10 Android smartphone apps to help you out this summer

There are hundreds of thousands of apps on the Google Play Store and with fantastic devices like the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III I wanted to share what apps I use during the summer to enjoy my travels and time off.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Now that the Samsung Galaxy S III is rolling out on the various carriers, my top pick of the 5 hottest summer smartphones, I wanted to share my ten favorite Android apps to use during the summer. It is likely I will be picking up my own T-Mobile Galaxy S III and the Android apps I have in my image gallery are great for this device and other Android smartphones.

Check out screenshots from 10 of my favorite Android smartphone apps to use during this season.

I recently wrote that I am loving Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and currently using it on the HTC One X and Galaxy Nexus. I used Android previously, but was not as much of fan of the platform as I am now. The Google Play Store has grown significantly and I honestly don't have any apps missing from there that I use on iOS. In fact, thanks to the more open nature, I know it isn't fully open, Android developers are able to do more in terms of sharing and other cross application tie-in so that I find most apps more useful on Android. With thousands of apps to choose from, it is difficult to find the greatest and I am sure we all have different favorites. Actually, feel free to share some of yours in the comments for the rest of us to consider. Here are ten apps that I find useful during this time of year, in no particular order of importance:
  • Flipboard: This application is now officially available for all Android devices, launched as a full version on the Galaxy S III, and has been available on iOS for some time. You can setup your favorite feeds (news, sports, entertainment, etc.) and social networks to be pulled into Flipboard and presented to you in a magazine-like layout. I love the user interface and find it a much better way to view news feeds. The latest update, released last week on Android, adds in support for Google+. You can also setup your Pocket or Instapaper account to read longer stories at a later time.
  • Wunderlist: I am a long time user of Evernote and have it on all my devices, but it isn't always the quickest for writing down quite task lists and managing them. My buddy Kevin Tofel recommended I try Wunderlist for these types of task lists and I am very happy with it. I use it in the summer for my Honey Do lists, packing lists for trips, grocery lists when preparing for summer parties and barbecues, and even my ZDNet review plans. There are clients for multiple platforms and desktop computers too.
  • Weatherbug: You need to know the weather before traveling and one of my favorite weather applications is Weatherbug. I have about 10 locations that I monitor, some for where I normally travel, some for places I know I am going to, and some for places where I want to travel. It is one of the most extensive weather applications available and you can setup alerts to notifiy you of current conditions.
  • Sports Tracker: Summer is a great time to get out and run and an app I use for monitoring these and sharing my data with others is Sports Tracker. You can even capture images along the way, great to do when you are out for a run while on a business trip or vacation, and have them geotagged to show up along your tracked route. Sports Tracker has a slick interface and does an excellent job of accurately tracking my route and speed.
  • Kobo: While I read for hours on end with an eInk device, when I am out and about I use my Android smartphone to read a few pages. I am a big fan of the Kobo Touch eReader and thus use the Kobo Android application to read my books on the go. I like the Kobo home screen widget that shows me the status of the book I am reading and when I last read it. Kobo is one of the more social ebook apps where you can share with others and also discuss books within the Kobo community.
  • Chrome web browser: The Android web browser is good, but my default browser is Google Chrome. Since I use Chrome on the desktop, having the cross platform syncing on my phone is outstanding and it is my ultimate favorite browser for phones. If you have an ICS phone, you must give Google Chrome a try.
  • Words with Friends: I am not a heavy gamer, but I do love playing word games and challenging friends via Facebook. Words with Friends is an excellent word game with only one real improvement I would like to see. Like AlphaJax on Windows Phone, I would like to see the point total for words as I create them in the game before I submit my entry. If you want to play me, you can generally find me online during my evening train commute.
  • Flixster: My family enjoys going to the movies during the summer, including our annual trip to the drive-in, and Flixster is my favorite movie application. You can setup your favorite theaters, view trailers, check out upcoming movies, read reviews, and even purchase tickets through the application.
  • TripIt Pro: I saved nearly $400 on an airplane ticket last year thanks to TripIt Pro's ticket price monitoring service and am using that savings for a long weekend wine country getaway for my wife and I this summer. TripIt Pro lets me bring my travel itinerary to my Android phone so I don't have to carry printed pages for everything. I get alerts, such as gate changes, and do not travel without using TripIt Pro.
  • MLS MatchDay: My family loves soccer, I have been coaching my youngest for over eight years too, and we are huge Seattle Sounders FC fans. Thus, MLS MatchDay is on my phone to monitor all of the great games being played this summer as the Sounders attempt to win the US Open Cup again and make it to the MLS playoffs. There are apps for Major League Baseball fans too.
Do you enjoy using any of these applications? What apps do you like to use in the summer?
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