The year 2016 has turned out to be a very prolific one for Android apps, having reached a turning point of market saturation where quantity trumps quality. Still, though, we’ve seen lots of sparks of quality that have served to detonate new openings in app development. Here are 9 tools released this year that we think have proved most relevant for Android, video games aside.

Prisma

There’ve always been apps that add artsy filters to your pics, but none quite as relevant as Prisma. For practical purposes you could almost consider it the ideal complement to apps like Instagram, providing a quick way to apply 30 or so filters that take the styles of artists like Van Gogh, Munch, and Picasso as their inspiration. [Download]

Parallel Space

Lots of apps still don’t let you manage several different accounts in the same interface. Parallel Space can create two separate versions of an app on your device so you can use them simultaneously with different login details. This means there’s no need to log on and log off the same app over and over to use it. Two WhatsApp accounts on just one device? Yep, it’s possible. [Download]

Quik

GoPro has made a smart move by offering free software to create media compositions for smartphones and tablets. Quik is a simple video editor that hides a great deal of potential. You can add pics and videos to generate a clip with background music, transitions, and effects that are all modifiable as desired. An interesting way to make your AV content shine. [Download]

Opera VPN

Opera has spent the entirety of 2016 in a constant race to add novel (and controversial) features to its browser. One of them was a built-in VPN to allow browsing of geographically restricted content, though later this was released on Android as a separate app from the browser itself. With a couple of taps you’ll have it set up, ideal for users who are just cutting their teeth with VPNs. [Download]

Messenger Lite

It’s been said a million times that one of the main problems with the Facebook app is how much of your resources it eats up. And their own developers eventually listened, releasing a Lite version of the social network app. Messenger, by extension, also had this resource consumption problem, and this year it was that IM app’s turn to get its own Lite version. All without leaving out any of its main features and while offering an experience very similar to the original app. An essential on low- to mid-range devices. [Download]

MSQRD

The MSQRD facial recognition system has been another trend of 2016. The app can detect your facial movements in real time and modify the superimposed face in turn. Plus the app manages to stay current with masks ranging from famous people like Clint Eastwood and animals like chimps to themed filters like flag face paints for sporting events or characters from movies currently in cinemas. A sweet deal. [Download]

Official Reddit app

There’s no doubt that Reddit has become the most important current-events info and office-hours procrastination network of our time. But it was only a few months ago that it finally got its own app to escape the headache of browsing its website on smartphones. An essential tool to find out stuff that the whole Internet’s sure to be buzzing about in a few hours. [Download]

Miitomo

Calm down, calm down. Yes, Miitomo might not have turned out to be as important as expected in the long term, but it’s still been Nintendo’s point of entry into the mobile market, and in a certain way a testing range for what we’re now seeing with Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run. A snow-white social network with the Nintendo seal that will be remembered as the first move toward the unification of the smartphone gaming and traditional console markets. And the funniest thing is that it wasn’t even an actual videogame that took that step. [Download]

Andromium OS

Another of the main searches for missing links this year involved the many attempts to bring the desktop PC experience to Android. Andromium OS was born as a kickstarter composed of a launcher and a dock to connect your Android to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to use it as a desktop computer. It remains to be seen if the mark left by this project lasts, but nobody can deny its usefulness. [Download]

Google Duo

With Google’s decision to slowly fade out of Hangouts as their primary communication platform on Android, they’ve had to make a few moves shifting development strategies towards producing a new standard of communication apps to rival WhatsApp or iOS, even if just by brute force. The tandem of Google Duo/Google Allo is intended to provide a messaging service in an attemp to get their own sort-of iMessage. But, how users respond to that by dropping their dearly loved chat apps is a complete unknown. Likely in new versions of Android, Allo will become the go-to chat app on the popular platform.  [Download]

 

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  • very nice

  • very good article

  • I use almost all of the apps

  • I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of
    your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures.

    Maybe you could space it out better?