Gene's List of Android Apps that Don't Suck

Recently I've gotten interested in Android. One thing I have found out is that almost every Android app sucks big time. Not only are they pointless (Why do you want an app that makes a bunch of different fart sounds, or one that just connects you to Facebook when you can do that already with a browser?) but actually fail to function at even a minimal level of competence. However, I am slowly accumulating a list of Android apps that not only don't suck, but might even be useful. I am posting them here in case it will help other people avoid wasting as much time as I have in looking for them. They are listed below in no particular order.

While I am ranting, I just want to say that one of the things that goes into my assessment of whether an app does or does not suck is whether the developer makes it available outside of the Google Android Market. Android devices can install apps downloaded from anywhere, but Google has set up a system where end users and developers alike are conditioned to think that Google is the source of all goodness and light. Why does it have to be this way? (Maybe there is more than one "Evil Empire" now.) Well, I have to say that I was able to install each of the apps below without going through Google Market (which my device, not having been blessed by Google, doesn't support), but in many cases it is a struggle to figure out how to do it. One site that I have found useful when all else fails is GetJar although they seem to have their own mysterious agenda.

Adobe Reader

Well, actually I'm not certain that this doesn't suck, but for now it is the best alternative I have found. Works for reading PDF files on your Android device. Lacks options, and I haven't understood yet what gesture it is that is causing the zoom level to change while I am reading. But, better than nothing.


A nice app that can transfer files to your device using SFTP. It is apparently possible to purchase a "Pro" version that can sync folders, but the developers sure don't make it easy to drop them the cash.


A terminal emulator that speaks SSH and allows you to connect to other systems on the Internet. Oh, it also lets you get a command shell on your own device, so if you get tired of tapping and swiping you can go old-school.

Dolphin Browser Mini

Way better than the default browser. Now, if only there were a way to make the system apps disappear...

I got this from "AppsLib", which is the app market that was installed on my device. I don't have a non-market link available at the moment, but at least I didn't have to get it through Google. It is widely available, so if you look for it using whatever app market your device has you will probably find it.


I wrote it. What else can I say?

Hacker's Keyboard

Wow! An on-screen keyboard with a familiar layout that I can actually type on. Maybe not so good for phones, but just fine for a 7" tablet. I am now using it as the default input method, because you don't have to keep switching screens to go between alphabetic, numeric, and symbols. A must with ConnectBot, because when you try to log in to your home base you are going to find out very quickly that the default Android keyboard can't generate weird stuff like TAB and ESC, not to mention control characters.

K-9 Mail

A full-featured mail client with lots of options. Hey, the default Android mail client doesn't even let you save an attachment to the SDCard.

That's it for now. I have other apps that I am using, but I am not yet ready to say that they don't suck.

Eugene W. Stark