Android comes in many shapes and sizes and almost every vendor or smartphone manufacturer has its unique take on the operating system. What gives them the liberty to customize Android is the fact that Android is an open-source platform. This list goes beyond the Android variants designed by brands and also includes the multiple different strains developed by independent developers in the form of custom Android ROMs. And just like the numerous variations of Android, there is a variety of open source Android apps that are very purposeful although they might have not received the kind of attention they deserve.
When it comes to the smartphone market, Android has the major shares and millions of apps are out there for Android devices. And most of these apps are either coded in Java or Kotlin. And to learn Android development, one must know the basic understanding of one of these programming languages. Even though if you successfully learned the basic coding principles, sometimes newbie coders struggle to develop their first couple of Android apps.
Android open source apps are really great and very useful for every Android devices. There are some great Android services which are in the form of open source apps. But in this post, I’ll share some amazing Android open source apps with you. Some of them may be known for you because you’re using it but some of them are really unknown for you. So let’s check out what these Android open source apps are.
Let’s start this article with one of my favorites and best-designed open-source Android apps. SoundSpice is an offline music player app that conforms to modern design language. The app’s UI is both functional and useful. It’s also a light-weight app that makes it excellent even for older Android devices. The app is 100% free to use and even brings modern UI features such as dark mode. One of my favorite features of this app is the real-time lyrics look-up. It allows me to quickly get song lyrics with a tap. If you are not using online music streaming services and still listen to your offline music collection, you should try this app.
Another beautiful and useful open-source Android application that I install instantly on a new Android device is QKSMS. It’s a third-party texting client for normal messages. My favorite feature of this app is the ability to customize the look and feel of the app. The app supports dual and multi-SIM devices so you have no problems there. It also supports normal MMS protocol allowing you to share media files like photos and audio files. One outstanding feature of this app is the ability to create group messages. Overall, I quite like this app and always prefer it over the built-in messaging app.
If you are looking for a privacy-friendly open-source email app for your Android device, look no farther than FairEmail. It brings all the modern email features including support for unlimited accounts and unlimited email addresses, unified inbox, conversation threading, two-way synchronization, and more. It’s also very small (>12MB) and is very light on resources. Finally, I love that it supports the material design language and dark mode. Gone are the days when open-source email clients were ugly and hard-to-use. FairEmail brings a modern email experience to your Android device.
I love the Pixel launcher that comes with Google Pixel phones. I wish all the Android smartphone launchers, whether it be from Samsung or Xiaomi, followed the same minimal design language. Well, since that’s not the case, we have to use third-party launchers and if you want minimalism with great performance, there’s none better than Lawnchair launcher. It brings the Pixel design language with all the features including adaptive icons, drawer categories, automatic dark mode, notification dots, and more. And since it’s open-source, it’s free to use without any ads. It is worth checking out.
It’s 2020 and you should be using a password manager to generate, use, and store secure passwords across all your accounts. But if for skeptical of third-party password managers that use their propriety code, you should check out Keepass2. Keepass2 is an open-source password manager for your Android device. It stores all your passwords in a securely encrypted vault. It supports biometric authentication so you won’t have to enter your master password every time you log in. And it lets you synchronize your vault using the cloud or your server (Dropbox, Google Drive, SFTP, WebDAV, and many more). If you don’t trust online storage solutions, you can always keep your password offline. It’s the open-source Android app that every user should use.
VLC Media Player
VLC is a renowned media player which brings support for a wide range of audio and video codecs. Besides playing local media files, VLC can be used to stream videos, audios, and other types of files over a local network or an internet directory. Some common features that enhance media playback include the ability to change playback speed, jump to a specific time, add and pan subtitles, set a sleep timer. Apart from this, users can enjoy videos in picture-in-picture mode and even tune the audio playback using the inbuilt equalizer.
NewPipe is an open source Android app that lets you browse and play YouTube videos without forcing you to sign into your Google account. While you can simply browse the trending content, you can also import your subscriptions from YouTube and SoundCloud, and load them onto NewPipe – without being tracked by Google. You can also export and share these subscriptions with your friends. The videos are open in a new window and the player gets the gestures for brightness and volume. Using NewPipe, you can also download videos, play them in the background, as well as in a pop-up window. This is one of my most favorite open source Android apps.
Open source Android apps not only provide a great chance of embracing and learning about technology, but it can also please the geek in you who might enjoy DIY solutions. Open source protocols inspire the community to actually not develop for financial reward but for the passion of developing and the foresight for a brighter technologically-advanced future. So whether it for the purpose of learning, or taking a break from the vicious ads network tracking your internet usage throughout, you can rely on open source Android apps to help you.