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It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to look back at the best Android apps launched in 2015. This was a good year to be rocking Google’s mobile operating system on your handset because we saw big developers and small guys coming up with some incredible stuff.

I’m keeping this list purely to apps launched this year, not the must-have apps in 2015 Top 10 Android Apps Everyone Should Install First Top 10 Android Apps Everyone Should Install First Got a new Android phone or tablet? Then you absolutely need these apps! Read More or those that got a significant update. And all of them are completely free. Before you pick up your pitchfork, resist the urge to argue about the date they were launched or the fact that some of them have premium versions as well. The idea is simply this: The app came into the limelight in 2015, and you can download and use it for free, whether you want to spend the money to unlock the paid version or not.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Truemessenger

If I had to pick an Android app of the year, I’d pick Truemessenger without thinking twice. It’s an SMS app which, once you use it, will make you wonder how you lived without it. Truemessenger identifies unknown numbers and blocks spam texts Identify Unknown Numbers and Block Spam Text Messages with Truemessenger for Android Identify Unknown Numbers and Block Spam Text Messages with Truemessenger for Android Truemessenger is a fantastic new app for sending and receiving text messages, and it can tell you who an unknown number is and block spam. Read More . It takes a short while to set up, and then it’s smart enough to learn what’s spam and what isn’t — based on your usage.

The app also adds “Undo Send” for texts like Gmail does for emails What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out You might have missed out on a few new features Gmail has gradually added in the past year. So let's look at what deserves our attention. Read More , so you can fix a mistake. Truemessenger is completely free, though not available in all regions. But don’t worry, you can still grab the Truemessenger APK and manually install it on Android How to Manually Install or Side Load Apps on Android How to Manually Install or Side Load Apps on Android Sideloading a file onto your Android device is easy, and we can show you how to do it. Read More .

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Download: Truemessenger from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Truemessenger 1.51 APK from APK Mirror

Facebook Hello

Truemessenger came from the technology used by Truecaller, which identifies calls from unknown numbers. This year, Facebook stepped into the game with Facebook Hello, which shows caller information from Facebook. In the Facebook Hello vs. Truecaller comparison Facebook Hello vs. TrueCaller: Which Is the Best Caller ID and Dialer App for Android? Facebook Hello vs. TrueCaller: Which Is the Best Caller ID and Dialer App for Android? Facebook Hello is here -- the new caller ID and dialer app for Android. But how does it stack up against the competition? Read More , I found that Facebook Hello was pretty great at providing some useful information in addition to just who is calling.

For example, if the caller was a friend, I could see information like the fact that it was their birthday! Plus, it syncs with Facebook Messenger for free voice calls Facebook Messenger Adds Free Voice Calling For Android Users In The U.S. [Updates] Facebook Messenger Adds Free Voice Calling For Android Users In The U.S. [Updates] Facebook has recently been on a roll with updates, and it appears that the constant add-ons aren't going to end any time soon. The newest addition from Facebook comes to Android users in the US,... Read More too.

Download: Facebook Hello from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Facebook Hello APK from APK Mirror

Google Now Launcher

Unless you’re running a Nexus or Motorola device, your Android phone’s interface probably doesn’t look exactly like stock Android, since most manufacturers customize them by adding a skin Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More . But if you want the pleasure of a plain Google Android look without rooting your phone, Take Control: Android Rooting Guide Take Control: Android Rooting Guide As of the writing of this guide, approximately 80% of the world's population owns their own cellphone. Out of those, 1.08 billion are smartphones. Read More  the Google Now Launcher can do just that.

In fact, the Now Launcher enables some Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s features Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features Without Updating Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features Without Updating Android 6.0 Marshmallow is on its way, but while you wait, you can actually get a lot of its best features right now on any device. Read More , even if you haven’t received the update yet. It’s a lightweight, no-nonsense launcher that gives you the best of the Google experience.

Download: Google Now Launcher from Google Play Store (Free)

Pintasking

best-android-apps-2015-pintasking

Pintasking is such an incredible app, it’s a shame Google hasn’t baked this into Android already. Much like Facebook’s chat heads Chat Heads & Stickers - Check Out The New Features on Facebook Messenger [Weekly Facebook Tips] Chat Heads & Stickers - Check Out The New Features on Facebook Messenger [Weekly Facebook Tips] Have you already noticed the latest features of Facebook chat on iOS and Facebook Messenger on Android? Prior to the release of Facebook Home, Facebook's chat app received an update which included Chat Heads and... Read More , Pintasking can minimize any app into a floating app icon. This makes multi-tasking much easier since you can seamlessly move between different apps without invoking the multi-window mode.

The free version of Pintasking lets you minimize two apps to floating icons, but you can buy the Pro version ($3.99) for unlimited icons. However, the coolest part is Pintasking’s Alt-Tab equivalent. Swipe down from the notification bar’s left corner or swipe up from the Home button, and you’ll automatically be taken to the last app you were using; do it again and you’ll be taken back to the first app.

Yup, it works just like Alt-Tab on Windows, and it’s a dramatic change in how you multitask on your Android.

Download: Pintasking from Google Play Store (Free)

Native Clipboard

best-android-apps-2015-native-clipboard

Here we have yet another “Google should really make this a part of Android” app. Android doesn’t really do a bad job with copy-paste functionality, but use Native Clipboard for a while, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It boosts copy-paste functionality on Android How to Improve the Copy & Paste Functionality on Android How to Improve the Copy & Paste Functionality on Android Ever wanted to copy and paste more than one thing at a time? Wish you had quick access to certain phrases you could paste? These apps have got you covered and then some. Read More by letting you copy text in any app and continue copying without losing what you copied before.

You can even label certain copied texts with different colors and pin them — for example, your home address — so you don’t need to type it every time! Whenever you need to paste it, double-tap in a text input field or open the app to find all your copied texts.

Download: Native Clipboard from Google Play Store (Free)

Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint

2015 will go down as the year Microsoft took over Android phones How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone It's honestly surprising how many Microsoft apps are available for Android -- and they're really good! Read More . The Windows giant didn’t hold back in its aggressive push to be on Android, developing everything from a productive Android launcher Microsoft's New Arrow Launcher Makes Android More Productive Microsoft's New Arrow Launcher Makes Android More Productive Microsoft has made an awesome new Android launcher, so we put it to the test. Read More to a Hyperlapse video shooting app How to Shoot Instagram-style Hyperlapse Videos on Android How to Shoot Instagram-style Hyperlapse Videos on Android Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile brings hyperlapse video to Android, a technique introduced to the iOS version of the Instagram app in 2014. The app is in beta, but is already capable of producing incredible results. Read More . And while you should check out both of those, the best move Microsoft made was to launch its full Office suite as three separate apps for Android.

Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for Android are optimized for touchscreens and work splendidly on all sizes, whether it’s a 4.5-inch phone or a 10-inch tablet. If you’re using a tablet with a stylus or something like the Galaxy Note phones, you’ll love using Powerpoint and Excel — both apps work fantastically with a stylus.

I’ve actually managed to write entire articles in Word for Android without ever missing a full-fledged document editor. These are game changers.

Download: Microsoft Word from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Microsoft Excel from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Microsoft Powerpoint from Google Play Store (Free)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Premiere Clip

Adobe made a dramatic push in the mobile space this year by launching two of its most popular desktop applications in mobile form: professional photo editor Photoshop Lightroom, and professional video editor Premiere Clip on Android. Neither of these are direct replicas of their desktop counterparts, but the mobile apps are more robust and functional than anything else in their space.

Much like Lightroom for iPad Edit, Enhance, Sync, & Share Your Photos With Adobe Lightroom For iPad Edit, Enhance, Sync, & Share Your Photos With Adobe Lightroom For iPad Photographers who use Adobe Lightroom on their desktops can now edit and sync photos on the go with Adobe Lightroom mobile. It gives photographers another option for time-consuming post processing tasks. Read More , Photoshop Lightroom for Android combines the best effects of Photoshop with the benefits of Lightroom, making it easier to edit your images. Joel reviewed it in detail and answered the question, which Adobe Creative Cloud Android app should you get? Should You Download Adobe's Creative Cloud Android Apps? Should You Download Adobe's Creative Cloud Android Apps? Watch us put Adobe's four Creative Cloud Android apps -- Capture, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator -- to the test. Read More Premiere Clip, as the video above shows, simplifies making and editing videos on your phone or tablet, with several advanced editing tools.

Download: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Adobe Premiere Clip from Google Play Store (Free)

IFTTT DO

best-android-apps-2015-IFTTT-do-button

Our old friends at If This Then That went in a new direction this year, adding virtual buttons to Android devices. Tap the button and it will automatically perform an action, from playing a sound to setting your smart thermostat. Do Button, Do Note, and Do Camera are separate apps, each with three one-tap actions of their own IFTTT Launches Do Note, Do Button, Do Camera for One-Tap Actions IFTTT Launches Do Note, Do Button, Do Camera for One-Tap Actions Popular "If This Then That" service IFTTT has launched three new apps that are sure to make your life a bit easier. Learn everything you need to know about them! Read More . Like the idea? Dive into IFTTT Do Recipes to browse the various one-tap actions you can set up to simplify your life.

Download: IFTTT Do Button from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: IFTTT Do Note from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: IFTTT Do Camera from Google Play Store (Free)

Periscope by Twitter

This year, Twitter launched a new way to share moments with your followers. The app is going beyond 140 characters of text Think Twitter is Just 140 Characters? Think Again Think Twitter is Just 140 Characters? Think Again Twitter doesn't just have to be about simple old tweets. There is a whole lot more you can do if you have the right apps. Read More and into live video streaming. It’s called Periscope, and it’s a blast.

The Periscope app lets you start live-streaming anything (and make it public or send only private links), or watch someone else’s live-stream. Already, Periscope has been used to cover wars, news events, comedy routines, and is starting to get its own set of Periscope celebrities. Before it’s too late to get on this bandwagon, download the app and start looking at the world from a whole new perspective.

Download: Periscope by Twitter from Google Play Store (Free)

Layout and Boomerang by Instagram

Instagram is more than just shooting and sharing a photo now. Building on being more than just a still image, the photo-sharing community that thrives on getting more likes How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science Read More got two new tools this year.

Layout makes creative photo collages Create Easy Photo Collages for Instagram With Layout Create Easy Photo Collages for Instagram With Layout While there are plenty of ways to create collages without Photoshop, Layout's focus is on simplicity and the ability to share the images quickly with Instagram and Facebook. Read More using pictures from your phone’s gallery, so you are able to tell an evolving story. Boomerang, meanwhile, takes the Internet’s love for GIFs GIFs, The Language Of The Web: Their History, Culture, and Future GIFs, The Language Of The Web: Their History, Culture, and Future Read More and helps you make looping one-second videos, adding a little life to your still images. Both the apps are characterized by how simple they are to use, evident by how many people are using them already on Instagram.

Download: Layout by Instagram from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Boomerang by Instagram from Google Play Store (Free)

Apple Music

best-android-apps-2015-apple-music

This year, Apple stepped into the music streaming business with Apple Music. And in a surprising move, it announced Apple Music would also be available on Android, making it the first Apple service to be launched on Google’s platform. You’ll still need an Apple account to use Apple Music on Android, but the app works perfectly.

If you’re just getting started with Apple Music Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More , you’ll be pleased to know that it has a large catalogue of songs across various countries, several exclusives including the Beats One radio station, and you can even create and share playlists with friends How to Create, Share & Discover Playlists with Apple Music How to Create, Share & Discover Playlists with Apple Music Playlists make it easier to discover, share and create your own personal collections from Apple's massive library of streaming music. Here's how. Read More . The only downside is that it has zero respect for Android’s design guidelines and sticks to how things look on iOS. But it’s a perfectly functional app, so have at it. Oh, and the app from the Play Store isn’t compatible with all phones, so you can grab the APK from the link below.

Download: Apple Music from Google Play Store (Free)

Download: Apple Music APK from APK Mirror (Free)

Bonus: Firefox 42+

best-android-apps-2015-firefox-42-tab-queue

I wanted to refrain from updates as much as possible, but I’m going to make an exception for Mozilla Firefox. With version 42 for Android, Firefox brought a new feature that made me switch from Chrome and not go back How Easy Is It for a Chrome User to Switch to Firefox Today? How Easy Is It for a Chrome User to Switch to Firefox Today? Could you switch from Chrome to Firefox? I quit Chrome cold turkey to see how it went. After two weeks, I'm back to Chrome on desktop… but Firefox for Android has won me over. Read More . It’s called Tab Queuing, and it’s awesome Firefox 42's Tab Queuing for Android is Awesome - Try it Out Now! Firefox 42's Tab Queuing for Android is Awesome - Try it Out Now! Mozilla has released a new beta version of its popular Firefox web browser and it's got a fantastic feature for Android smartphones. Tab Queuing opens external links later in the background in Firefox. Read More .

Essentially, whenever you tap a link in Twitter, Facebook, or other apps, it will open in Firefox — but without switching to Firefox immediately. Instead, you can continue browsing as you were; Firefox will keep saving any link you tap. Once you’re ready to read your links, go to Firefox and all your saved links will be loaded. It’s a fantastic way of using the Internet, and better than something like Link Bubble since you get all the benefits of a robust browser like Firefox for Android.

Download: Firefox for Android from Google Play Store (Free)

What’s Your App of the Year?

So what’s your pick for best Android app of 2015? Let’s take the “free” restriction out and talk both free and paid apps. Which new app got into your phone this year and refused to leave?

  1. Israel Obiagba
    December 17, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I love the list; should install most soon.

    In addition to the above, I think raindrop.io app is a game changer with bookmarking - since I found it, I can't do without it! Check it out.

  2. Judah Richardson
    December 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Great list. Love Pintasking, just found out about the clipboard manager and Layout.

  3. likefun butnot
    December 15, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I note that almost everything on this list is essentially a full platform initiative from a major technology company. Are startups not making innovative apps, or are big companies buying up the good ideas so fast we never see the original products?

    I can't think of any new software I've added to my Android devices this year that I'd call essential. I liked the update to Google Photos, so I guess that's something.

  4. Rhonda Lea Fries
    December 15, 2015 at 1:46 am

    You missed Microsoft's very best offering: Office Lens.

  5. wi
    December 14, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Google launcher seemed to drain my battery very fast, removed it and back to normal.

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