no-nonsense RSS feed reader available on desktop (through a web browser) and smartphones.
Feedly is a simple, fast, and easy-to-use service. It’s an app where you can collect all your favourite news sources in one place, skim the headlines or dig deep into the news and updates, quickly dismiss the ones you’re not interested in or save them in your “Read Later” folder (or a shareable “Board” where you can access them across platforms or even computers.
Feedly underwent many changes over the years – and some of its users were not happy with them. To offer them a viable alternative, the Feedly Team released “Feedly Classic”, the older version of the app with all the beloved features from before.
AccuWeather is an American media company that’s been around since the 1960s – it is renowned for its precise forecasts and many proprietary features. AccuWeather provides weather services to Bloomberg Television, a series of American TV and radio broadcasters, and to a smartphone near you.
The AccuWeather Android app has been around for more than a decade – it was launched before 2010, and has been around ever since. It has more than 70 million downloads, more than 1.5 million five-star reviews, and is among the top 10 weather apps in much of the world (and among the top-grossing apps in the US and Canada).
AccuWeather comes with unique metrics like MinuteCast, forecast technology that gives users by-the-minute precipitation forecasts for the next two hours, highly-localized right down to a user’s exact GPS location, and RealFeel, a formula that takes into account a series of factors to tell how warm (or cold) it actually feels outside.
Locale is perhaps the oldest app in Google’s Play Store – it was launched in 2008, along with the Play Store itself. It is a paid app with more than 50,000 downloads to date.
It is a small, simple app that “just works”.
The function of the Locale app is simple: create location-dependent settings on your phone. For example, you can set it up to change the wallpaper, silence the ringer, turn on the WiFi on your phone as soon as you arrive at your workplace or silence your phone as soon as you enter a movie theatre, a church or a courtroom to prevent any accidental disruption.
The app has an updated version – Locale X – with new features and a brand new look that is more up-to-date.
There are thousands of apps submitted to the Play Store every single day – most of them are games but there are many that offer various services. Still, there are those few that stood the test of time, offering the right services for the right price – apps that even the most passionate tinkerers and early adopters hold on to for years.