In the past, I have not used live wallpapers, as they can hit the phone battery pretty hard. The long life of the Note 2's battery led me to use the Beautiful Live Wallpaper, and I haven't regretted it.
In addition to looking good, Beautiful Live Wallpaper displays useful information on the home screen. Current weather conditions are shown with high-resolution animations. The screen color changes throughout the day to reflect both the weather conditions and the time of day. A rising sun and moon can be toggled on to complement the action. Waving grass or wheat completes the animated image across the bottom of the screen.
Beautiful Live Wallpaper is part of the Beautiful Widgets package, also a nice home screen addition.
This PIM app has been around since the Windows Mobile days, and the current Android version is wonderful. It combines contacts, calendar, and tasks into one app where all the parts work seamlessly together.
All areas of the app have fully configurable views to tailor every aspect of Pocket Informant to suit the user.
One of the week views is shown in the image above.
One of the most useful calendar views in Pocket Informant is the agenda view. This shows all upcoming events in a simple list format that makes good use of colors and icons to give information at a glance.
This recently launched note app from Google is not the most capable, but it makes good use of the screen. Colorful tiles turn the note collection screen into a useful way to find the note of interest.
Creating notes can be done by entering text, speaking voice notes, or taking photos. Lists in notes can now be turned into checklists, making to-do lists possible. One of the coolest features in Google Keep is the automatic (and instant) transcription of voice entries.
Free, but you need to upgrade to TripIt Pro to get full benefit
Frequent travelers are probably aware of the online service, TripIt. It builds travel itineraries from confirmation emails from airlines, hotes, and car rental agencies. These itineraries make a complete picture of upcoming trips, and it all can be easily synced to calendars.
The TripIt Pro Android app is a convenient way to access the online service, optimized for the phone screen. In addition to the trip overview screen (shown above), it is easy to drill down into any event in the list to get details. It also integrates with Google Maps to give instant maps with navigation from airports to hotels.
Zite on iOS was long the standard for great app design and functionality. When Zite was first released for Android, it was so bad it was embarrassing to compare it to the iOS version.
That's been largely rectified with the current version for Android, which is a solid app for accessing news in an attractive format. You can vote individual articles up or down to personalize the news that Zite serves up in the app.
The Google Now widget is part of Google Search, and it has an uncanny knack of providing pertinent information on the home screen. It learns how to help you the more you use it.
It shows a wide breadth of information types depending on where you are, what you are doing, and where you are going.
There is no better way to follow online news and social networks than Flipboard. The gorgeous magazine layout works well on large screens. The interface is well designed, making it a breeze to swipe from one screen to the next.
In addition to news that can be tailored to suit the user, Flipboard is a great way to follow updates on Facebook and Twitter. The entire list of social networks that can be accessed with Flipboard is impressive: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Google Reader, LinkedIn, Flickr, 500px, Sina Weibo, and Renren.
News articles can be saved for reading later in Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability.
Large-screened phones can be useful for working with office documents, and Quickoffice Pro is a great way to do so. It can view and edit MS Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and is a full PDF editor.
Google bought Quickoffice last year, and is in the process of integrating it into Chrome and Chrome OS. The Android app is a full version of the Quickoffice suite.
Users dealing with the lack of MS Office on Android may find that Quickoffice Pro can fill the void.
While the Android app from Twitter has gotten much better than it was in the past, it still falls short compared to Tweetings. Tweetings has a great interface complete, with gestures that makes working with Twitter a delight.
Multiple columns are supported on the phone and moving among them as simple as swiping left to right and vice versa.
I've tried just about every Twitter app out there, and Tweetings is by far my favorite.