Yesterday the TalkAndroid staff picked their best phones for 2012, and now it’s time for apps. Games aren’t included in this one because we will do a separate post for that. The only other stipulation is that the app had to launch in 2012, but there are a couple of minor exceptions as you will see below. Without further adieu hit the break to see the results. Don’t forget to let us know what your picks are in the comments.
Robert Nazarian – Editor In Chief
This is a very tough one. If you consider that probably 300,000+ apps launched in 2012, how do you pick the best one? The best app might actually be the one that very few people know about, but ultimately you have to go with what made the biggest impact for Android users. I think that has to be Instagram. Android fans were begging for it as it was long overdo. When it finally landed in the Play Store, Android fans rejoiced and at the same time Apple fans cried out like little babies. That’s what I call an impact, and any app that makes Apple fans cry is a winner in my book.
Roy Alugbue – Editor
As soon as it was announced, Instagram was welcomed to the Android community with open-arms and hated by many outsiders, but there’s no doubt about the fact that it has certainly made a major splash in its brief existence on Android. The app brought a new means for individuals to share cool photos with friends and family, albeit in a looney, retro-filtered way of sorts. Here’s a quick and easy way of gauging Instagram’s popularity: since it’s release back in early April, the app has achieved a whopping 50,000,000 downloads and the fast-growing user base spreads across 25 countries as of this writing. Instagram is one of the more widely-used apps on Android devices and as it continues to grow and improve with each update— it will ultimately end up being one of the more revolutionary Android apps ever.
Ed Caggiani – Author
Choosing the best app is difficult, but I’d have to say that Google Drive is one of the most useful apps I’ve installed all year. Sure, Dropbox is the granddaddy of cloud storage, and I still use it as well, but there’s just something about the integration of Google Drive with Android that gives me the warm fuzzies. Its tablet support is also highly appreciated, taking advantage of my Nexus 10′s large screen. Luckily, I purchased storage space on Google’s servers before Google Drive was released, so I was grandfathered in to the older pricing, but with 5GB free, there’s no reason not to install Drive if you have an Android device.
Colton Kaiser – Author
With hundreds of thousands of unique applications available, it’s tough to pick a clear winner. So, why not pick the application that houses them all, the Google Play Store? You may remember a little thing called the Android Market which previously served as Google’s application marketplace for the company’s mobile OS up until March of this year. The entire philosophy behind the tired app marketplace was abandoned with the introduction of the Play Store as Google shifted to a consolidated and unified ecosystem of content for your swath of devices. Featuring the usual games and applications, as well as Movies, TV Shows, Books, Music and Magazines, Google managed to revolutionize the idea of a one-stop content shop.
Jared Peters – Author
Google Now is literally an award winning application that launched with Google’s Jelly Bean version of Android. It’s the single application that revolutionized what a phone should be able to do for you. Google Now is able to tell you what you need to know with no input on your part. Need to know the traffic for your drive to work? Google Now will glady do that. Want to know when your Amazon package is shipped? It’ll let you know. Did you drive past a restaurant that you’d like to eat at for lunch? Google Now will send you a card and let you know it’s nearby. The amazing part is that it literally does all of this with no user input. It all happens automatically in the background and really changes what you think your phone should be able to do for you. Oh, and it’s also a fantastic personal voice assistant app that can do all of the above and more. Impressive? I like to think so.
Rudy Rivapalacio – Author
A lot of great innovative apps hit the Play Store in 2012. Google Now and Field Trip are certainly both worthy of App Of The Year awards but I’ll go with an app that has been my best friend this past holiday shopping season: Slice. Like the two apps I mentioned earlier, it gathers your information in the background but its focus is much narrower. Once you’re done with the relatively easy setup, you’ll have details for all of your online purchases and tracking information at your fingertips. It will even notify you when a package ships or has been delivered. It’s seamless and helps you be lazy. Sounds like a winner to me!
Alexon Enfiedjian – Author
Technically Pocket has been around since before 2012, but at that time it was known as Read It Later and had a significantly different look and feel. In 2012, Read It Later relaunched as Pocket and dramatically changed its image, marketing and applications. It was essentially a new company with a new app. Pocket was clean, sleek, fast and functional. Best of all, it was completely free. I downloaded it immediately. Pocket has now become one of my most used apps. It integrates with every app you own so you can save anything you want for later reading, whether tweets, emails, articles or more. Basically, anything you can “share”, you can save. I typically use it to save articles that interest me, but that I don’t have time to read at the moment. When you’ve got time to read, you can browse your articles via the app or Pocket’s website, which also looks gorgeous. They even recently released a really nice native Mac application and will more than likely release a Windows app in the near future. Pocket also has a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, so it really is the ultimate read-it-later experience. Pocket is my choice for app of the year.