See the most-used apps on my devices
As you may imagine, the editors here at Android Central see their fair share (and then some) of Android apps. We take an opportunity to show off apps we're using every week in the Apps of the Week column, but when it comes to choosing just a handful to represent my whole year of app usage, it's an exclusive group.
I'm not the biggest app user out there. If I'm going to have an app installed on my phone, it's because I use it regularly and couldn't live and work the way I do without it. That doesn't mean every single app on this list is strictly for productivity — "all work and no play," and all that — but rather that it's just an app that fits perfectly into my daily life.
Hit the break to see a list of apps that kept my devices going through the year of 2013.
Sure it’s a bit of a softball, but Gmail is one of those apps that seriously impacts the way I work and live my life on a daily basis. As any heavy Gmail user knows, it’s about more than just email -- calendar, contacts and every other important bit of your life is likely tied into your email account in one way or another. Even if it didn’t come preloaded on my Android devices, I would choose it in a heartbeat as my mobile email app of choice.
As has been the case since it debuted on the Play Store almost exactly a year ago, Press is my news reader of choice. Since launch, Press has gracefully moved from supporting Google Reader to Feedly (among others) and added new bits of functionality without compromising its great design and user experience.
After a long search for a Twitter client that fit my needs best, early on in 2013 I settled on Plume. Save for a short spell trying out the official Twitter client, I can easily say that for what I want (and need) out of Twitter can be handled by Plume. It’s fast, efficient, looks good and has all of the settings and tweaks I need to get the most out of the service. I would gladly pay even more than the $4.99 “Premium” version charges for this client.
As many of you that regularly read the site know, I’m quite a big MLS (that’s Major League Soccer) fan. Each year the MLS Matchday app just gets better and better, usually updated right before the season gets ready to kick off. With live scores, league news and full game highlights, it’s absolutely the place to go for MLS news during and after the season.
Yes, I still play Words With Friends. What has likely been a throwaway game for many has been a staple on my main home screen, bringing countless hours of competitive gameplay. Naturally I’ve paid the $3 (or so) to remove the ads -- which makes all the difference -- and considering how much I play this game it’s worth it.
Google and Facebook have been doing their best to get in on the “check-in” market, but there’s no denying that Foursquare still takes the cake. I don’t have too many Foursquare friends, but being able to simply check in with a central system and share out to multiple social networks at once makes it invaluable. It’s a great way to track where I’ve been over the years, as well as find recommendations for new places to try out.
Google Maps does a pretty good job of managing transit directions, but when it comes to getting info right from the source in the Seattle area, OneBusAway is the only choice. I use this app every single day to navigate busses, trains and ferries around Seattle, and it always gives me the best information available.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I likely spend more time at Starbucks throughout the average week than any other place besides my apartment, and having to only bring my smartphone to pay is great. No debit or credit card, no Starbucks card or any of that mess.
It’s hard to think of an app initiative from Google that has had more focus on it this year than Google Now. From the constant updates in the Play Store to its complete integration into the Nexus 5’s launcher, Google now likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And while I understand the limitations of it at this point, I appreciate the few things it does well -- weather, sports, traffic -- and look forward to the new updates that will undoubtedly keep coming.
I was a long-time Google Listen and BeyondPod user -- two apps not known for their great design -- so when Pocket Casts came out, it was an instant purchase for me. The app has a great design as we all know, and although it has had a few UI hiccups through the months with various updates, the folks at ShiftyJelly have kept up with support.