This year saw a great crop of new and updated apps to make your Android device more useful, productive and entertaining.
We’ve rounded up 40 of the best ones we tested all through 2016 – flip through our list, find your favorites and be sure to let us know which ones you’re rocking on your own device into the new year.
Communication and social
Messenger’s chat bubbles are a convenient way to view messages and respond to them without leaving your current app. But what if you could do that with all your chat services?
Enter Flychat. It works with WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, Google Hangouts, Line, Skype and Twitter, and brings all your messages into a chat bubble interface that floats above your screen. It’s useful for folks who have contacts on multiple messaging services, and is well worth the $1 in-app purchase price that removes ads and enables deeper customization.
Messenger and Telegram now do games, but Google’s new messaging app does something even cooler: It uses AI to predict intelligible replies to whatever your contact says, and it even works with images.
Allo also integrates Assistant into its chat interface, so it’ll surface useful information cards, like restaurant recommendations when you and a friend are trying to figure out where to eat. It’s still not perfect, as it doesn’t work on multiple devices per account and must be linked to your phone number, but it’s still an interesting new alternative if you’re tired of the current lot of messengers.
I considered including Google Duo in this list simply because it’s new for 2016, but the FaceTime-style video calling app simply doesn’t have anything on the competition just yet (it doesn’t even do voice calls).
By contrast, Facebook’s Messenger has received a boatload of useful updates this year that make it a compelling choice for connecting with your friends. It now works with Android Auto, lets you make payments with PayPal, supports fully encrypted one-on-one chats, and it even offers a range of games you can play with any of your contacts without having to download additional packages.
As for video chat? It’s already been able to do that for a while, but now Messenger can also handle group video calls with up to 50 people – just in time for the holidays.
Need a spicy GIF to kill a thread or pepper a conversation? Giphy’s got you covered with its robust GIF search engine.
As with its online service, you can find reactions, memes and other clips for just about any occasion and share them in messaging apps, email and social networks.
When 140 characters just isn’t enough for a proper rant on Twitter, Storm It is just the thing. It lets you write up a tweetstorm and automatically breaks them up into separate tweets and publishes them for you. It’ll even add a tweet count and avoid breaking up words in your text, so your tweets are easy to read and follow.
➤ Storm It
It’s not exactly new for 2016, but Google Calendar got a bunch of useful updates this year that keeps in the running for best calendar app around.
In addition to scheduling events and meetings, you can also add reminders that you be notified of on your desktop. And if you’re trying to build a good habit, like gymming regularly, the app can now help you do that by automatically scheduling time for it and tracking your goals.
Plus, if you use it with G Suite, it can scan your contacts’ calendars to help you both find a suitable time for a meeting, as well an empty conference room.
Google Keep is my mobile note-taking app of choice because it bundles several useful features into a simple interface that gets out of the way when you just need to jot something down quickly.
In addition to allowing you to create lists, add photos and scribble on notes, Keep can also grab the text from an image, allow you to annotate images by drawing on them and save entire Web pages for future reference.
It also lets you organize notes by color and tag, and comes with a handy widget that lets you view important information (like a booking number) without having to launch the app first.