Just like last year, I present a list of the very best Android apps for the coming year – 2016. With currently almost 1,5 billion users, Android is the most used mobile operating system. It’s an incredible platform with lots of possibilities in terms of customisation and connectivity, making it an operating system that is running on thousands of smartphones all over the world. Companies such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola and Huawei all use this OS.
The apps listed below deserved a spot in the top because I use them often because of their usefulness, but also because of the usability and design, as well as how good they compare with similar apps in their category. Furthermore, the apps that were eligible had to be free to download and be updated in the past year (the same criteria as last year). The mobile applications are listed alphabetically; there is no particular ‘winner’. So without further ado, here my personal choice for the ten app champions in the Android world for 2016.
Similar to Google Authenticator, Authy is an app that allows you to enable 2-step verification on services that support it. Next to your regular password, you can enable an authenticator app (Authy, in this case) to generate an extra token. In short: if someone knows your password, they still couldn’t hack into your account since they would also need your smartphone.
Authy made the list because of its beautiful design, the ability to store your accounts in the cloud (which makes it easy to switch to a new smartphone without having to set up each account again) and multi-device support.
Device Manager is an app from Google which makes it possible to locate your lost or stolen Android device. Device Manager is also accessible via the web.
The app’s main functionalities are: locating your device (both smartphone and tablet), resetting the screen lock PIN and erasing the phone’s data. It’s an app you hope you’ll never need, but it might be a lifesaver one day.
A must-have app when you read online news often from various sources. With Feedly, I’ve been able to reduce the time needed to go through the latest news from my favourite online news sites and blogs. Simply add your RSS feeds into Feedly, add them to a category (e.g. business, marketing, IT) and you are ready to read!
The app made it to the list because it’s super easy to use (i.e. simple swipe gestures), fast to load, has lots of customisations (e.g. dark/night mode, animation options) and has a great design (i.e. material design).
Feedly: your work newsfeed: Download via Google Play
For the moment, FidMe is still one of the best loyalty cards apps. While the design is starting to get outdated and the start-up time is borderline acceptable, it’s still one of the most useful apps on my phone which I use multiple times a month. Scan all of your loyalty cards into FidMe and next time you go shopping, you’ll always have your loyalty cards with you.
A tip: you can share an account with family members. If someone adds a new card, all the others of your family cards will get updated with that latest card.
If I had to summarise what Google Keep does in two words, it would be: “organise everything”. Really, Google Keep is my de facto app when it comes to organising notes, pictures, recipes or even code snippets and grocery lists.
With some recent updates, you have the ability to give colours to your notes, categorise them (by adding tags) and share notes with other users. Extremely handy if you are a Google user – which you probably are. Tip: Google Keep is also accessible via the web interface.
Just like Authy, red seems to be the favourite colour of security-related apps. LastPass is a password manager. Such a manager lets you save all of your password and secure notes into a secure vault. You can then access this secure vault by entering one master password. You don’t need to remember any more password (hence the name last pass) and as such, you can now create crazy-hard-to-crack password like k-438]Y_78%p5$d9T since you don’t need to know them by heart any longer.
LastPass is free to use, but a Premium tier is available. Get one month of premium for free by using this link.
Play Newsstand is yet another Google app in my list and it’s also the second news reader app. With Feedly, you’re required to manually add your news sources. With Play Newsstand, Google will automatically suggest the best content and news stories based on popularity and relevance.
This app is great to get a quick grasp of the latest news: the ideal partner at breakfast or when using public transportation. The app could use a night mode and it could be a bit faster, but other than that I have nothing bad to say about this app.
Slack is some kind of IRC 2.0, or e-mail 2.0. With it’s slick (no pun intended) interface, Slack is the central hub for team communication. Slack has the power to replace those never-ending e-mail conversations, missing attachments and unfindable e-mails. Just add your team to Slack and make some relevant channels and your communication has never been easier.
Because Slack indexes all of the chats and attachments, I’ve always found what I was looking for in older conversations. What makes Slack even more powerful is the integrations with third-party services (see App Directory).
If you go out for dinner with friends, there is always the same hassle at the end of the meal: splitting the bill. Splitwise is an app (and they have web dashboard too) that makes this IOU and bill sharing a piece of cake. I use it with close friends mainly.
The app could use a new look, but apparently the development team is small and the resources are limited. But, it’s coming, they promised. For now, I certainly recommend it for its ease of use and usefulness.
Splitwise: Download via Google Play
My top 10 Android apps are listed alphabetically, which puts Waze on the last spot, but… I would definitely place it first! Waze is not just a navigation app; it is a community of drivers who share real-time traffic information and update the map on a regular basis.
Mainly the social aspect of Waze, as well as the rich features (e.g. gasoline prices, road alerts, places) make Waze my go-to app when driving. It’s simple: Waze saves me time by finding the fastest route and alerts me for any kind of hazard I might come across.
- LinkedIn: the app has recently been updated with a new design.
- Google Photos: no-nonsense photo hub, with unlimited storage.
- HERE Maps: offline navigation, but no match for Waze.
- IMDB: information about movies and series and the ability to add own ratings.
- Prey: free service to track a lost or stolen device.
So, that’s it for this year! I hope you found this list useful and you discovered one or more app that you liked. What top Android app did I miss according to you? Let me and the other viewers know in the comments!