More than 50 percent of apps in the Android Market are free; a number considerably higher than Apple's iTunes App Store. With all those free apps, you can get lost in a sea of junk. Sometimes, there's nothing better than squandering some cash on a really great app.
Here are some Android apps worth paying for.
WeatherBug Elite costs only $1.99, and will keep you in the know about outdoor conditions. Get local weather based on your actual location, with real-time updates, storm tracking and radar animation. See weather patterns and other information overlaid on in-app maps, get specifics on the three-day forecast and never get caught in the rain again.
CardioTrainer is a great app with GPS tracking and a pedometer to keep tabs on your workouts. The app has everything you need, including music from your phone, voice notifications as you work out and a global scoreboard. Amazingly, CardioTrainer is free. So go ahead and get the $2.99 add-on apps for weight loss-training and race-training.
Productivity & utility apps
Evernote may be free, but serious users will want the premium account for a monthly subscription. Save any note type based on your parameters, including location, tags and folders. Sync with the desktop app and website, so you'll never forget anything again.
Locale is a management tool that automatically changes your phone's settings based on your location. The $10.99 price tag may seem steep, but the app can offer peace of mind. Turn your ringer off when you get to work, or set an alarm for when you're in the vicinity of the grocery store. Additional plug-ins from Locale and third parties turn the app into a mobile power tool.
Wave Secure was early to Android compared to other security apps, and Wave Secure's $19.99 app protects your device quite well. Lock and track your lost/stolen phone, back up and restore data, or remotely wipe its contents. Now that's a smartphone.
Documents To Go is a necessity for business users, with support for Microsoft files to view, edit and create. The full version will run you nearly $15, but it practically replaces your laptop. Edit PDF and PowerPoint files with zoom and formatting tools, and view change history. Also save, share and password-protect files.
Games & entertainment
Got a few Nintendo games you want to play on your Android? Grab the Nesoid NES Emulator app for $3.98. The full version app enables you to play the classics, with full on-screen buttons, sounds and all.
SlingPlayer Mobile gives you mobile access to your TV and DVR, turning your Android into a cable box. Watch shows you've recorded, or queue up some on-demand content. For $29.99, the app is your Android accompaniment to your core SlingPlayer account, but be glad you can buy the app instead of a new device all together.
Robo Defense is a popular title on Android, bringing tower-of-defense strategy and fun to the mobile platform. With the $2.99 game, you build your empire and use a protective army of robots to defend your territory. Earn points and power up to reach new levels and top leaderboards. Recent updates ensure Robo Defense fits the varying Android screen sizes.
Sims 3 is one of the first games I downloaded on my Android, giving me a quick fix of digital dollhouse when the need arose. At $6.99, the price was negligible for the amount of involved game play you get. Great for a casual game with purpose, Sims 3 on Android makes the basics of the game mobile.
For serious Twitter users, HootSuite is a must. Manage and track multiple Twitter accounts, each with custom views and tags to help you hone in on the information you need. Schedule future tweets, share media and sort followers according to lists. The $2.99 app's biggest advantage is the metrics provided to help you make sense of your Twitter activity.