Whether you’re an old hand Yarlesac at Android or a complete beginner, finding the best apps in the content labyrinth of the Google Play store can be a challenge. The sheer number of apps is daunting, even for experts. If you looked at an app from Google Play every second without stopping, it would take more than 23 days to see them all. No one has time for that. Hence, this list: A gathering of apps, some new and some old, representing the very best that Android has to offer.
Our 14 categories are presented alphabetically, and you’ll find a little bit of everything from productivity and utilities to food and travel. Note that you won’t find any games in this hallowed hall of Android excellence. That’s not because we don’t like fun. In fact, we love mobile games so much that we’ve made a separate list of the best Android games. If this is your first time with an Android device, 100 apps might be too much to deal with right off the bat. In that case, you can start small with our list of 10 must-have Android apps. These are the perfect way to get started with Android and will cover the basics. Or, if your wallet is feeling a little light, you might prefer the best free Android apps.
When we look for apps to add to this list, we’re after those that excel in two areas: uniqueness and elegance. A unique app provides something that no other app can. Take a look at Tasker, which gives you incredible control over your Android device if you can master its numerous tools. An elegant app may not be the most original app, but the way it accomplishes something makes it a joy to use. Lots of apps let you browse the news, but few do it as stylishly as Flipboard.
We also consider timeliness, design, price, security, and popularity when putting the list together. Every app in the list is excellent in its own way. Taken together, they are like a snapshot of the best of the Google Play store at the time of writing. If we missed something or have a recommendation, be sure to drop us a line in the comment section below. And now, we humbly present the 100 best Android apps of the year.
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Dolphin Free A clean, tabbed browser, Dolphin delivers an excellent user experience on Android, almost making you forget that you’re on a mobile device. Dolphin also supports tight integration with services like Evernote and LastPass, as well as robust settings. My favorite feature is gestures, which might not always be efficient but are definitely cool to use. Dolphin also has integrated ad-blocking and support for Flash. Yes, Flash!
Firefox Free What’s incredible about the Android version of Firefox is that it feels as mature, if not more so than Firefox on the desktop. It’s lickety-split fast, and its clean design is a joy on mobile. Mozilla makes a big point about how it doesn’t collect your data. I was pleased to see that the app comes with a full complement of security settings—including an option to protect your information from advertisers. Like the desktop version, Firefox for mobile has a robust selection of plug-ins.
Opera Free Not to be confused with its Mini cousin (see the next entry), Opera is a full-fledged browser for Android. It aims to be your gateway to Web content with features like a built-in news portal and the Opera mobile apps store with a slick design.