Andrew's App Picks

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.

MLS Matchday

MLS Matchday

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.

Words With Friends

Words With Friends Words With Friends

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.


Starbucks Starbucks

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.

Google Search

Google Search

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.

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

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.


Reader comments

Editors' top apps: Andrew's picks for 2013


I feel like you copied my most used apps (except replace OneBusAway with RideChicago). I usually get Chicago Fire score updates through ESPN but MLS MatchDay is great for getting info around the league. I also have an iPad so I do most of my Words with Friends on there especially since I paid for it on there first. Pocket Casts is a necessity though. One of the only apps I bought on both Android and iOS, mainly for its cross platform sync.

The Verge demoed PocketCasts for iOS when it came out and also mentioned it was on Android. I bought it instantly. Normally I might wait a couple months or so before throwing down a few bucks, but not then.

Sent via my Verizon Moto X

My main apps are Gmail, Google Drive, Google Now, Google Keep, Google Plus and of course, Hangouts. WhatsApp and Instagram.

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I want to like Plume, but it misses tweets. I like everything about it except that.

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Listing Gmail isn't a "softball" it's a "copout". Talk about Lazy, I really hoped for better, but this turned out to be by far the worst set of "Top Apps" by far.

Not sure how you can criticize a list of top apps so broadly. It's simply a list of apps that I used the most in the year... I use the Gmail app dozens (up to hundreds) of times per day, I'd be mistaken for not making it a top app.

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Bitches about a list LISTING ONLY THE TOP APPS USED BY THE GUY WHO WROTE it. Complains about content POSTED FREELY ON A WEBSITE NO ONE FORCES YOU TO VISIT. Declares he'll never visit again.

Good riddance I say. Readers like you, here and elsewhere, will most assuredly not be missed.

Farble will never visit here again and we'll never read farble's comments again either, sounds win win.

Sorry to be sarcastic, even though I only agree with about 80% of their opinions here, that's what they are' "opinions." You don't have to agree or even read their opinions here, they are a bit more involved and experienced in the tech world than normal users and that is who they write for. This is a news site for android and that's why I keep coming back. I would rather read from them on apps to look and discover than scrolling through the play store's terrible search results for things I may need or want, and value their opinion more than the comments in the play store.

See the difference is that this list is not "the absolute only app you should use for..." list. It was the list of the most used apps for this editor. Period. I use the outlook app since I've had my msn account for almost 15 years and don't feel like replacing it. Is it the best email app, probably not, but if I was posting my top apps it would be there.

I wish I had a list that made sense. Yahoo weather Android central messaging. Yup that's all I do. Oh and browser. Woo

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The great thing about the MLS app is that the videos are uploaded quickly. Saw Tim Cahill 's record time goal minutes later while on a trip. Great app suggestions.

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AC is the best, strongest Android fan site on the web. the contributors work hard and do a great job . but the App picks are consistently the absolute worst. almost always common, obvious, mundane, or for a finite niche that few care about.

what's my new pick? again -

Calendar Status
Sagi Lowenhardt - December 27, 2013

This isn't supposes to be a list of the coolest hipster underground indie apps you've never heard of... It's a list of my most used apps over 2013.

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for example - Gmail? really? did you really need to list that one? does that bring any value whatsoever to the reader? most used or not - i still expect to see something at least remotely intriguing. i could give you a much better list given the same criteria. i expect better. your effort here was lazy and uninspired. i give you an F on this project!

come on, Martonik! kick up your game a notch! it's almost 2014!!!!!!

Here's an idea: don't like an article, or someone's picks? Move onto something else. Whining that someone's most used apps don't conform to your high standards makes you look like a dick.

Oh, it's just Gekko. He's been trollin' since ages long past. I remember his antics from PalmInfoCenter and other sites. Sometimes he's entertaining, sometimes he's just....Gekko.

How about a swap? You learn capitalization and Andrew will be more obscure in his picks. Deal?

I disagree with you on the focus of this article. These are the editors most used apps. It provides interesting insight into the lives of others or why they chose the ones they did. Also useful for all those just starting out with Android.

However I must say I looked up Calendar Status. Looks interesting and different. Downloading to check it out.

I gave Pocket Casts a try. I think I'll stick with BeyondPod, which just seems less cluttered and easier to navigate to me. It also seems to have more options, and gives me more info at a glance.

To each their own, I just wish Pocket Casts had a trial version so I didn't have to spend $4 to find out it's not as good as BeyondPod. I'll keep playing with it since I have it just to see if I change my mind though.

As a fellow commuter in Seattle I'm also a OneBusAway user. It took me a day or two to get used to the interface, but once I got it set up I've never been late for the bus since. Very useful app.

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It's "soccer" in the states... "fútbol" (spelling?) almost everywhere else... not very popular in the states... extremely popular everywhere else. It's the #1 sport in the world. Don't be an idiot.

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These apps suck because they aren't new, unique or exciting or what I like to use!
What the hell were you thinking???

great list Andrew. unfortunately, people who don't "get" Starbucks never will. my girlfriend is a barista and people still come in and bitch and moan on a daily basis. no one is forcing them to go and drink coffee, i don't get the hating. (plus I got a $75 worth of sbux cards for Christmas!)

That being said, have you tried using "mycoffeecard pro" from birbeck? I've been using it since before starbucks released the android app (which still is a pretty lousy app as far as i'm concerned). It syncs with your Starbucks account and loads super fast.

Good call on pocketcasts too - I was a long time Google Listen user, but the podcast syncing and features they've been adding made PC an instant-buy for me too.

The only ones I share are Gmail and Foursquare. I used to use Plume back in my Evo 4G days, but they still don't have push notifications (right? I haven't missed this have I?) and that has always bugged me. I purchased it, so I go back to it from time to time, but it hasn't managed to capture me back yet.

The official Twitter app is the smoothest and the best at doing notifications for DMs, mentions, favorites, follows and RTs, but they keep changing things around, they don't open Instagram pics in app (although launching the link and having Instagram pick it up works pretty well), they don't open yfrog or other image sharing links in the app (but TwitPic does work). I was using Tweetings before staying with Twitter. I like their app, they do push notifications pretty well, but it doesn't feel as smooth. I also bought the app.

The other apps I use all the time are Instagram, Play Music (I kicked Spotify out because they still have not fixed the way notifications take over, they pause instead of lowering the volume. It's annoying), BeyondPod is my latest Podcasting app love, and they do Chromecast streaming now!, Snapseed is used ALL the time to do small touchups and Waze is a must for commuters. Chrome Beta is my browser of choice, so it gets used a lot too. Facebook and Messenger are just there to receive notifications, and Whatsapp also gets a lot of use to keep in touch with friends. Hangouts is the SMS app of choice, especially now that they finally do group MMS well and they support animated GIFs on MMS and Google Talk contacts. I love that. Also love it on Google Plus, which would get used more if I had more people using it.

I like Gmail. I thought MLS was a STD. My favorite read is the Guardian. Breaking Bad marathon is on. Shhhhhhhh!

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Pocket Casts have replaced Beyond Pod for me and I really like it. Although I wish its cross-device sync could be more seamless like audible or google playbooks.

I am rather baffled as to why you thought listing your personal most used apps would add any value to the readership of especially when you admit that you aren't a big app user...why take space on androidcental front page to write on a topic that you admit are not an expert on.

if the name of this website was then sure you could be pompous enough to make a list of your personal apps and put it on your own website thinking people would care.

This is and your readership extends thousands of miles beyond your little Seattle so this post adds absolutely no knowledge to 99.99% of your readership especially since you ridiculously list an app such as Gmail which comes preloaded on every android device anyways, not to mention listing your Seattle specific app which only 0.0001% of readers of the article could find useful.

Common sense [should] dictate[s] that when you are writing an article on a website with readers from many different countries in the world, you write an article that appeals to a broader audience than your siblings or your bus buddies. I suggest keeping these kinds of posts in your personal diary journal.

As mentioned by many before, 'Uninspired' and 'lazy' sum up your article.

You guys are COMPLETELY missing the point of these "editors app picks" articles. They are not to highlight unique and unheard of apps, but rather to give us an idea of how the writers of AC have used their devices in the past year. You don't have to like their choices, that's why it isn't "XperImnenT's 2013 app picks for 2013". Stop being so overly critical.

I'm not being overly critical, I just don't see a point in taking up space on front page of a respected android website to list personal apps of some dude especially when the guy admits he's not a big app user. Front page of AC is not the place for such an article. This topic is for the forums.

I have access to the bulletin board of the medical hospital that I work at but I don't go and post a brochure on how chilli beans affected the consistency of my poop last night.

I don't many people care or value that some guy used Gmail a lot in 2013. whoopdy doo.

Yep, use Gmail if you want to go blind with its ultra bright backgrounds; just like every other Google app, it's junk and I use the fewest possible, all others are disabled.

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Maybe you should try a different OS. Saying Google Apps are junk is a joke. I use so many Google Apps and they are without a doubt have the best design and functionality. If I made a list of apps I used the most in 2013 the majority would be Google Apps.


Top 10

1. Launcher
2. Dashclock Widget
3. Fitbit
4. Google Keyboard
5. Phone
6. Play Store
7. Motorola Active Displays
8. Gmail
9. Hangouts
10. Falcon Pro


I didn't truly appreciate Google now till I traveled out of the country. It automatically gave me the time and weather back home as well as the current location and it also had a super handy card for currency conversion. I had even downloaded a currency app but never had to use it since I could simply plug in numbers right on G Now!

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Pocketcast is my app of the year thanks for the list from all you guys. Enjoy seeing what people are using.

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Good list, and sound rationalizations.
Was using Pulse but LinkedIn snagged them, not too worried about a replacement just yet.
Dont really follow Twitter or Sports, dont check-in places, really only share things with a small group of people, but then I'm not an editor at AC :)
Main page of the phone starts with GoogleNow and GoogleCal.
Gmail, K-9 and Hangouts, Touchdown when I work at an exchange shop.
Houston is not bus friendly so GoogleMaps is opened almost every time I get in the car. The HoustonTraffic app is a perfect minimalist presentation of the county traffic map, and when I need to know if the latest thunderstorm may threaten I use RadarNow.
Rounding out the homepage is ProCapture (Omniroms camera doesnt quite cut it) and PCM recorder for audio notes.
On the left screen I have folders (Sys, Tools, Internet, Place, Office, Google, Media and Games)
I only have the google search box here, and Quicknote because it took in all my windows pocketPC notes.
And the clock. Wakes me up every day.
For games I mostly do smallish 5-10 minutes things, so Backgammon, NHexLite and Safe Trip (Milles Bourne)
Im enough of a photographer to use Snapseed or PixlrExpress to edit photos before sending them. Im on a Note 2 so Everynote/Skitch have been very useful for projects. Pictures with dimensions makes a world of a difference.
Of course SuperSU, Droidwall, Adfree, Webroot, Clueful and Titanium Backup are installed, as is the excellent PhilzTouch CWM.
Barcode Scanner is a necessity, KeePassDroid since Ive been on the internet for decades, Wifi Analyzer and Antennas to know where to stand.
LED Scroller lets me harass friends from across the room.
Was using Walkman or Deadbeef in the car and at home for audio (30G on the SDcard) but Omnirom keeps deleting everything except Music. Google, leave my jams alone.

Great list. This is content that I much appreciated as a reader of Androidcentral. Pocket casts is a must and I paid and never regretted. Looking forward to the other editors' lists as well.

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This thread cracks me up!

"Never discuss religion or politics at a party"... I guess we need to add Apps too!

Damn Andrew, your getting killed in here.

Thanks for the list, go get an 11$ Starbucks you hipster you.

/I keed you

Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Does the AC app cover how to pull up Multi-Windows on a Galaxy II notebook?

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