Android Starter Kit

Productivity

Dolphin Browser HD

While most Android Web browsers are based on the same engine, many offer interesting and sometimes powerful twists on the basics of downloading, bookmarking, sharing, pinch to zoom, and tabbed browsing. Dolphin Browser HD, which looks good and supports gestural navigation, is one favorite for replacing Google's default (you'll need the original Dolphin Browser--no HD--if your phone runs a pre-2.0 version of the OS.) Skyfire is plugged into social networks like Twitter, and Opera Mini 5 beta, with Speed Dial bookmarks, are two more.

Wapedia

Wapedia isn't the only free Android app that provides access Wikipedia, but its extras make it a favorite (we also like Quickpedia.) If you're patient, Wapedia will search for article matches as you type, which saves you some effort. Along with pulling in Wikipedia content, it also imports your article's photos and a collapsed table of contents that saves on space and helps you navigate around.

On top of sharing articles with friends, you can read articles in a language other than your default, customize preferences, and read in full-screen mode. We appreciate the bookmark button that keeps tabs on articles for later viewing and also lists your history of searches.

Documents to Go

The Documents To Go productivity suite ($14.99) gives you finger-friendly tools for reading, editing, and creating office documents from your phone. However, if editing and creating documents is overkill, QuickOffice's free, read-only version--preloaded on some Android phones--gives you a hair more functionality than the free Documents To Go counterpart, and avoids nagging you to death to upgrade.