With more than 1 million apps available, the Google Play store boasts a varying array of titles, ranging from best-ignored downloads to genuinely funny to useful apps and games. Yet for every popular favorite such as Kindle or YouTube, there are just as many new, underrated or plain overlooked gems. Check out the apps you're not using but should that can be found in Google Play.
While numerous mapping apps offer turn by turn navigation options, not all of them are as effective at incorporating public transportation options into their route recommendations. Citymapper is an urban tourist or commuter's best friend, with a trip planner that can quickly and efficiently find the best route from point A to B using a combination of transport options, such as trains, buses, cabs, ride sharing or walking, complete with step-by-step directions and live bus times. (The app will even notify you when to get off the bus!) In addition to the multimodal trip planner and offline mapping, Citymapper also coordinates with transport agencies to report line and service disruptions, rates and other alerts.
While there are a lot of exercise trackers and personal fitness apps out there, few focus on holistic body and mind improvement. Enter Fabulous, a self-improvement app aimed at upgrading mind and body to help make you feel, well, fabulous. Based on scientific principles and incubated in Duke's Behavioral Economics Lab, Fabulous starts you out with simple goals like trying to lose weight, get better sleep, or improve your concentration; the app helps with simple exercises, scheduled notifications and activities, and other coaching tools designed to build healthy habits for body and mind.
A 2017 Google Play Awards winner, language learning app Memrise uses a variety of tools to help users pick up basic conversational fluency with a number of languages, such as Spanish, Japanese and French. Memrise combines gamified learning techniques with what it calls "elaborate encoding" to help you recall vocabulary and info through the use of "mems", mnemonic devices such as etymologies or associations that help you lock in information. The free tier of the app comes with a variety of courses; a pro tier adds expanded features such as chatbot-assisted learning, speed review and listening and native speaker video exercises.
Android has a glut of free file explorer apps that let you manage your device's external storage, ranging from excellent tools to freemium bloatware. If you're willing to spend a small amount to get an excellent ad-free and bloatware-free app, check out Solid Explorer, a premium file manager that comes packed with features and a clean, hassle-free interface. Drag-and-drop controls, a multi-tab and multi-pane interface, and support for network and cloud storage and compressed archives cover your basics, while more advanced features like a root explorer, plugin support and batch operations are available for power users.
The iPhone has had Find my Friends for what seems like nearly forever. Google has finally decided to offer its own alternative for those living in the Android universe. Google’s Trusted Contacts works similarly, letting you share your location or see where your contacts are. You can send out or request a real-time location, so you don’t have to share your constant whereabouts. However, Trusted Contacts will automatically send out your location if you’re not able to answer a request, which could be of help in an emergency. An iOS app is coming soon for your iPhone-using friends and family members.
There are about a dozen different places where you can go to check airline fares. One of the best apps for this that doesn’t get as much attention is Hopper. You can save potential itineraries for later, and Hopper will ping you if the price drops. The purchasing process is streamlined so it’s only a couple of a taps and a swipe to book your tickets.
There are a wealth of good podcast managers or podcatchers out there, but when it comes excellent free options on Android devices, Xavier Guillemane's Podcast & Radio Addict is one of the best options available out there. It covers the basics with automatic episode updates and downloads, as well as automatic deletion features to save space, variable speed playback, silence skip, volume boosting, a sleep timer and other neat features. A podcast search tool allows you to quickly find individual episodes or search through a variety of databases for new podcasts and trending shows. In addition, the app also supports video podcasts, YouTube channels, audiobooks, streaming radio and other media sources.