As we near the end of 2012, it’s always fun to look back at the year that was. With Android still on the rise, we have seen a number of amazing new Android apps hit the market. In fact, there are probably enough that we could have done this list three or four different ways. But since the focus needed to be on the ten that I can’t live without, I had to narrow it down. In the list below, you’ll get a feel for how I choose to experience life with a smartphone. Browsers, image editors, social networks, sports, and games are all a part of the story.
1. Chrome (Free):
Google first released Chrome to Android in February and forever changed the browser experience on a smartphone. The day it dropped, was the day I switched and never looked back. Chrome for Android syncs every single tab I have open from my laptop to my desktop to my tablet to my phone. It holds all of my bookmarks that are attached to my Google account, you can swipe quickly between open tabs, and it offers quick access to full or mobile versions of websites. I could go on and on about how amazing Chrome has been for mobile browsing, but I’ll instead let you grab it for free and experience it for yourself.
2. Instagram (Free):
This may seem like an obvious choice, but if you know me, it may not be. And I say that because I’m not a big fan of social networks. I spend all day on a computer covering the world of Android and smartphones, so when I’m done working for the day, the last thing I want to do is spend another couple of hours cruising Facebook, Twitter or Google+. But with Instagram, it’s so much different. It’s pictures. It’s a timeline. It’s a story of others’ lives presented in the simplest of fashions. This I can do. Instagram, to me, is the perfect social network. You get to see the world through the eyes of your friends.
3. Falcon Pro ($0.99):
I was a diehard Hootsuite user when it came to Twitter clients until about two weeks ago when Falcon Pro was released onto Google Play. It is now, without a doubt, my favorite Twitter app of all time. You can access your timelines, mentions and direct messages with a simple swipe and tap. But after that, you can access all your lists or current trends with a similar swipe and tap. Navigating the app is about as simple as you’ll find on any app, something I can’t talk enough about. I used to be into Twitter apps with columns, but the side-panel design used in Falcon is so much better. The UI is done beautifully, the support the developer has given has been tremendous, and the full feature set is still on the way, yet it remains the best.
4. Pocket (Free):
Pocket used to be called “Read It Later,” an app that wasn’t introduced in 2012. However, it became Pocket during 2012 after receiving a full makeover, so I’ve included it in my list. This app allows you to browse the web and save articles to be read at a later time. You can categorize each article with tags, read in dark or light modes, continue reading something exactly where you left off, and sync it between PC, tablet or smartphone. It’s beautifully designed, incredibly simple yet powerful, and is an app that has made my job so much more organized.
5. Nova Launcher (Free):
One of the reasons I love Android so much, is the fact that it allows me to customize my phone to my liking. With an app like Nova Launcher, you get to take full advantage of this ability. It’s a 3rd party launcher, which means it replaces the stock home experience on your phone. Once applied, it gives you the ability to use custom icons, adjust grid sizes, change home screen transitions, manipulate the app drawer, and so much more. If there was something in your stock home experience that you weren’t enjoying, Nova likely has a fix.