The monopoly of Google and Apple over the mobile devices world looks scary. But don't despair. You don't need to fully depend on Big Google Brother.
I would like to present the alternative to the Google Play Store and a list of free apps there that I really like.
F-Droid is an alternative to the Google Play Store. It allows you to download apps from their repositories that include only free software. You can also add other repositories in a very similar way you may know from other ecosystems.
Just download it, install it and break your Google cage a little bit.
I really love simplicity! I love it when the app focuses on just the one thing and has a clean UI.
The list is my opinionated recommendation of apps I use regularly in my day-to-day life. I have no other affiliation with any of those apps.
The NewPipe dwells on the well deserved first place on this list. It is the absolute killer. It allows you to play YouTube videos privately without the need to login and without adds. It also allows you to download videos.
The second on the list is the best podcast app (if you value simplicity). The Escapepod. It is a no-clutter app focused on delivering only features that matter. The maintainer is super-responsive on bugs and suggestions. I love it.
Despite the name, the Simple Gallery is fully featured with smooth UI. I have found this app as a fitting replacement for Google Photos which I don't trust.
The app is from the Simple Mobile Tools project that aims to create all the basic apps to replace the bloated pre-installed crap you got with the phone. Sadly, not all of their apps are on F-Droid and the quality of their apps varies. I would say the gallery is the best one.
Book Reader is the simplest and UI-cleanest app I was able to find for reading eBooks. It has all the features I need (i.e. quick way to translate stuff and bookmarks).
Etar is great calendar app that replaces Google Calendar well.
For synchronization of contacts and calendars there is EteSync. You can download the app from F-Droid and for 2$ (of course paid in Bitcoin) a month you get end-to-end encrypted, tamper-proof journals to store your contacts and calendars. Migration from Google is easy. I've just exported contacts (vCard) and calendars (iCal) from Google and imported all my data easily via the mobile app.
The OpenBoard supports multiple languages for corrections and is quite clean and minimalistic.
There is Loyalty Card Keychain that is based on scanning the barcode or QR code and not the full photos.
Card can be easily exported into CSV and backed-up.
Some apps are not as good as the alternatives that require Google in your phone but are decent enough that I am taking them as a compromise because I prefer my privacy over convenience.
All the apps on the list are free. Please donate some Bitcoin to the developers and maintainers of those apps. They deserve it.
Do you have any suggestions for a good app that I have missed? Or do you have just any comments? Feel free to mention me on Twitter .