2014 has been a fantastic year for all of we Android users. Dozens of great new apps and games have hit the market, bringing with them innovative proposals and more efficient ways of making things happen.
We've reviewed thousands of them in Appszoom to help you decide which are worth installing next. There are just a few, though, that made a real difference in our lives. Gems that shine brighter than the rest.
Unlike other Best Apps compilations out there, we've selected only those new apps and games that were RELEASED in 2014 (and a few in Q4 2013) and automatically became must-haves for our expert team.
Get a load of the very best of 2014 before the year ends!
Inbox zero was just a pipe-dream for me until Dropbox's Mailbox hit Android a few months ago. Mailbox provides a friendly way to manage your inbox: simple swipe gestures.
Like the standard Gmail client, swiping to the right will archive and trash emails. However, what if you do want to keep an email around, but just don't want to deal with it now? Here's the cool bit about Mailbox: swipe left to snooze the puppy, selecting when exactly you'd like the message in question to return to the forefront.
The design is classic and clear. All the standard email functions you'd expect are here. To top it off, it's free. What more do you want?
Pushbullet has become such an indispensable app for me that it's like I've been using it for ages, when it was actually released just a year ago.
Pushbullet is one of those simple services that make you say "Damn! Why didn't I come up with that before?" It pushes simple text notes, links, media, and other content across all your devices (mobile and desktop) seamlessly. Never email yourself again, they say. I can swear you won't.
Although that's its main functionality, the guys at Pushbullet keep adding new interesting features, such as Chrome extensions, universal copy/paste across devices, IFTTT recipes, and Channels. The latter is like a RSS feed you can subscribe to, so you get push notifications when publishers update content.
The lock screen is probably the element we interact the most with when using our mobile device. Why not put it to work for us? That's the idea behind Locket.
Locket is a smart lock screen replacement which pushes news feeds to your lock screen based on your interests. First, select topics you're interested in (tech, business, news, games, style...). From then on, every time you unlock your screen, random news from within those categories will show up, full screen.
You can decide to read them, share them, favorite them (this will save them for later and will make the recommendation engine more accurate), launch the camera, or unlock the screen. Of course, you can swipe left/right to discover more stories without even unlocking the screen.
Afterlight is the compulsive shutterbug's dream come true: the ultimate mobile photo editing studio. It's intuitive and attractive, as well as infinitely tweakable.
From basic brightness/contrast sliders to fine-tuning the colors of the highlights/shadows, the fifteen tools on offer allow you to adjust your photos to look exactly as you please. Use any of the 59 filters to instantly give your snaps glow, glamour, or gloom. A section dedicated to light leaks and scratches allows you to texture your digital pictures.
You've been putting up with the limitations of other photo editors for too long. Seriously, Afterlight is the end-all be-all photo app as of its release. If you love adjusting your photos to look just so, it's absolutely worth the small price tag.
Van Gogh, eat your heart out. Part of the Autodesk family of drawing apps, Autodesk SketchBook is a comprehensive drawing studio for beginners and professionals alike.
If you register with Autodesk, you'll have access to layers (like Photoshop), allowing you to modify different parts of your drawing. Navigating your art is intuitive; using two fingers allows you to pan and zoom (up to 2500%). Linking up with Dropbox and/or DeviantArt allows you to save your work where you like.
Upgrading to the Pro Tools gives you access to a huge brush library with over 100 preset pens, markers, pencils, and brushes, including Smudge and Synthetic options. Layer options are more advanced, a full Copic color library is included, and you get to use tools like the Lasso and the Magic Wand.
It's true that there are lots of Twitter clients for Android already. That's why competition is so fierce, and only those who take care of details stand out from the crowd.
In steps Fenix for Twitter: a well-designed, highly customizable Twitter client that beats even the official Twitter app.
Fenix's interface is neat and polished. You can tweak appearance from settings, and set syncing parameters such as refresh interval, max tweets per refresh, refresh on startup, and many others at your whim. It aldo supports multi accounts, gestures and multiple swipable streams.
In a nutshell, its a Twitter client which is totally and unequivocally worth its price tag.
It's not the first time you hear it, but, dude, using the same password for every service you sign up isn't the best way to keep your data safe from cyber criminals. 1Password can help you deal with that.
1Password is a service which generates and save ultra strong passwords for you. OK, maybe that didn't sound super sexy, but I can tell you the app is a must-have.
1Password allows you to store all kind of sensitive info such as ID numbers, credit cards, bank accounts... so you can access them whenever you need them. Of course, you must set up a unique password to launch the app, which keeps would-be stalkers at bay. Its built-in password generator will allow you to create stronger passwords. You can save all of them and copy them onto the clipboard when you need them.
Start using different strong passwords for all your services and stop worrying about forgetting them.
Yes, Monument Valley absolutely lives up to all of the hype. It was the immediate obvious favorite pick of the office; its cleverly impossible spacial puzzles enchant even folks who "don't play games."
Each level is lovingly crafted such that you wordlessly learn the mechanics of twisting optical illusions through space. Forget HAL's beeps and boops: the elegance of the Monument Valley experience is the next wave of futuristic design.
Monument Valley costs $3.92, and there are no in-app purchases. Unfortunately, the devs have indicated that the Forgotten Shores expansion won't be making its way to Android anytime soon - but the initial release more than merits your love.
Bounden is totally "Action." What could be more Active than actually getting up and waltzing around the room with a partner?
You've never seen anything like Bounden before. It is a cooperative dancing game, making full use of your device's gyroscope to direct you and your ballet buddy to spin and twirl around the room together. We gushed about it back around the release date - check out - lauding it as innovative, intuitive, hysterical (just try playing it without getting the giggles), and even excellent foreplay (Watch What Happens).
With Bounden, mobile gaming takes a pas de chat into the future.
Bounden costs $4.48, and there are no in-app purchases.
You there, sir! Have you any idea of how brilliant it is that 80 Days comes out for Android on the same day as the composition of this list? No? Well, pack your bags, Passepartout, and let me take you for a little journey 'round the world of dynamic, interactive fiction.
80 Days is based on the eponymous Jules Verne novel, yes, but from there departs into a sprawling steampunk world shaped by your every decision. Your "goal" is to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days, yes, but the stories that develop while you traverse the desert sands in an airship captained by a Russian spy are the real treasure here.
The writing's nothing short of brilliant, managing to weave a coherent, compelling journey out of a series of thousands of individual points. The graphic design is gorgeous art-deco that leaves visualizing the events of the text to your imagination (where it belongs!). As if that weren't enough, the world map actually shows other travelers' adventures as they happen - so next time you can be intrigued to head up through Siberia or down through Jakarta in their wake.
80 Days costs $5.00, and there are no in-app purchases.