Best Android apps for 2014
The best Android apps for phones and tablets - including news apps, entertainment apps, travel apps and more
Smartphones are getting more powerful every year with faster processors, bigger screen resolutions and sharper cameras, but without the right apps it may as well be a hunk of plastic in your pocket. Here we've gathered together the top 55 everyday Android apps to make your phone even better than ever.
We've tested everything from news and navigation apps to time lapse cameras and fitness trackers to make sure your phone is the best it can be. We've tried to pick those that will be useful, fun or creative for the widest possible number of people. Much of the information on offer in apps can be found through your browser of course, but apps are quicker to launch, present content in a way that's friendly to small displays, provide pop-up notifications of live events and let you tailor the content you see.
It's never been easier to download apps either, as you can browse the Google Play Store on your PC and install them from there to any Android device that's registered to your Google Account, including your Android tablet.
Travel & Transport
Recently acquired by Google, Waze is the ultimate navigation app for drivers. It's a travel mapping service that uses your phone's GPS to provide a real-time picture of the roads around you. Simply pick your destination when you hop in your car and Waze will identify the quickest route while also showing the average road speed in areas of heavy traffic, any user-reported incidents, such as road hazards or accidents, speed camera locations, and which petrol stations are nearby and how much they're charging per litre. It will also learn your preferred routes and departure times for home and work and adapt them if there's an unexpected jam or hold-up. If you invite your friends to join as well, you can keep track of their movements if you need to co-ordinate arrival times at an event.
If you don't commute by car, keeping track of train times is probably part of your morning routine. TheTrainLine gives you live departure times from your nearest and most recently used stations, and tapping on an individual journey will show you all the calling points as well. It uses the same information that powers the National Rail Enquiries app, but TheTrainLine has a clearer, more streamlined design and less intrusive adverts. It also has the added bonus of being able to buy train tickets online and browse and book hotels at your intended destination.
Google Maps may be the more ubiquitous navigation tool, but the free OpenStreetMap-based OsmAnd Maps app is far more detailed. You'll need to download the maps you want to view from the Settings menu while you're online, but these colourful maps have individual shop listings and street numbers, public footpaths, bench locations, filters that can be toggled on and off for points of interest plus longitude and latitude co-ordinates to name just a few of its extra features. It also gives you car, cycling and walking directions to help you get where you need to be, with optional voice-guidance and different maps styles to suit each type of transportation.
Citymapper only covers London and New York at the moment, but it's one of the most comprehensive travel apps we've seen. Set your destination and CityMapper will give you routes and estimated times for walking and cycling (along with the number of calories you'll burn), taking a cab, bus routes and tube and rail, showing you which one's the cheapest and what the weather's like at your intended destination. It's great for anyone watching their fitness, but it's also useful if you need to take a sudden detour. There's also a tube map you can view offline, live tube service updates and distances to each respective tube line from your location, a list of nearby bus stops, train stations and Boris bike ranks, complete with how many bikes are free and how many spaces there are for incoming bikes.