50 best Android apps 2015

The best free and paid-for Android apps

17. Amazon Appstore

Amazon Appstore


It's a bit of a fuss to get Amazon Appstore on your phone as Google's not too keen on rival app stores popping up on Google Play, but it's worth doing. Mainly for the freeloading aspect, as Amazon sticks up a paid-for app for free every day. Most are a bit rubbish, but some properly decent paid apps do occasionally pop up. Add it to your daily trawl, just in case.

18. Google Keep

Google Keep


Google's so proud of its Google Keep, its cross-platform note-taking tool that it's recently started pre-loading it as part of the core Android feature set. It comes with a stylish widget, integrates voice dictation for those Alan Partridge moments of creative inspiration, plus if you use Keep on a Chromebook it seamlessly syncs with mobile notes saved there. A great way of coordinating mobile and laptop lives.

19. Spotify


Free (premium version needs a subscription)

No, wait. it is free. Sort of. Spotify now comes with a stipped-down playlist-cum-radio combo for users who don't pay for the service but still want to use it on mobile, accompanied by a swish new tablet interface that has much more in common with the free desktop browser player. So yes, it's free. hobbled a bit, but free.

20. Unclouded

Best Android Apps
Unclouded - making cloud solutions that bit simpler


Unclouded is a simple and very stylish way of integrating Google and Dropbox cloud services, resulting in one single app that lets you see what stuff you've got backed up to each service. It makes it easy to pull out file duplicates and see breakdowns of the percentages used up by each folder. It's not groundbreaking, but it is a nicely designed thing and a pleasure to use.

21. Airbnb



A posh B&B listings service designed specifically around mobile app use, the selling point of Airbnb is that it personalises the hosts, so if you really want to stay in Glasgow with a cheery looking alternative lifestyle man called Dave snoring in the next room, it's ideal.

22. DashClock Widget



DashClock Widget is a stonking addition to any Android phone running version 4.2 of Google's code or higher, as it adds new active plugins to the lock screen. This means your lock screen can have a torch button, the weather, unread text messages and more, plus there's a development community out there building new extra features all the time.

23. Instagram



One of those services you might as well start using because everyone's using it. The Instagram Android app took a while to appear, but is now live, looking good and offers a simple way of taking and editing your square photographs of lunch, sunsets, cats etc. Plus it now has fashionable effect tilt shift for making things look small. Not that that's ever something we've wanted. Quite the opposite, usually.

24. Kindle



Amazon's Kindle app connects seamlessly with its online book shop services, letting account holders send books to the app, sync existing libraries via the cloud, and access books across the many Android phones and tablets people have kicking about the place these days. Of course there's also a shop in it, as flogging you books is the reason Amazon is offering this comprehensive cloud reader for free.

25. Tinder



Tinder is a… how do we put this? It's a dating app, to put it nicely, one that uses your Facebook account (or a hurriedly created secondary one) and location details to generate a list of other users of the app that are also bored, probably drunk, and nearby. You then get a list of others to swipe through, starring any you like the look of. It's not a deep process. Should any of them star you back, you're able to start chatting and… maybe more. So they say, anyway. I've never used it.

26. Endomodo PRO


£1.99 ($4.99, $AU3.68)

The popular sports tracker covers every sport you can think of apart from curling, managing to track your runs, rides, kayaking journeys, hill walks and other excursions with ease. The paid Endomodo PRO unlocks more stats and a handy terrain chart, letting you see how steep the hard parts were – and providing a useful excuse for poor performance.

27. SwiftKey Keyboard


£2.99 ($3.99, $AU5.53)

This one pioneered the concept of the alternative keyboard, with SwiftKey the first to offer to 'learn' your writing style and attempt to predict your next word. The hope being that, with practice, it'll know what phrases you commonly use and might save you quite a bit of fuss in typing a simple message to a friend.

28. Google Camera

Best Android apps
Google Camera - better than your stock Android camera


Google's Nexus line of phones have traditionally been dogged by the unfathomably awful stock camera apps that ship with Android, but that's now changed - a bit - with this. Google Camera is a standalone camera app that's available for users of all Android models, offering a simple interface, background blur effects and… not very much more. It actually has fewer features than the older official Android app, but it's tidy and fast, so the hope is it'll quickly evolve into the premiere mobile photo tool.

29. Swype Keyboard


£2.42 ($3.99, $AU4.48)

As rival SwiftKey invented the concept of word prediction, so Swype did the same for gesture input. The concept is simple - you write "hello" by pressing the H, then swiping a line through E, L and O. Hopefully, if you were accurate enough, the software guesses this right and you've just written a word easy-style. A similar system has been adopted within newer versions of Android, but if you have an older phone this gets you into the line-writing fun, too.

30. Plex


£2.98 ($4.99, $AU5.50)

The idea behind Plex is that it assimilates your existing media collection and serves it up, through one standard interface, via the cloud. It's a bit of a struggle to get going as you need a free account on Plex's servers to access your stuff, but once it's all up and running it offers streaming and transcoding of files, meaning everything ought to play everywhere. Supports Chromecast too, if you've bought into Google's own media-managing dream.

31. Horizon

Best Android Apps 2014


A one-trick special, sure – but what a trick. Horizon normalises the rotation of your phone's camera output, using the built-in accelerometer of Android phones to keep the horizons in your videos stable no matter how much the phone moves.

This means you can hold it sideways, or at an angle, or while not really paying attention at all, and get usable, stable results in return.

It crops the original resolution a little, mind, so there's some loss in clarity – but it's a hit often worth taking for smoother clips.

32. Apex Launcher Pro

Apex Launcher Pro

£2.49 ($3.99, $AU4.50)

The thing a lot of enthusiasts love about Android is the ability to switch to a new launcher. In layman's terms, this means you can whack an entire new frontend on your phone, replacing the user interface with an entirely custom skin. Apex Launcher's one of the oldest and most highly thought of, using the default Android look as a base for numerous tweaks and additions. It's free to try, with the separate Apex Launcher Pro key unlocking the full version.

33. Chromecast

The Chromecast companion app is fantastic


Chromecast, Google's companion for its physical dongle, is essential if you're a user of its HDMI media streamer, letting connected life living futurists beam their phone contents to their TV using nothing but the air we breathe as a cable. This app also solves the problem of how you manage Chromecast's options, as the little HDMI dongle obviously has no screen or buttons of its own. The wireless dream is even compatible with older devices stuck on version 2.3 of Google's OS, resurrecting any ancient low-spec tablets you may have stuck in the loft back in 2012.