There are literally thousands of apps available for Google Android, and they're not just available from the Android Market, Google's official app store. Those with a smartphone running Google Android can also head to independent app stores such as GetJar and Mobile Wever to peruse the software offerings for their phone. Here's our guide to some of the best Android apps available.

Social networks

Whether you're a Facebook member or prefer to head to Twitter to get your social fix from the web, we can almost guarantee there's an app for your favourite social network, making it much easier to navigate the site from your handset. The current giants, which also includes business-based network LinkedIn, along with smaller networks like Rendezvous have now been joined by Google+, the search engine's latest attempt at a social network, so if you're one of the web users that's been lucky enough to get an invite, then you can access the service form your phone.

Games

There are hundreds of games available for your Android smartphone through the Android Market. Whether you fancy Pirates and Traders, Soccer Superstars or even SpeedForge 3D, there'll certainly be something to suit you. But that's not the only source of games, try independent app stores including GetJar, which offer Android versions of massively popular iOS games such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope.

Music, video and photo

Virgin Media's TiVo TV-on-demand customers will love the company's Android app that lets them set programmes to record from their handset. The app, which can be downloaded for free from the Android Market now for devices running Google Android version 2.1 and above, also ensures users can see what's on over the next seven days. They can personalise the app by creating a list of their favourite channels to see what's on, without trawling through all of the listings. There's even a detailed synopsis for each show offering and the ability to share what you're watching with friends and family by text or email. Meanwhile, the Sky RemoteRecord app bring the same functionality to Sky viewers.

Fans of online catch-up TV service will love ITVPlayer for Android, which works on all devices running version 2.2 and above of the Google mobile platform and Adobe Air 2.6 or above. The app lets users stream as many shows that have already been broadcast on ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 as they like on their mobile device, but only when using a wireless connection. This means they won't be able to access TV shows when using their data connection. Similarly, the BBC iPlayer app for Android lets users watch and listen to TV and radio shows broadcast over the last seven days.

Meanwhile, if it's not watching TV but listening to music that floats your boat, there's plenty of music-streaming apps available in the Android app store. From giants such as Spotify and Napster less well-known services like We7. And if you own an Android phone and you are a subscriber to Sony's cloud-based Qriocity music service on the PlayStation and PC, you're in luck: Sony offers a dedicated Qriocity app for Android smartphones. Officially titled 'Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity', the app allows subscribers to Sony's cloud-based streaming music service full access to the Qriocity catalogue, which currently boasts over seven million licensed songs from major record labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music. Music video fans should check out the Vevo app, which allows users to stream music from their smartphone.
For photo fans, check out these five apps that will let you edit photos, share them and more, all from your mobile phone.

There are literally thousands of apps available for Google Android, and they're not just available from the Android Market, Google's official app store. Those with a smartphone running Google Android can also head to independent app stores such as GetJar and Mobile Wever to peruse the software offerings for their phone. Here's our guide to some of the best Android apps available.

Business

Apps for Android aren't just about fun either, there's also plenty to download if you're a business user. For a start, there's hundreds of apps designed to make you more efficient, such as Voice recognition software, which when put on a smartphone comes to life. All of the frustrations of trying to control your PC by voice - fiddling for a microphone, repeating yourself again and again, resisting the urge to relent and turn to your trusty keyboard - are eliminated when you use the same technology on your mobile phone. Here's seven of our favourite voice recognition apps for Android devices. Alternatively, the likes of Springpad – a free web-based productivity app that lets you clip web pages and create multimedia notes, shopping lists, to-do reminders and more, Google Docs for Android and Office Suite Pro are worth downloading.

As well as apps to make your more efficient, there's also plenty for working on the go. They can help you stay connected and keep your work streamlined, no matter where you are. These 12 apps will keep you moving and taking care of business.
Then there's utilities such as VoIP apps from the likes of Skype that will be handy for businesses. Furthermore, Cellcrypt has released an Android app that encrypts voice calls, addressing increasing concern that voice traffic over cellular networks could be intercepted with off-the-shelf equipment.
That's only the tip of the Iceberg, however, when it comes to business apps. Here's 40 apps that show that the Android platform can play a serious role in business, too.

If you're an IT Pro, such as a network administrator or tech support staffer that uses an Android smartphone, then you can also rejoice: There are hundreds of Android apps designed to help you get your work done faster, better and - best of all – remotely. Here's a roundup of 10 Android apps you'll find useful. At the same time why not check out this list of 10 apps that slice and dice the world of information in more personal or sophisticated ways, so that you're never at a loss when you absolutely have to know something right now.

If you're someone that wants to put your apps and your handset to good use, then why not consider a recent app released by the BBC. The UK 3G survey aims to map the 2G and 3G coverage across the UK by recording data on 3G network coverage from every device the app is installed on for over a month.

Finally, why not develop your own app with help from Google App Inventor, which comes with the ambitious goal of allowing anyone to create simple apps for their mobile phone.

Saving money

The UK may well be on the way out of the recession but that doesn't mean you should stop saving money. Following the news that O2 has launched the Priority Moments app that lets its customers find money saving deals and special offers nearby by using the handset's GPS to identify the user's location, here's five of the best Android apps that will help you save money .

There are literally thousands of apps available for Google Android, and they're not just available from the Android Market, Google's official app store. Those with a smartphone running Google Android can also head to independent app stores such as GetJar and Mobile Wever to peruse the software offerings for their phone. Here's our guide to some of the best Android apps available.

Travel

If it hasn't come pre-loaded on your phone, then Google Maps for mobile is worth downloading. The service now features public transport across London in the Get Directions option. The handset uses GPS to identify the users location. Once a destination has been entered, the map will offer the Tube and bus routes to complete the journey. Furthermore, those with a Google Android handset using the search engine's Navigation turn-by-turn direction service within Google Maps for Mobile will also be offered alerts as to when they need to get off a bus or tube during their journey. However, free satnav app Skobbler, which utilises OpenStreetMap (OSM) - a Wikipedia of free maps that's updated by around 250,000 users - and CoPilot are other apps offering turn-by-turn directions.

The official National Rail Train Times app may cost £2.99, but that's cash well spent if you travel on mainline trains across the UK a lot and want to get your hands on timetables as quickly as possible. We also had to mention TubeTap, an iPhone app that's coming soon to the Android Market. If you use the Tube and you're more than 15 minutes late, you are entitled to claim compensation from London Underground. However, many people don't know how long their journey is supposed to take in the first place, or can't be bothered to request and fill in the forms if they are delayed. The TubeTap app takes the hassle out of this as it will log your journey when you start it and finish and then if you're delayed, the app will submit a refund request to Transport for London automatically. A refund voucher is then sent directly to customer.

Security

There's been plenty of press surrounding malicious apps in the Android market that are designed to steal your personal data. So if you're worried about the security of your Android smartphone, then invest in a dedicated app. There's plenty to choose from, with the likes of BullGuard, AVG, Trend Micro, Symantec and Lookout Security all placing offerings in the Android Market. Some of which are free too.

Finally, if you haven't been exhausted by this list of Android apps, why not check out another round-up, this time in the form of our Essential Android apps feature. It's a selective list that doesn't feature giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google Maps, because if your phone didn't come preloaded with them you've probably already downloaded them. Instead, the apps we did choose to list are intended to expand the functionality of your smartphone and make tasks easier, faster, more secure, and even more fun. You may even discover a few items in this collection that you simply can't live without.

Meanwhile, this list of 10 free utilities no Android users should be without offers some alternatives.