One of the first apps I downloaded on Android was Astro File Manager, which was the clear leader in the early days of the platform. It's got more than 50 million downloads on the Play Store, but a lot of users have moved to other apps. Maybe some will come back to Astro with the new v6.0 update, which is currently in beta. It's a pretty significant redesign.
If you're not familiar with it, Samba is an open-source implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol. It allows many Unix-based operating systems to connect to Windows file shares and printers, making it easy to transfer files over a network between operating systems. Out of nowhere, Google has released a Samba client for Android.
Android has included a built-in file manager since 6.0 Marshmallow called Files, but it hasn't had an app drawer icon. Instead, Android shows a 'Downloads' app, which is technically just a shortcut to the Downloads folder in Files with some functionality removed. Starting with Android O, the Downloads shortcut has been replaced by the full Files application.
There is no shortage of file managers on the Play Store. But Solid Explorer remains my favorite, simply because of its Material design and ease of use. For you power users out there, it also boasts drag and drop, FTP/WebDAV/SMB client support, batch file management, and much more. Solid Explorer has just been bumped to version 2.2, and there's a lot to get excited about.
Motorola was the first major smartphone maker to start putting its stock apps in the Play Store. Before that, OEMs would only update those apps as part of an OTA update. It sounds positively barbaric by today's standards. Motorola isn't done yet, though. Just today it added its stock file manager to the Play Store. You won't see much in the way of improvements this time, but who knows what the future could bring?
File management is a necessity for many Android users, but few manufacturers provide a fully-featured app to do so. If you want to be able to tap into all that is possible with your file system, you will need a third party option like File Expert.
The SHIELD TV is the best Android TV device around, even if its competition isn't up to much. With NVIDIA's Tegra X1 architecture and an available 500GB hard drive on the Pro model, one might wonder why something like the fan-favorite Plex software wasn't available before. (Plex was previously installed on the SHIELD, but only as a client for streaming media from another server.) Well soon enough it will be: NVIDIA and Plex announced that the next update to the SHIELD firmware will include a built-in Plex media server.
When you go to the Storage area of settings and tap on Misc. to see what's eating up your free space, Android tosses up a rather basic file manager. You can select top-level directories and delete them. That's it. This screen doesn't even let you dive in and see what files are lurking about.
In Android M, Misc. changes to Other files. But that's just the beginning. Not only can you descend into directories, you're treated to an interface that looks more like a file manager. You can swap to a grid view, copy items, and share what's selected.
An app called File Expert is probably going to be an expert at managing files. One would hope, anyway, and in this case, one probably wouldn't be disappointed. File Expert can move your files around, measure your storage space, organize content automatically, and keep track of apps. Now it can do all of these things while looking up-to-date. That's right, in version 7, File Expert goes material.
The user interface is now turquoise and white all over the place. Brightly-colored, square-shaped icons accompany each item. The experience is still very tab heavy, but it has transitioned in a way that looks more at home on Lollipop.