Just got a new Android smartphone for the holidays? If it’s your first one it could be a little intimidating so, to get you started, here are 5 apps you should immediately install or set up on a new Android device. Alternatively, if you’re not already using these apps, it might be time to give them a shot!
Up your messaging game
Google Messages (RCS)
In the US at least, messaging has traditionally been a sore point of Android smartphones. Thankfully, Google has been hard at work trying to fix that in recent months and now, the solution known as RCS (Rich Communication Services) is available to every Android smartphone in the world as of this year.
How can you get RCS on your device and, more importantly, what’s the benefit? The benefit, firstly, is that RCS is much more capable than SMS/MMS. Pictures can be sent in higher quality, typing indicators, and more all arrive with RCS. Group chats also get a huge upgrade too. Basically, RCS is like Apple’s iMessage, but for Android phones.
To get RCS on your Android phone, all you need to do is download Google Messages. The free app is an SMS app at heart, but in select countries including the US, it can also enable RCS messaging on any carrier and any Android smartphone too. Simply download, set it as your default SMS app, and wait for the prompt to turn on RCS. We’ve got a more detailed tutorial on the process as well.
Telegram & Discord
If you want an app for even better messaging, you can go beyond the typical RCS and SMS. Telegram is one of our favorite messaging apps and it works a lot like the super popular WhatsApp. Unlike that app, though, Telegram works easily on multiple smartphones or tablets at one time and backs up all of your messages automatically. Plus, everything is still encrypted end-to-end and you have both voice and video calls available.
Discord is another great messaging alternative, offering private messages as well as “servers” to host a few friends or hundreds, all with rooms and chat admins. It’s a great experience, and one that’s especially excellent for gamers.
Staying connected in a pandemic
2020 has been a crazy year, but unfortunately we’re entering 2021 still with a pandemic going on. With that in mind, video calling apps are still one of the best and safest ways to keep in touch with loved ones.
One of the best Android apps for video calling is Google Duo. The completely free app makes it super easy to start video calls on Android phones and tablets as well as Chromebooks, computers, and even iOS devices. Think of it as Apple’s Facetime, but not locked down to one ecosystem. The app works with your phone number or your email address and features fun filters and even screen sharing on some devices. It’s best feature though, might just be how well it works on less-than-ideal connections.
One of the most popular video calling/conferencing tools during the pandemic so far has been Zoom. By its popularity alone,…