Finding stellar Android apps isn't the easiest task, but that certainly doesn't mean they don't exist. Here's the cream of the crop.
Twitter: The official Twitter app is good enough for almost everyone. Along with giving you a clean, easy way to keep track of your timeline and updating your status, Twitter for Android also has a snazzy swipe down to refresh feature. Free.
Facebook: Facebook is finally decent on Android and now actually brings some unique features, namely the front page side-scroll of friend's recent photos and a pull up notification window. Free.
eBuddy Messenger: A well-designed IM client that keeps you plugged into AIM, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook chat and others. Even better because it's free. Free.
Tango: Tango is the best (and clearest!) way to video chat with your buddies, Android or iPhone, over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi. Free.
Handcent SMS: Handcent puts SMS on steroids. It's fully customizable (in look and theme) and gives options for popups and to even tweak individual contact settings. If you've never thought the stock messaging app on Android sucked, we won't blame you. But after using Handcent, you will. Free.
Vignette: With Vignette you get those wonderful artsy effects your friends love and a ton of straight shooting options that'll make you leave your Point and Shoot at home. Not kidding, there's over 68 different effects, 56 unique frames and a ton o' shooting options like fixed focus, fast shot, steady shot, self timer, etc. $4
Pandora: Pandora. You know the one. The internet radio app that has uplifted a million work hours and scored a million make-outs. It's simply the best out there, streaming music at home or on the go over Wi-Fi or 3G. Free.
Rdio: A "social" music subscription service, as in you can leach off your friend's good music taste to listen to exactly what they are. Plus, you can sync songs to listen offline. Free.
Rockplayer: Rockplayer can play nearly any video file you throw at it, meaning those DVD rips, Windows files, decidedly non-standard clips and those videos you "obtained" from the Internet will all be good to roll. Free.
Shazam: You know that song you keep hearing everywhere but can't quite place? Shazam can place it. Like, almost every time. Shazam Encore, $5, gets you unlimited tags and a host of other features like a widget, recommendations, lyrics, etc. Free.
IMDb: Who's that guy? Where's he from? Should I even watch this movie? Solve all your movie questions with Android's official IMDB app. It's basically IMDB's website optimized for your phone—which in this case, is a good thing. Free.
Movies: Pretty simple: you like knowing the movies that are playing in theaters around you, right? Flixster's got local listings and showtimes, along with trailers and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, you can manage your Netflix queue! Free.
FX Camera: It's a fairly basic lomo FX/hipstamatic style camera but it's REALLY easy to use and processes the pictures REALLY fast. There's not too many effects available (ToyCam, Polaroid, Fisheye, SymmetriCam, and Andy Warholizer), but all of them are stellar. Free.
Kindle: Just because you don't own a Kindle doesn't mean you shouldn't be buying Kindle ebooks—especially when Amazon has an Android app that's dead simple to use. The e-book wars aren't quite over, but no one will judge you for siding with Amazon. Free.
Listen: For podcast fiends, Google's Listen is easily the easiest app to use. Find your podcasts by searching Google's database and stay up to date with automatic downloads (set to your preferences).
Backgrounds: Ain't nothing like pretending your old phone is brand new than switching up the wallpaper. Backgrounds has a ridiculous, ridiculous amount of options to choose from (over 10k!). Free.
Angry Birds: It's the world's most popular smartphone game, and with good reason! There's something about launching these different sorts of aviary ammunition into the precarious pig pens that just never gets old. There are always new birds and new stages coming out the pipeline to keep things fresh, too. Free.
Need for Speed: Shift: The best racing game on Android because of its impressively rich graphics and buttery smooth gameplay. You'll pop your eyeballs out when you realize that thiskind of game can work that well on your phone. $5.
Fruit Ninja: I don't know what it is about chopping fruits that pop up on the screen but slicing a sick multiple fruit combo with juicy visuals never felt so good. Simple gameplay that's ridiculously addictive. $1.
Robo Defense: Robo Defense is a tower defense game at its best: excitingly chaotic, stressfully fun and strategically simple. Time disappears when you're trying to hit the upgrades and achievements in this game. $3 for Pro.
Alchemy: Alchemy is fun because it's so damn clever. The premise is simple, to combine elements to create things like beer, life, skyscrapers, vampires and more. One thing: you'll have to use your noodle to complete the game. Free.
Word Feud: Like Scrabble or Words with Friends but available on Android. There's really nothing better than shocking your friends with your vocabulary skills. Free.
Nesoid: It's BYO ROMs, but this $3 NES emulator single-handedly solves Android's gaming problem by letting you play any NES game you can get your hands on. Bonus: The smug sense of satisfaction that this would never fly in the App Store. $3.
Launcher Pro: Launchers are wonderful things! In a nutshell, they're homescreen replacements, but really, they can magically tranform an entire phone-especially if your phone has been saddled with crappy manufacturer skin. You get faster performance, new animations, more homescreens and a cleaner interface all around with Launcher Pro. Free.
Google Reader: Finally! After years of only having a web app (that's admittedly decent!), Google just released a full fledged app for Google Reader. If you're familiar with using Google Reader, it's exactly what you'd expect, only translated for the smaller screen (and faster than the web app). One super cool feature: using the volume keys to navigate through feeds. Free.
Google Voice: Google Voice simply changes the way you use your phone, and the app's seamless integration is a killer feature for Android as a whole. Free.
PDAnet: PdaNet is the ridiculously easy (and free!) way to tether your laptop to your phone, over USB or Bluetooth, without rooting it. If you don't wanna cough up $30 for the full version it'll still connect to non-https:// addresses just fine (basically the regular stuff). Free.
SwiftKey Keyboard: The star feature of Swiftkey is its predictive text, it literally learns the way you type. We're not kidding, Swiftkey will scan your SMS messages to see what words you're most likely to use. You'll feel like it can read your mind. Plus, it looks better than the stock Android keyboard. $2.
Beautiful Widgets: If you don't have a HTC Sense phone but still want some gorgeous looking widgets, Beautiful Widgets is all you need. Like the name, the visuals and animations are to die for. $2.
AK Notepad: There's plenty of note apps that throw in snazzier features but the beauty of AK Notepad is in its simplicity: it's a basic yellow pad that let's you jot down what you need. Free.
Evernote: If you need more features in a "note taker", Evernote is simply a powerhouse of a note taking app. Not only can you jot down notes but you can take pictures, record voice notes and upload files to remember all on their cloud. Free.
HandyCalc: HandyCalc is by far the best calculator on the market. It's so smart it gives suggestions on what you're trying to do and can even convert units and currency. Free.
Dropbox: It really doesn't get easier than Dropbox. With its Android app, you can view and edit all your Dropbox files in a sweet and simple interface and even stream music and videos you've uploaded to Dropbox in its media player (or save for offline viewing). Free.
Barcode Scanner: It's a straight scanner. Barcode Scanner handles both UPC codes (which does a quick product search) and QR codes (which will give you options to add contact, show on map, download, etc) with ease and throws in a few extra features (like searching within the book you scanned) as a bonus. Free.
Tasker: Here's what Tasker does: it performs a set of actions given certain rules and context, like if X happens, then Y will follow kind of deal. So if you're in your car and turn on Car Home on your Android phone, Tasker will know to also shut off Wi-Fi, turn on GPS, flip on Pandora, and crank the volume. Completely customizable, Tasker makes your smartphone even smarter. $6.
Astrid Task/To Do List: No other app gives as much detail to to do lists as Astrid. Its "advanced" options lets you set priority levels, integrate with Google Calendar, sync with Google tasks, and set up tags, alerts and periodic reminders. Astrid keeps it easy, for the most part, but also offers deeper settings if you're the obsessive, customize-everything exactly-how-you-want-it type. Free.
Astro File Manager: Astro File Manager makes it pretty easy to dig up files hiding around in your phone. It also can act as a backup, application manager, and task manager (if you're into that kind of thing). Free.
Voice Recorder: If you need a voice recorder app, this is the one to get. Send the recording via Gmail, record by widget and more, it does all a voice recorder needs to do.
Gmote 2.0: Using your phone as a remote control for your computer is practically a God-given right, and Gmote's the best Android remote for playing and controlling movies and music on your computer. Free.
Exchange by Touchdown: TouchDown syncs with your Exchange Server to let you send and receive email, manage contacts, view and edit appointments and filter through tasks. It all sounds so simple but TouchDown really is the best way to work with Exchange on your Android phone. $20.
Flash Player 10.1: I really don't care if Flash is good for the web or not, I just want to see as much web content as I can on my Android phone. Downloading Flash Player 10.1 gets me one step closer to that. Free.
The Weather Channel: The Weather Channel app on Android isn't the most feature packed, but its the easiest to use. We love it because we can hit all the important features, like the "What It Feels Like" temperature, the 10-day forecast and hourly temperature, faster than any other app. Free.
Live Scores: I'm not exactly smitten with the app's design but there's no other app that offers as much details and stats about sports games as Live Scores. You could set scoring alerts for your favorite teams too. Free.
Yelp: Everyone's a critic when it comes to bars and restaurants; Yelp puts that impulse to work for you. Search for food, drink, or whatever else by location, price, style and then read up on what people have to say about it. Free.
USA Today: A great app to find the latest headlines, sports scores and weather reports because everything is laid out right smack in front of you. USA Today's app is much like USA Today itself, all the relevant news whittled down and easy to understand. Free.
Wapedia: Wapedia is perfect: it gives you all of Wikipedia, in a quick and easy-to-understand format, and offers more reference options to search through like wikiquotes, wiktionary, and even more specialized wikis (Call of Duty, Mad Men, etc) for the most specific information you can glean from in an app. Free.
Google Earth: It's, like, the entire world...on your Android phone. Google Earth is cooler than ever when you're using your fingers to manipulate it, seamlessly zooming around the globe and diving into various places to take a closer look. Free.
Google Shopper: If Google Goggles and a barcode scanner hooked up, we'd get Shopper: a barcode scanning, voice and image searching, product finding, makes-you-a-smarter-shopper shopping assistant. It's a damn good app, and ties nicely with Google because well, it's made by Google. Free.
Google Goggles: Hey, what's that building over there? Is this a famous painting? Those are all questions that can be answered by Google Goggles, which is really searching by taking a picture. The image recognition can be insanely good. Free.
TripIt: TripIt is just an absolute godsend when you're travelling. It's like having your own travel assistant, all you have to do is forward your travel confirmation emails to TripIt and they'll automatically organize it for you in their tidy app. You'll always have your itinerary right on your phone. Free.
Layar: Quite simply, the king of augmented reality apps, able to layer pretty much whatever kind of data you want on top of your boring, HUD-less reality. Free.