While Android Market has an ever-growing catalogue of both free and paid-for apps for customising your smartphone, Google, unlike Apple, doesn't examine each and every one for security concerns. See also Group test: what's the best Android phone.
It pays to be careful in choosing which apps you download to your handset - and you should certainly have some security software, such as Lookout Mobile Security, in place.
Sometimes the best way to stay safe is to follow the crowd. While there are no cast-iron guarantees, consulting the various app charts published by Android Market, as well as the user reviews listed for each app, enables safety by numbers.
Here, we look at five interesting apps that are trending on Android Market right now.
There's already a Craigslist app available at Android Market for finding, buying and selling locally, but EggDrop has recently been garnering praise from all angles as 'the smarter neighbourhood marketplace'. This hassle-free mobile app is said to "match local buyers and sellers to cash in on Egganomics - the art and science of saving and making money from your mobile device". EggDrop lets you take a picture on your smartphone and list it online, then share your listing with Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist. You can browse and search for items by location, and the app supports real-time messaging. See Best Android Apps.
Ninja Chicken, the game about a 'funky chicken who thought he was a ninja', has been trending on Android Market for a while now, and yet it's still toward the top of Google's list. In brief, it's a simple game, with cute graphics, in which you must collect items and avoid obstacles. Ninja Chicken must endure 30 challenging levels to prove his powers. The controls are simple, but the fun keeps on coming. See Best iPhone apps.
Sick of seeing the great photos your friends have taken with the various apps available for iPhone? In part wanting to beat them at their own game, and also spurred on by our recent Lomo photography workshop, we stumbled across Lomo Camera. This free app adds six filters to your camera's arsenal: Lomo, Rusty, Polaroid, Paper, Dreams and Film. Well, it's worth a shot.
Here at PC Advisor, we can be a bit fussy over our choice of web browser. We fell in love with Firefox long ago and, although our head has since been turned by Chrome, Mozilla's web tool remains a firm favourite. Firefox Beta is still in development, with Mozilla requesting your feedback. Even in its current form, though, you can still enjoy Sync, Add-ons and the Awesome Screen - and you'll be first in line to play with new features, too.
Fingerprint Security Lock
Continuing our advice on Android security is Fingerprint Security Lock. This free app places a fingerprint scanner on your phone's lock screen, preventing others from gaining unauthorised access to your pictures, messages and other personal data stored within. Fingerprint Security Lock could have some of your friends baffled for, well, minutes, as they try to break in. Just make sure you tell them that the app simply counts how many times your finger is scanned, rather than recording the fingerprint itself, before they go looking for a kitchen knife in frustration. In reality, though, while this is a fun free app, your phone will be more secure using Android's own password protection.
**UPDATE: PC Advisor contacted the developer of Fingerprint Security Lock regarding some of the permissions it required, but never received a response. The app has now been removed from Android Market. However, several alternatives are available.**