2016 was a good year for Android apps. In addition to new and innovative smartphone applications entering the Google Play Store, many iPhone-only apps like Pokémon Go finally made their way to the Android market. Below are nine game-changing Android apps that made waves in 2016.
The game that took the world by storm in the '90s got a modern upgrade by allowing players to catch Pokémon characters in the real world thanks to augmented reality on the nostalgia-fueled phone app. Pokémon Go was named the top trending game in the Google Play Store for the 2016 calendar year, which is no small accomplishment considering it released in the summer.
Those obsessed with Snapchat's filters will certainly enjoy MSQRD. The Belarus-based app, which was acquired by Facebook in March, offers live filters and face swaps for photos and videos. The fun masks can turn a user into caricatures and animals and everything in between. MSQRD has a lot in common with Snapchat but stands apart in two ways: It lets users take longer videos and offers more variety in filters.
If you're looking for truly confidential conversations, then Signal is a must-have app. The messaging app offers advanced end-to-end encryption and does not store information about whom users communicate with or when they exchange texts or calls. Signal's popularity saw a sharp spike after the election due to privacy concerns surrounding President-elect Donald Trump.
After a successful iOS release, photo app Prisma — which turns photographs and videos into works of art using neural networks and artificial intelligence — rolled out its Android app in July. The free photo-editing app mimics the styles of well-known artists like Van Gogh, Munk, Picasso and Levitan.
Google's Gboard app was a game-changer for iPhone users when it was released in May, prior to the iOS 10 upgrade. The app brought fast letter swiping and Google's search engine right to the phone's keyboard, allowing users to search for GIFs and look up restaurants and addresses without leaving their chat window. The keyboard app rolled out for Android devices this week and works in over 100 languages.
Reddit: The Official App
Prior to 2016, there were a handful of unofficial Reddit apps available for smartphones. But none of these apps did a very good job at creating a user-friendly interface for the app-version of Reddit. But in 2016, Reddit debuted its official app for iOS and Android devices. The app offers redditors a clean interface to comment and reply.
Google introduced Google Allo in September, promising users a "smart messaging app." Features of Google Allo include "smart reply," which suggests responses to questions and photos, and an array of photos, emojis and stickers for users to express themselves. The most promising component is the app comes with Google Assistant within Google Allo.
Giphy Cam gives users the power to create GIFs from photos, drawings and other forms of media. Users can also apply filters and overlay text onto their creations. The app was previously only available for iOS, but it finally made its debut in October for Android devices.
What are the stories all your friends are talking about? Now we know: Social news app Nuzzel curates personal news links based on your social media network. Essentially, the app promotes stories based on whether your friends and followers have shared or read the piece. While this formula may have its downfalls (for example: creating an echo chamber of ideas and thoughts), it does serve the purpose well for curating content preferred by like-minded individuals.