All Things Appy: Top 5 Android OS Utilities

Battery managers, task killers, analyzers and monitoring apps make up the basis of a solid Android mobile tool kit.

This week’s All Things Appy takes a look at the must-have, free apps in this genre that will keep your device operating swimmingly.

About the Platform: Google’s Android OS apps can be obtained in Google’s Play Store. Browse to the Play Store — you’ll find it in the device’s app drawer. Then search for the app.

No. 1: Advanced Task Killer

Advanced Task Killer claims 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.5 stars out of a possible 5 from 438,256 reviewers.

ReChild’s app lets you kill runaway applications that are hogging resources and slowing down your device.

Advanced Task Killer

Open ATK and take a look at the list of apps; then uncheck the ones you don’t want and tap the Kill button. The result is instantly cleansed memory reminiscent of the Windows Task Manager in that OS.

No. 2: JuiceDefender

JuiceDefender claims 10,000,000 to 50,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.5 stars out of a possible 5 from 216,225 reviewers.

If you find your smartphone isn’t making it through the day on one charge, this app will let you manage major battery-depleting resources such as the screen and wireless radios.

Transparent preset modes give you a place to start, or you can customize the settings with aggressive optimization and scheduling, like turning off WiFi when battery thresholds are low, for example.

No. 3: 3G Watchdog

3G Watchdog claims 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.7 stars out of a possible 5 from 80.787 reviewers.

Monitor your mobile data usage with Richard Gruet’s app, which lets you see how you’re eating up your data plan. Simply set a quota for the period and the app tells you how many megabytes you’re using as the plan progresses.

A guestimate readout lets you project how much of your quota you will have used by the plan turnover date, too, allowing you to modify your habits — or comfortably buy more data before getting cut off or slowed down.

No. 4: Watchdog Task Manager Lite

Watchdog Task Manager Lite claims 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.5 stars out of a possible 5 from 35,411 reviewers.

Zomut’s Watchdog Task Manager Lite app is an intelligence-gathering task killer.

Unlike our No. 1 Advanced Task Killer, which is a simple and super-fast task killer, Watchdog Task Manager Lite monitors running apps and alerts you when one loses control and starts hogging memory. You can then decide whether to kill it.

This app is actually superior in features but more geeky and tricky to use.

Watchdog Task Manager Lite is unrelated to our No. 3 position app, 3G Watchdog.

No. 5: Storage Analyzer

Storage Analyzer claims 100,000 to 500,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.7 stars out of a possible 5 from 4,147 reviewers.

If you’ve been wondering what’s been using up all of your device storage, LeveloKment’s Storage Analyzer will tell you with a couple of commands.

This app analyzes all of your SD cards — of which there can be many — and other partitions, and then orders the content by size so that you can visualize rogue files occupying precious space. Simply delete the often benign file and free up that space.

Want to Suggest an Apps Collection?

Is there a batch of apps you’d like to suggest for review? Remember, they must all be for the same platform, and they must all be geared toward the same general purpose. Please send the names of five or more apps to me, and I’ll consider them for a future All Things Appy column.

Don’t forget to use the Talkback feature below to add your comments.

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication Producer Report and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School and wrote the cult-classic novel Sprawlism. His introduction to technology was as a nomadic talent scout in the eighties, where regular scrabbling around under hotel room beds was necessary to connect modems with alligator clips to hotel telephone wiring to get a fax out. He tasted down and dirty technology, and never looked back.

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