Android has had its biggest year yet, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be stopping any time soon. It’s broken records, produced some amazing phones and tablets and changed markets all around the world. This is mainly thanks to all the hard-working developers who develop apps for the platform, helping it thrive and produce real competition for its main rival, Apple’s iOS platform. It’s also because ordinary people like me and you have noticed, and bought these Android phones and apps which have also contributed to the immense growth of the platform.
It seems fitting to make a collection of the top apps from 2011.
You can also check out – Top 20 Android Games of 2011
Note: The apps are in no particular order. Apps are not solely judged on the most downloaded, or all we’d have is Angry Birds and weather apps. We have mainly picked apps based on usefulness and functionality. This is so underrated apps, which we think are amazing, also get a chance.
1. Google Currents
Google Currents is the Flipboard for Android. Google saw the growth of Flipboard and knew they had to get in there before they did. Google Currents lets you read all your RSS feeds and more in a magazine-esque fashion. Letting you swipe across articles and keeping everything as minimal as possible so you can concentrate on the content.
Unfortunately Google only released the app for the US. Not to worry we have the APK! – Google Currents, The Flipboard for Android | Download APK
Any.DO is one of my personal favourites and has become one of my most used apps. It’s a To Do/tasks app which has a beautiful UI and is dead simple to use. I particularly like the voice to text feature, works amazingly well.
3. Swiftkey X Keyboard
Swiftkey X is a replacement keyboard for Android. It has become one of the most popular replacement keyboards for the Android platform and supports an array of languages. It features an amazing text prediction system which also learns how you type, making it more useful the more you use it.
4. Facebook 2011
The new Facebook was launched this month with a complete re-design and speed optimization. Facebook have really upped their game in the mobile market and the new Android app really shows this off. It’s also become so popular that there are more active people per day using it on Android than iPhone users.
5. Twitter 2011
Twitter was another social network which got a big re-design, both on the desktop and mobile apps. The Android version is a lot better looking than before and is a lot more engaging, bringing a whole new “Discover” tab which enables you to find popular content on Twitter.
6. Google Plus
Then there was 3. Google launched their own social network this year. It quickly took on millions of users and has become very popular within the Android community. The Google+ app is one of the most beautiful and minimal apps out there for Android. It’s a joy to use. The deep integration with Android also makes it unavoidable, good or bad? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
7. Path 2.0
Path is a whole new type of social network. It is a mobile-specific social network so everything is done from your phone. You post updates, pictures, places and more. It got a huge re-design and re-launch very recently and has been climbing rapidly since.
Instagram are taking their time to come over to Android. Inevitably someone was going to fill that hole and Lightbox didn’t fail. Lightbox is a social image sharing network just like Instagram but it has been made specifically for Android. You can follow your friends and also explore other people’s pictures. They also have a web version so you can manage from your desktop.
Pixlr-o-matic, another one of my personal favourites, is a great photo editing app. It lets you add simple layer filters, borders and effects to your pictures. There are over 25,000 possible finishes for a picture, making sure you will never get bored.
Pano is a simple photography app for Android which lets you take panoramic pictures. It has a very simple easy-to-use interface. You can take complete 360-degree panoramas where 16 individual pictures are stitches together. You’ll now be able to capture the whole scene.
WidgetLocker is a simple lock-replacement app which transforms your lockscreen. Now instead of the two sliders, unlock and mute, you can add widgets and apps right on your lockscreen. Making the lockscreen a lot more functional. Early this year the ability to add custom themes was added, enabling you to make your lockscreen as unique as you wanted.
12. Read it Later Pro
Read it Later is an app which literally lets you save anything to read later. It’s a great app and I use it extensively. It’s great for anyone who reads a lot on their Android phones and might want to save something note-worthy for later.
13. BBC News
BBC News is the top source of news here in the UK. Also many others around the world use it. It’s by far the most popular app on Android to keep up with UK related news.
Pulse is a great RSS reader app which has become one of the most popular on Android and iOS. You can organize RSS feeds into sections and categories. You can also check out featured sites which you may interested in. Enabling you to find even more content you may like.
AirDroid is probably the best app for managing your Android device from your computer without any wires. It connects to your device via WiFi and a passcode. All data is also encrypted so you can be assured your data is secure. You can manage things like media, messages, contacts, apps and more all from your computer’s web browser.
Spotify has had a huge year, both on the desktop and mobile. It has become the most popular way to stream music to your device without actually buying any of it. You pay a monthly fee and get unlimited access to over 15 million tracks. You can try all the premium features for free for a limited time, which massively helps you decide whether it is worth your money or not.
Carriers have been limiting the data we use now, most giving us only 500MB per month. This will be enough for most users but there will always be people who go over their data limit. Onavo is an app which lets you monitor your data usage and notifies you if you’re using too much data, or nearly reaching your limit. You can even block apps which you don’t want using any of your 3G data. It’s an app I stand by and have since the developers gave me a private BETA version of it. I’m sure many others will also benefit from it.
The stock Android gallery isn’t to my taste and I’m sure the same applies to many others. QuickPic is a great gallery app which simply shows everything in tiles. No fancy effects or anything, simple image viewing. It’s also very quick to load compared to the stock Android gallery app.
DoubleTwist is one of the best music apps for Android, without a shadow of a doubt. The app has evolved to become a music playing powerhouse, adding extensive features and the ability to wirelessly sync your music with AirSync. It’s also bloody good looking.
20. Google Maps
We couldn’t miss out Google Maps now could we? Google Maps is one of the most useful apps on Android which no other OS can enjoy. It’s one of the Android apps which really sets it apart from the rest of the competition. The app has developed over the year, adding features like Places and indoor maps. Navigation has also been evolving, making getting your way around a lot easier. Google Maps is one of the main features which made me go for an Android phone. The ability to navigate without having to purchase any additional software or hardware is blowing the competition out of the water.
If you think there are other apps which deserve to be noticed, leave a comment down below. We’d love to see your suggestions and discover new apps at the same time.
And on a side note, I hope you enjoy the random picture below.
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