What are your ideas of Android apps

In this post, I am going to share a list of five Android app ideas that beginner Android developers can start working on. When building your first Android app the focus should be on something that is completable. Completing an app even if it is small app will boost your confidence and you need lots of it in this journey as a developer. So whenever possible, avoid the temptation to increment the size of your hard drive with yet another abandoned Uber or Instagram clone.

Here is a list of Android App Ideas that requires beginner level Android development skill to complete.

  1. Notepad App
  2. Todo List App
  3. Drawing App
  4. Calculator App
  5. Resume App

Most of this Android app ideas should be familiar to you, and that is the point. When getting started you should be aiming to create common apps because that means there are more online tutorial and information about that app that can help you. Let us look at each app idea to see how they can help your Android development career.

Notepad App

The ubiquitous notepad app is one of the very first app that a lot of Android developers tried their hands on when starting. This is for the simple reason that it is easy to go from File -> New Project to a usable app. The excitement often ends quickly as people encounter ContentProvider and SQLite and other components associated with data persistence.

Skills Taught: you can learn a lot of fundamental Android development skills and concepts depending on how far you want to push your notepad. Here are some:

  1. Difference between TextView and EditText
  2. How to save data using SharedPreference or
  3. How to save data using SQLite and maybe
  4. How to save data using ContentProvider
  5. How to display a list of information
  6. How to map a Java object a database table
  7. How to use Intent to pass data between two Activities
  8. Basic CRUD (create, read, update and delete) data skills.

Beyond the Basics

For a little bonus consider adding the following capabilities to your note taking app.

  1. Add the ability to save note with voice using Ok Google Note to Self (very simple).
  2. Add sorting of notes by priority, date, alphabet (Hint: Comparator).
  3. Add categories to your note (Hint: foreign key).
  4. Enable copy/cut/paste
  5. Switch between Plain and Lined Editor
  6. Learning Resources for Notepad App

There are many online tutorials that teach you how to create notepad app. Here are a few.

  1. How to Create Notepad App Part 1 & 2 – these are my tutorial, I am biased in a good way. Over 1000 developers have downloaded the source code of these tutorials, and lot more have gained value out of it and believe you will too.
  2. Notepad Tutorial – Oldie but good, this legacy tutorial is still good to peruse. It is actually buried somewhere in your SDK folder.
  3. How to Create Notepad App for Android – covered the basics and rightfully avoided ContentProvider, good intro to SQLite.

Todo List App

Todo List is the most popular of the above-listed Android app ideas. In the whole of developer land, it comes only second to the first child of programming Hello World as evident in Github.

It is relatively easy to go from File New -> Project to some form of Todo List in most framework and languages; however it takes more than entry level skill to get a functional Todo List app like the one below.

Building an Android Todo List app like the one above will teach you the following skills.

  1. How to render list in Android using RecyclerView
  2. Working with Fragments and DialogFragments
  3. Data persistence with SQLite or Realm
  4. How different components in Android communicate
  5. Working with Date and time

Beyond the Basics

For a little bonus consider adding the following capabilities to your note taking app.

  1. Add Todo Item with Note to Self (very simple).
  2. Add sorting of notes by priority, status, alphabet (Hint: Comparator).
  3. Add parent Todo Item (aka sub-task feature)
  4. And set alarm and reminder for any Items
  5. Add a widget to the home screen

Learning Resources for Todo List App

  1. Android Application for Dummies book by @donnfelker and @michaelburton – the version I read was the 2nd edition, not sure if Todo list was covered in the other editions of the book. This edition did a good job covering most things you need to know about Todo list app, they called it Task reminder. The coverage of Task reminder is spread out in many chapters so be patient.
  2. Pronto Android book: speaking of books, my unfinished book will get you a long way towards creating a Todo List app and teaching you a lot about Android development.
  3. Create Notepad and Todo List App: this debuted as a good tutorial, however as is the case with most blogs, the author seems to have moved on. The code still is in Eclipse, still valuable to at least read through.
  4. Missing?? – do you know of any good Android Todo List app tutorial? Use the comment but below to let me know and I will update the list.

Drawing App

Drawing app is another app that has quick feedback loop – the time from File -> New Project to accomplishing the main use case of the app. It starts to get little tricky after you accomplish drawing the first line. Nevertheless, creating an Android drawing app will provide you a good learning experience; so if you are looking for the first app to create go ahead and start with a drawing app with the following core features.

  1. Draw – Users will be able to draw on a blank canvas (whiteboard).
  2. Erase – Users will be able to erase what has been drawn.
  3. Undo – Users will be able to undo and redo drawing paths.
  4. Color – Users will be able to draw using a color of their choice from at least these colors: black, dark gray, light gray, blue, red, and green, orange, yellow.
  5. Share – Users will be able to capture a screen shot and email it to a friend.

Beyond the Basics

You can take the app a bit further by:

  1. Stroke size – Users will want to set the thickness of the drawing tool .
  2. Gallery – Users will want to draw on top of a photo they’ve taken (or take a new photo), for example, to draw a funny mustache on a selfie.
  3. Multi Screen Size – Configuration change/screen orientation
  4. Select Shape – Users will want to place and resize predefined shapes (vectors) on screen, for example, rectangle, triangle or ellipse.

Learning Resources for Android Drawing App

Drawing app is one of those subjects where you have to take ownership of the learning process, no one tutorial will teach you everything that you need to know about drawing. As you learn to draw be willing to fill in the gaps on your own. Here are some resources to help you get started:

  1. Custom Drawing – an essential reading before you do anything related to creating a drawing app,
  2. Create a Drawing app – a three part tutorial that provides a great introduction to drawing in Android. Slightly dated by still very relevant.
  3. Android Drawing App Tutorial Part 1&2 – my very own two-part tutorial to create drawing app.

Calculator App

I believe the best way to learn Android development is to create complete apps instead of learning abstract concepts in isolation. In her book Android Activity Book, Corey Leigh Latislaw seems to favour that approach because she taught beginner Android development through a step by step process of creating a Calculator app like this one below.

By following the exercises in this book, these are some of the Android development skills you will learn.

  1. How to work with Fragments
  2. How to create user interface
  3. What is Event Bus and how to work with it
  4. What is Test Driven Development and how to incorporate it into your workflow
  5. Basic Java
  6. Basic error handling technique

Beyond the Basics

This book is actually incomplete and the author appears to have moved on which is not surprising, as an author myself I know first hand how challenging it is to keep up with the hyperloop that is Android development.

You will benefit a lot from the completed chapters of the book, so instead of waiting for the author to compete the book, go ahead and take what you learned and complete app.

Learning Resources for Calculator app

  1. Android Activity Book – already mentioned
  2. Android Calculator Tutorial – has decent code example
  3. Android Development: Creating a Basic Calculator – nice step by step instruction with downloadable PDF workbook

Resume App

If you are struggling to “get” Android development then you may want to find an app that you can create in one day. My book Create Your First Android App will help you to create a resume app in one day simply by copy and pasting information from your current resume into Android Studio. And in a couple hours, you will have an app that you can publish to the Play Store like this one.

And instead of sending out your PDF resume the next time you look for a job, you simply send the prospective employer to your resume in the Play Store, like mine here.

Learning Resource for Resume App

  1. Create Your First Android App book – by me, Val Okafor
  2. Pronto Resume video course – by me, Val Okafor


This has been a quick run down of the common Android app ideas that I have worked on; what was the first Android app that you created? Is it still published in the Play Store, use the comment bus below to let me know. I will be glad to check out your app.


About the Author valokafor

I am a Software Engineer with expertise in Android Development. I am available for Android development projects.