AndroZip File Manager

In this versatile, easy-to-use utility, you'll find features that are sorely lacking in the standard Android OS.

One of the most glaring deficiencies of the Android OS is its lack of an integrated file manager. The free AndroZip comes to the rescue, providing a file explorer, task manager, archive manager, app backup tool, and more, all within a simple and intuitive interface. It should be one of the first apps you install on your Android phone.

With AndroZip, you can browse folders and files, both on the device and on an SD Card. Just tap and hold an item to see its properties, delete it, or rename it. Single-tap a file to raise a context menu. From there, the Send command allows you to e-mail the file; the Subject line will be prefilled with the file name. If the file is ZIP, RAR, 7ZIP, GZIP, TAR, or BZIP2 format, you can extract it to the folder of your choice. If the file is an application file (.apk), you can install it--a useful feature for handling non-Market third-party apps such as Mozilla Fennec.

You can also select multiple files and place them in a ZIP, TAR, or GZIP compressed archive, either to save space or to e-mail several files as one attachment.

The Search function is very convenient; for example, by typing ".jpg" you can find all of the photos on your SD Card. Unfortunately, the app gives you no option to save a search.

AndroZip has a simple Task Manager (Menu, Task Manager) with which you can view and kill running processes. It's a handy tool to use if an app misbehaves, if your phone gets bogged down with too many apps running in the background, or if you just want to see which apps are currently running.

One of AndroZip's best features is its ability to back up your apps (Market-installed apps only; AndroZip does not recognize third-party or unofficial apps). Just go to Menu, App Manager, and select the apps you want to back up; AndroZip will copy them to a folder called 'app_backup' on the SD Card. Afterward, if an app update introduces a bug or breaks a feature, you can roll back to the previous version. Or, if you get a new Android phone, you can swap in the SD Card and install all your apps without having to download them one at a time.

AndroZip cannot bookmark a file location--something its competitor Astro File Manager can do. For this reason, if you spend a lot of time navigating complex folder hierarchies, you may prefer Astro. If bookmarking doesn't matter to you, AndroZip is a great choice; it's a powerful utility with a simple, clean interface.