Verizon's Droid X: 12 Apps to Get You Started

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Droid X App #6: DoubleTwist

Android's default music player gets the job done, but an app called DoubleTwist makes managing your music even easier.

The DoubleTwist Android app works seamlessly with DoubleTwist's desktop program for headache-free music synching. It's kind of like a less bloated and more pleasant version of iTunes.

Both the DoubleTwist Android app and the DoubleTwist desktop program are free downloads.

(Whether you use DoubleTwist or not, don't forget that you can load music onto your Droid X any way you want, including dragging and dropping files directly from your PC as if the phone were a flash drive. This ain't no iPhone, baby.)

Droid X App #7: Astro File Manager

Droid X Apps: Astro
While we're on the subject of file management, a handy little program called Astro is one you'll want to install.

Astro lets you browse your phone like a computer (yes, with Android, you can actually do that, too!). You can navigate through directories, copy or move files, delete files -- practically anything you could do within a PC-based file manager.

Astro is available as a free, ad-supported download in the Android Market (make sure you get the program called "Astro File Manager" -- there are several similarly named utilities). If you like the app, you can opt to get the ad-free "Pro" version for $3.99.

Droid X App #8: Pandora

At this point, most people have heard of Pandora -- the personalized streaming music service -- but I'd be remiss if I failed to include it in a list of starter apps for your Droid X phone.

The Pandora Android app is practically a necessity for any music lover. For the quite reasonable price of $0, the program lets you stream music from all your Pandora stations right from your Android phone. It runs in the background and even comes with its own widget, giving you a live functioning control panel right on your Android home screen.

Droid X App #9: Places Directory

Droid X Apps: Places Directory
When you're out exploring the world, Google's free Places Directory app can prove invaluable. Places Directory uses your phone's location data to provide you with lists of nearby businesses -- restaurants, banks, hotels, you name it -- all broken down into categories. This thing has come in handy more times than I could possibly count, especially when traveling in unfamiliar cities.

Once you select a place, Places Directory gives you its address, phone number, and a measure of how far it is from your current location. With one tap of your screen, you can call the business. With another tap, you can get turn-by-turn directions for walking, driving, or taking public transportation.

Of course, you can find opinions, too: Google's Places Directory compiles user reviews for each business from a variety of online review sites.

Droid X App #10: Car Locator

If you're like me and have an awful short-term memory, the Car Locator app for Android can be a real life-saver.

Car Locator, $3.99 in the Android Market (also available in a free 10-use trial version), makes it impossible to forget where you parked the car. You can save your car's location anytime by using a one-touch home screen widget, or you can instruct the app to automatically save your location every time your Bluetooth earpiece disconnects. Then, when it's time to track the car down, Car Locator gives you a map along with directions.

Being a dodo-head has never been less embarrassing.

Droid X App #11: Gesture Search

Droid X Apps: Gesture Search
Android phones have system-wide voice search, but sometimes it's easier to let your fingers do the talking. Google's free Gesture Search app for Android is the way to make that happen.

With Gesture Search, you draw letters to browse through your phone's contacts, apps, bookmarks, and music. As you draw more letters and move closer to spelling a word, the Gesture Search app narrows down the list of relevant results.

I often use this in place of scrolling through my contacts list or music list to find what I want. It's really a cool little program.

Droid X App #12: Metal Detector

The final Android app on our Droid X starter list is one that's more for fun -- and maybe showing off -- than functionality.

Metal Detector, available for free in the Android Market, does just what you'd imagine: It detects metal. As you move your phone over various objects, an on-screen meter jumps around to indicate the level of metal content. When you strike gold, so to speak, the app buzzes and plays a sound. (If it isn't working reliably when you first try it, head into the app's "Settings" menu and play around with the sensitivity values. That usually does the trick.)

Now, unless you're that weird dude on the beach, you probably won't actually need this app too often -- but it's guaranteed to attract some serious attention and make you the envy of any geek-heavy party.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the author of the new Android Power blog. He's on both Twitter and Facebook; come say hello.

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