8 of the best indie Android apps you’ve never heard of

With Android being less of a walled garden compared to iOS, it tends to offer some awesomely unique apps you won’t find on the competing platform. Seeing that this is an area Android shines, we are here at AP figured it was about time we rounded up some of the best Android apps currently available on the platform that aren’t the most well-known but still offer exciting and valuable features Android enthusiasts can appreciate. So that’s what we’ve done, with plans to grow the list with updates, just like the rest of our roundups. So if you’ve been eager to dive into the best app oddities on and off the Play Store, this is indeed the roundup for you.

Bromite

If you’re looking for a Chromium fork that offers built-in ad-blocking along with privacy enhancements, then Bromite should be on your list. It’s a mobile browser that’s taken the advertising-centric design out of Chrome, and all patches are published under GNU/GPL v3, which means the app is also open source. Simply put, it’s a de-Googled browser for Android, offering the same layout as Chrome to keep things simple and familiar. Of course, this app isn’t available on the Play Store, though you can find it on its own website and GitHub page.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Download Bromite

Squid – Take Notes & Markup PDF

There are many note-taking apps available on the Play Store, and there are even a few that offer handwritten notes, but Squid is a standout, thanks to its fantastic vector-based text that remains readable at all zoom levels. It’s a great tool for students or those that often take handwritten notes, and you can use the app for free, with a set of extra features available to those that subscribe (like PDF importing and color backgrounds). While subscriptions are rarely the best way to pay for an app, seeing that the monthly sub is a dollar, it’s easily affordable. Plus, Squid is great even if you don’t subscribe, and best of all, it works on tablets and Chromebooks alike, which again shows why this is a noteworthy app for students.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $1.00 – $10.00

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Dolby On: Record Audio & Music

When I think Dolby, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t a free audio recording app for Android, but that’s exactly what Dolby On is, and it’s probably the best audio recording app on the platform. Sure, Dolby isn’t some indie dev, but Dolby On isn’t a very well-known app, which is why I wanted to highlight it in today’s roundup. Few have heard of it. Thanks to its audio processing that supports noise reduction, de-essing, and a fade in/out, it’s highly useful in an assortment of settings. There’s even a built-in EQ as well as support for spatial audio. So whether you want to record a band’s live performance in a noisy theater or simply want to record your next lecture, Dolby On has you covered, and the recordings always turn out great. Best of all, Dolby On is totally free, so it’s easy to take for a spin if you’re intrigued.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

YouTube Vanced

Seeing that Google makes it easy to sideload apps and seeing that Google forces ads on everyone that uses the official YouTube app, YouTube Vanced is a fork of sorts that forgoes these ads while offering the same UI as the stock YouTube app. Basically, it’s a better version of YouTube that’s ad-free. Of course, you will have to sideload YouTube Vanced, and you do this by installing an installer and then installing two more apps to get Vanced working (one of which is necessary so you can sign in). While I wouldn’t call the installation process intuitive, the end result is a YouTube app for Android that isn’t inundated with annoying ads. Plus, you get a bunch of extra features, like a black theme, codec switching, and forced resolutions (no more opening videos in 360p). It’s YouTube but better.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Download YouTube Vanced

Caffeine – Keep Screen On

Here’s one all you Linux users should recognize. Yep, it’s Caffeine, an app that keeps your screen on for as long as you want. Android doesn’t offer an easy way to keep the screen on the past 10 minutes, so if you’d like to use a tablet as a display, tossing Caffeine on there will ensure you can keep the screen on as long as you want without the need to tap the screen to keep it awake. It’s a simple purpose-built utility, and just like on Linux, it’s pretty useful on Android. Just keep in mind the app shows up as a tile for your status bar pulldown, so you won’t see it in your app drawer once it’s installed.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

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Dream by WOMBO

Have you ever wondered what a picture of a pug may have looked like if Salvador Dalí had painted it? Wonder no longer. Dream by WOMBO is an incredibly slick app where you can input keywords, and then you pick a famous artist, then you let the app’s AI do its thing, generating a painting from your selections. It’s an incredibly fun app to mess around with, and if you like a picture, like you really like it, then you can get it printed for real to hang in your home, directly through the app. Playing around with Dream by WOMBO is a great way to pass the time when you have a few seconds to spare, plus the results are often suitable for a laugh with a few friends.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

NewPipe

Why stop with one YouTube app when you can list two? That’s right. People hate the ads on YouTube so much there’s a second YouTube fork out there that also delivers an ad-free experience. It’s called NewPipe, and you can find it on F-Droid, a free and open-source app store for Android. This YouTube fork is the go-to for those not using any Google framework libraries, like if you’re running a de-Googled Android ROM. This way, you can still install a YouTube app even if you don’t want Google having access to your information, which is a nice option to have. The app is, of course, open-source, which also means it’s free for anyone and everyone. You can sideload the APK that’s available on F-Droid, or you can use F-Droid’s client if you’d like to keep the app updated without having to manually install new versions each time. You can also find NewPipe APKs on its GitHub page.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Download NewPipe

Offline Survival Manual

What with current events and all, I’m sure more than a few of you have started looking into prepping and survival techniques. Thankfully there are apps that can help with this, such as Offline Survival Manual, which offers an offline manual that covers subjects like building a fire, how to build shelter, where to find food, as well as medical techniques for emergencies. No internet connection is needed, but you will need power for your phone. So as long as you have some juice left when disaster strikes, then you’ll have a handy guide at your disposal when everyone else is running around like a chicken with their head cut off.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs


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