Google’s Android operating system recently beat Microsoft Windows to become the world’s most popular OS. It’s no wonder then that developers are clamouring to make new apps for the platform. This year hasn’t even reached its halfway mark, and we already have some amazing new tools out there.
One of the good things about Android compared to Apple’s iOS is that most apps are free, and you can choose to pay to remove ads. Of course, you can always try a paid app in this list and get a refund from the Play Store if you don’t like it. But it’s nice to avoid that hassle.
So here are some of the best new Android apps that came out in the first few months of 2017.
Meteor: Test Internet Speed and App Performance
Meteor tests the internet speed on your phone and tells you how well a certain app will perform. For example, knowing your speed is 2 Mbps is one thing, but Meteor will quantify it to show whether you can watch 480p, HD, or Full HD videos on YouTube. It supports the popular apps you have installed, such as Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, and so on.
This is a better representation of streaming quality than what usual download tests will give you. Additionally, Meteor remembers the geo-location of every test you run, so you will know where you get the best speeds.
Download — Meteor for Android (Free)
FastKey Launcher: Type to Launch
You can ditch the Android homescreen and get a replacement easily. The question is, which launcher is right for you? FastKey brings something new to the table. Instead of a mess of icons on your homescreen, you’ll get a permanent keyboard.
Type the name of the app and you’ll see its icon pop up. Tap to run it. You can still keep shortcuts to a few of your favorite apps on your homescreen, of course. FastKey also searches your contact list, so if you want to call someone, the same keyboard search will return results from your address book.
Download — FastKey Launcher for Android (Free) [No Longer Available]
Today Weather: The Best Free Weather Forecast App
If you’re looking for a free weather forecast app, Today Weather is the best you can get. This gorgeous app provides accurate weather forecasts for any city in the world, giving you temperature, air quality, humidity, visibility, wind speed, and more.
It complements this data with beautiful photos corresponding to the weather conditions. You can even share these photos with the weather info on them. Honestly, it’s hard to believe that this app is completely free.
Download — Today Weather for Android (Free)
YouTube Go: YouTube for Bad Internet Spots
After Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite, it’s now YouTube’s turn to cater to viewers with bad internet connections. The YouTube Go app lets users download videos to save streaming costs. Users can also set a limit for how much data the YouTube Go app can use. Apart from that, it’s pretty much like the regular YouTube app, so you aren’t losing out on any major features.
YouTube Go is currently available only in India on the Play Store, but you can download the APK and install it manually.
APKUpdater: Update APKs Easily
Speaking of APKs, the major problem with side-loading apps on Android is that you miss out on updates. Since it’s not an app from the Play Store, it won’t auto-update. So you need to check regularly if you updates are out.
APKUpdater makes the process a little easier by scanning your list of installed apps and showing you which ones have updates available. It also includes direct links to APK Mirror. APKUpdater doesn’t auto-update the apps, though — you’ll still need to download and install them. But it’s a much faster process than before.
Download — APKUpdater for Android (Free)
Truecaller 8: Now With SMS Support and Video Calls
Truecaller got a major update this year, making it better than ever before. The v8 update now includes the best features of Truemessenger. such as identifying SMS texts from unknown numbers and blocking spam.
A new feature called Flash is like a quick messaging service built into Truecaller. It lets you send common messages (like “Where are you?”) or emojis with a few taps, no writing necessary. Truecaller 8 also integrates with the new Google Duo app to make video calls.
Download — Truecaller 8 for Android (Free)
BatON: See Battery Levels of Bluetooth Devices
If your Android connects to a wireless headset or some amazing Bluetooth speakers, then you know how annoying it is to find out that accessory’s battery life. On iPhone, you can see the battery levels for many such devices on the screen. BatON brings that to Android, showing the current battery level of any Bluetooth device you connect to.
There are some caveats, like the device needs to use Bluetooth 4 or later and have a hands-free profile. But most modern Bluetooth gadgets meet these requirements.
Download — BatON for Android (Free)
Podcast Go: The Best Free Podcasts App for Android
There’s no question that PocketCasts is the best app for podcasts. But it’s a paid app, which makes Podcast Go the best free app for podcasts. It includes most of the features you love in PocketCasts. You can easily find and listen to your podcasts and get updates as new ones release.
For offline listening, Podcast Go can download episodes to the phone or to the memory card. If you’re on Android Marshmallow, you can even change the playback speed to get through your podcasts faster.
Download — Podcast Go for Android (Free)
Laughly: Spotify for Stand-up Comedy
If you can’t get enough laughs from watching stand-up comedy, listen to it on Laughly. It’s a humongous audio collection of stand-up acts, including big names like Louis CK, Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, George Carlin, and more. Laughly is a subscription service ($3.99 per month) much like Spotify, Netflix, or others.
Once you sign up, there are no restrictions on how much you listen to. And yeah, it’s completely ad-free.
Download — Laughly for Android ($3.99/month)
Google Family Link: Control Your Kids’ Phones
There are several apps for parents to control kids’ phones, but nothing comes close to what Google’s new Family Link offers. First of all, it lets parents open Google accounts for children under 13 years of age, which the search giant currently disallows. The app can set daily “screen time” limits so you know the children aren’t using their phones when they should be sleeping.
If the kids are glued to the screen instead of socializing with guests, you can remotely lock their devices. The app monitors usage and creates reports for parents. And you can make a child ask for permission before downloading any apps from the Play Store. Family Link works only in the U.S. and requires the child to have a phone running Android 7.0 (or select Android 6.0 devices).
Download — Google Family Link for Android (Free)
What Did We Miss?
Have you come across any new app in 2017 that wowed you? What’s missing from this list? Tell us which apps released in 2017 have been your favorite so far?