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PC Advisor's ultimate guide to the best Android apps

The apps you can't live without

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.

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