Picture: Softpedia News

Most brands and companies usually end their year by doing some round-ups of the best and worst whatever’s. Before 2016 draws to a close, Google Play has released the Best of 2016 list which includes the Top Trending Games, Trending Apps, Streamed Song, Movies, Books, and TV Shows. Featured were top five of each category we mentioned. That was one interesting post because we learned what were the most popular content available to mobile consumers.

We’re not kidding but we’ve featured hundreds of apps since the first Monday of the year. About half of them are games. Not all are new as some are only updates or new versions. We have our few favorites so allow us to share those we think are very useful for most people. We didn’t include the games because they’re a totally different app category. Also not included are antivirus, cleaner, or flashlight apps.

Note that these are just some of the apps we’ve tried and tested. These are the ones we like and love from day one of use. Needless to say, we highly recommend all these apps in our list. Some of you may agree that there are better apps than the ones we’ve listed but these are apps we’ve utilized for some time. Of the millions of apps available on the Play Store and with more being added each day, we can’t use them all. We can’t even feature most of them and we won’t dare do so.

Here are our Top 20 Android Apps for 2016 (in no particular ranking or order):

ES FILE EXPLORER

This free app has been controversial the past year but it still is safe and simple to use. Users find that managing files with the app is faster and more efficient. You can organize all kinds of files with the ES File Explorer including documents, images, movies, music, and even apps. You can use it for both network and local use so your files are synced and updated all the time. All the 500 million users won’t stick to the app if it’s not what it claims to be. There’s a Pro version available but the Free app is already good enough with its sending function, file manager, built-in viewers, ZIP and RAR support, remote file access, cloud storage, file explorer, and SD card analyst among others.

Category: Productivity | Download: ES File Explorer File Manager

SOLID EXPLORER

The Solid Explorer File and Cloud Manager is currently on sale so it’s the best time to get the premium app. It was recently updated with new features like multi windows, day and night themes, and fingerprint sensor support. It’s another file manager app but this one hides the things you don’t want others to see by setting up a password. There may be similar encryption methods but this Solid Explorer does the job easily since people have a tendency to forget. This file manager also brings an adware to your smartphone so you are free from unwanted content.

Category: Productivity | Download: Solid Explorer File Manager

HERE WEGO

We all know HERE WeGo as the old HERE Maps. The app rebranded with new focus and added features. The app is easier to use now and offers numerous services like car-sharing options, pedestrian navigation, turn-by-turn drive, live traffic updates, and cost and travel time estimates. The HERE WeGo app also integrates new modes of transportation so more things can be done, making it one effective map and navigation tool.

Category: Maps & Navigation | Download: HERE WeGo

ACTION LAUNCHER

The recently updated Action Launcher brings “unread” badges that can be very useful. You will now see important alerts for core apps like Gmail, Calendar, Phone, and SMS. Standout features of the app include the following: Quicktheme, Shutters, Quickbar, Nexus/Pixel Launcher features, Quickedit, Covers, and Smartsize icons.

Category: Personalization | Download: Action Launcher 3

TEAMVIEWER

TeamViewer offers remote access to Windows 10 mobile devices. It’s the first to be used on Android for the other platform. The cross-platform feature makes it easier for anyone to access their other device even when mobile. It promises fast and secure remote access that’s why app was downloaded and installed on about one billion phones already. This will benefit teams working on a project together because you are free to exchange ideas and information securely and even live sharing.

Category: Productivity | Download: TeamViewer for Remote Control

GBOARD

Gboard was officially made available for Android devices earlier this month. It’s the enhanced version of the Google Keyboard complete with voice typing, Glide, multilingual typing, and built-in Google search. The virtual keyboard app makes it easier for anyone to do quick searches and continue typing or chatting. No need to switch to a browser just to do a search because pressing the G symbol on the keyboard will be enough.

Category: Tools | Download: Gboard

NOVA LAUNCHER PRIME

The Nova Launcher Prime is still on discount at only $0.99 just like last year. It was also recently updated to 5.0 version with Pixel-like features. It was prepped for Android Nougat and now it’s ready to unlock a number of features including Unread Counts, Gestures, Hide Apps, Custom Drawer Groups, and Icon Swipes. The app gets more scroll effects as so feel free to use Throw, Wipe, and Accordion.

Category: Personalization | Download: Nova Launcher Prime

 

TASKER

A few days ago, we said that Tasker is currently one of Android’s most robust automation apps. What’s good about the app is its plugin framework that allows more features from apps from different developers and integrate their plugins. It boasts of numerous functions. It’s capable of total automation from Settings to SMS and offers many features for different tasks like Actions, Tasks, Scenes, Triggers, and App Creation. It deliver several plugins, over 200 built-in plugin support, and custom screen overlays. Tasker also allows you to make your own standalone apps. This will be particularly useful for those people searching for ways to automate some daily processes in Android.

Category: Tools | Download: Tasker

 

ParkNYC

Those living in New York City will find it easier now to find a parking space, thanks to the ParkNYC app. This one lets drivers pay for street parking ahead with their phones so they don’t have to search for a slot and reach their wallets to pay. ParkNYC is a government project that aims to help motorists pay for their on-street parking. This way, people in a hurry will soon be worry-free. The idea is to load and reload your account with money so you can pay with the app.

Category: Travel & Local | Download: ParkNYC

 

1600

If you haven’t been to The White House, we suggest that you pay a visit so you can know more about the history. It’s about time you get educated with a bit of politics. If there’s no opportunity yet, you can go digital and visit Washington in augmented reality. You just need your smartphone and a dollar to explore every US President’s home. Students especially will appreciate this app because it is educational and entertaining. See 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (The White House address) in AR and start exploring this historical site.

Category: Education | Download: 1600

 

Gfycat Loops: GIF Cam+Recorder

This app lets you turn short videos into funny GIFs. This can be your chance to go viral and be famous for being its creator. Feel free to easily create GIFs with captions, emojis, and colorful filters right on the Gfycat Loops: GIF Cam+Recorder. With this app, you can also record your own screen and turn it into a GIF. Almost any video you can find on your gallery has the potential to become a GIF and become popular.

Category: Video Players & Editors | Download: Gfycat Loops: GIF Cam+Recorder

 

Google Home

The Google Home app is the Google Home service’s companion app. It recently added Google Photos and Netflix integration so don’t be surprised if you see that ‘Videos and Photos’ section within the app. Make sure your Netflix and Google Photos accounts are linked to begin integration and syncing. This also allows you to control many other apps using Google Home. This app will definitely help bring you a real smart home experience.

Category: Tools | Download: Google Home

 

GOOGLE TRIPS

Google Trips allows people to travel the world by helping them organize everything in one place. Online information can be saved and made available for offline use. You can also get suggestions based on what’s nearby, your saved travel reservations, and even customizeable day plans. Enjoy automatic trip organization, bundled reservations, day plans, and nearby attractions.

Category: Travel & Local | Download: Google Trips

MICROSOFT OFFICE MOBILE

This one doesn’t need much explanation. It’s the best for obvious reasons. It lets you work and be more productive with efficient and fast access to your Word document, Excel spreadsheet, and PowerPoint slides. You can use the Microsoft Office apps in most platforms but this mobile version for Android is a great companion.

Category: Productivity| Download: Microsoft Office Mobile

 

DIRECT NOW

DIRECTV NOW app brings live TV to mobile. You can now access over a hundred live channels such as Discovery Channel, Comedy Central, Food Network, History Channel, ABC, and NBC. This is real mobile TV on demand, providing quick access to thousands of shows, episodes, movies via streaming. There’s a premium required if you want to have access to more channels. Note that this app is also available for other platforms and devices like tablet, Android TV, and Roku.

Category: Entertainment | Download: DIRECTV NOW

 

MICROSOFT CLIP PLAYER

Clip Layer allows any mobile user to easily manage content previously clipped and shared from different installed apps on their phone. The goal is to organize any photo, quote, or article you’ve copied from another app or browser. This way, you can see them in one location and be able to share them. If an app doesn’t allowing copy, the Clip Layer will then make an overlay on the screen so you can easily select an area to copy and then share to your contacts or within another app.

Category: Productivity | Download: Clip Layer

THING LAUNCHER

The THING Launcher was developed to help automate the things you usually do on your smartphone. It can learn your schedule, location, and tasks. It also integrates with other useful apps like Spotify or Uber so it can set reminders or enter the information you usually use at a given time or place. The name of the game is automation.

Category: | Download: THING Launcher

 

POCKET

Pocket is an app where you can save, recommend, and discover stories from all over the Internet. You can gather those content quickly with Pocket. It’s like putting everything inside your “pocket” so you can easily access them from time to time. The app allows any mobile user to save items for later reading. You can save stuff from anywhere and then read or watch them in an easy-to-view layout. You can also discover more stories according to your preferences and interests. If you’re willing to share, you can also recommend stories that you find interesting. Other features include unlimited storage, tagging, Text-to-Speech, and Save with one click.

Category: News & Magazines | Download: Pocket

 

EXPRESSVPN

ExpressVPN for Android encrypted connection for your mobile device. With this app, you are free to encrypt your Internet connection, unblock geo-restricted content, watch your favorite videos online, and change your IP address to any of location or country as long as supported. The advantages of this app include regular customer support via live chat or email, multiple servers, being easy to set up, first-rate security, strongest (AES 256-bit) encryption, no throttling, and Bitcoin support.

Category: Tool | Download: ExpressVPN

 

NEWTON

Newton makes your email more powerful than ever. It now features Snooze, Read Receipts, Send Later, Sender Profile, Undo Send, and Connected Apps. It’s a premium app that requires an an in-app subscription with a $49.99 annual fee. This mail app works with different email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, Exchange, Google app, IMAP accounts, and Office 365. You are free to manage all your emails, as well as Calendar in one app without having to switch to another.

Category: Communication | Download: Newton Mail

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