Best Android apps of 2018 for your new phone, tablet, or Chromebook

Now that Christmas is over and the new year is almost upon us I thought it would be prudent to compile the best apps of 2018 into a roundup before the year is officially over. So if you happened to have received a new phone, tablet, or Chromebook that runs Android OS, you may be looking for a few quality apps to push your new device to its limit. Every application in this list has been painstakingly hand-picked by yours truly, and they're all arranged by price for easy navigation. Heck, there were so many quality apps released this year that I've even included an honorable mentions list at the very bottom of the page. So without further ado, here are the best Android apps released in 2018!

Best Apps of 2018

Google Tasks: Any Task, Any Goal. Get Things Done

A standalone Google-branded tasks application has been a long time coming. The good news is the long wait ended earlier this year. There's finally an official Google Tasks app available on the Play Store, and it isn't half bad. In the past, the only way to reach your Google tasks was inside of Gmail, but now that a more easily accessible and intuitive option exists for Android users, there's no more reason to fuss about with some clunky webpage. So while Google may have been late to the party, the addition of Google Tasks is indeed very welcome.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Tor Browser for Android (Alpha)

The Tor Browser for Android is still a work in progress since it's not yet feature-complete with the desktop version. There are a few outstanding bugs that need to be squashed, which makes sense since this is currently an alpha release. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't use the browser as your preferred way to navigate to .onion sites on your Android device since it actually works decently enough for something that's still under heavy development.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs


Rootless Launcher

Amir Zaidi's Rootless Pixel Launcher has been around for a good while as an APK, but you previously had to grab it from XDA or Github if you were up to the task of sideloading. Obviously that install method was not ideal for many users, which is why I was very excited to see Rootless Pixel Launcher officially listed on the Play Store this last August. The only caveat is that the "at a glance" features will not work unless you download a secondary file called Rootless Pixel Bridge. Luckily the developer has supplied the APK over on Github, so make sure you don't forget to grab it when installing this launcher.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Google Podcasts

Even though Google added podcast functionality to its Google Play Music app a while back, it would seem a standalone app is more to people's tastes, which is probably why Google Podcasts was released on the Play Store this last June. Now, I'm not going to sugar coat it, this app could use some improvements, but if all you need is a simple podcatching app, then Google Podcasts will do. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, and you can even pick up where you last left off on multiple devices. So while there are definitely more feature-rich podcatchers out there, sometimes it's nice to have an uncluttered option that's free to use.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs Faster & Safer Internet

Cloudflare's Faster & Safer Internet app supports DNS-over-TLS/DNS-over-HTTPS, which makes it a great choice if you want to take advantage of a DNS service that is often faster than what Google offers. The only catch is that this app uses a VPN server to pull this off, so you won't be able to use one of your choosing at the same time you are using this app.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Messenger Kids – Safer Video Calls and Texting

Messenger Kids is an instant messenger from Facebook that focuses on safe communication for children. It does this by giving full control of the contact list to the parents so that they can keep the list limited to close friends and family. There's also no way to delete messages, which is excellent for parents who want to check in on their child's past conversations. Best of all the app is entirely free to use and has zero advertisements or in-app purchases.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Steam Link (BETA)

There are already a few options out there for gamers who'd like to stream their PC games to any number of their Android devices, but often those apps don't actually work that well. This is why Valve's Steam Link beta release is such big news. As you can see in this hands-on by our very own Jordan Palmer, the app works very well for streaming games no matter your device of choice, which is great to see and a welcome addition for those of us who have been holding out for a game streaming app that's versatile and seamless.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Opera Touch: the fast, new browser with Flow

When it comes to desktop browsers, Opera has always been the odd man out. The majority of people tend to use Chrome or Firefox. Heck, more people probably use Edge instead of Opera on the desktop, but on mobile, this is a different story. Opera has been making competent browsers for mobile phones for ages, and the recent release of Opera Touch solidifies this claim. It's a mobile browser built with a focus on fast web searching, which is why it has a one-handed mode as well as access to an instant search feature when you open it.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs



Foodie content couldn't get any more popular. There are so many blogs and sites out there on the net that cover the many different aspects of food it's almost intimidating. Even the infamous Buzzfeed has gotten in on the act with its rather popular Tasty blog. Apparently, it's all the rage with Facebook users, and in order for the company to grab as many viewers as possible, there's now an official Tasty app on the Play Store.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Trips by Lonely Planet

Trips by Lonely Planet is a nifty new social networking application that offers an easy way to share your travel experiences with like-minded travelers. It's also a useful tool for discovering new locations worth visiting. So if you happen to travel a lot and have been looking for an easy way to share your experiences with fellow travelers or would simply like to read about other people's trips, this release is an excellent choice.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Nacho Notch — Notch Hider

Two thousand eighteen will assuredly go down in the history books as the year of the cell phone notch. It would seem the majority of people out there hate how it looks on their screen, and I have to agree. I suppose it may be an excellent marketing strategy for the majority of Android manufacturers to emulate the iPhone X, but for the actual users, it's clear that the notch is an ugly feature that adds little benefit. That is why apps like Nacho Notch are so great. You can easily hide your unsightly notch within a black-themed notification bar so that the top of your screen looks more like a clean and unobtrusive bezel.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs



Neighbors by Ring

Neighbors by Ring first started out as a service built into the Ring app, but the feature has morphed into its release on the Play Store that anyone can use to help keep their neighborhood safe. So not only will you have some of your neighbor's Ring data at your disposal, everyone else who lives in the area can also report sketchy behavior or stolen goods within this freely accessible app. This way you can track any questionable happenings around your house in real time.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Turbo: Income, credit score & debt to income

Turbo: Income, credit score & debt to income is a completely free tool from Intuit that offers an easy way to check your credit score from the comfort of your favorite Android device. Sure, there may be other credit score apps on Android, but how many are from trusted companies that already offer similar services in the financial field? Truthfully, not that many, which is why Turbo is a welcome addition on the Play Store this year.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs


Stitch Fix Personal Stylist

I'm honestly surprised that it took so long for Stitch Fix to release an Android app on the Play Store. With how popular the clothes styling service is on the web and iOS you would have thought Android would have had an app many years ago. But hey, I suppose arriving late is better than never showing up at all. So now Android users can get in on the fun of never having to leave their house to shop for their clothes.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Niagara Launcher fresh & clean

New launchers pop up on the Play Store pretty frequently, though most don't ever get that popular thanks to poor craftsmanship or boring designs. Niagara Launcher is one of the newer kids on the block, and I have to say I enjoy its unique minimal design. All of your apps will be neatly arranged in a list on the right of your screen that's sorted alphabetically and available at all times. You don't even have to swipe to access it. It's always there. This makes launching apps a breeze, even if you have a large number installed on your device.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Product Hunt

Product Hunt is a merchandise discovery application that focuses on pushing the latest and greatest products to its users. So if you're looking for a space to geek out over your favorite products, this is the app for you. Just be aware that the current state of the app isn't as good as it could be, so expect a few bugs and missing features. So think of it as a work in progress, and while you wait for fixes, you can discover some cool stuff.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Grasshopper: Learn to Code for Free

Area 120's Grasshopper: Learn to Code for Free was previously covered in June of last year when it was first released as a beta. Well, now that the app has finally come out of testing in 2018 with an official release on the Play Store, you can expect to find a competent educational resource that gamifies learning JavaScript from scratch. So while this is not a tool for professional coders, those new to JavaScript are given some handy building blocks to help them learn the language.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Browsery by Barnes & Noble

Browsery by Barnes & Noble is the corporation's answer to its competitors Goodreads social cataloging service. In this release, you can converse with your friends, family, and authors, as well as complete and total strangers, all thanks to Browsery's focus on social media-like content for books. So not only can you explore new recommendations, but you can also connect with like-minded people with similar literary interests.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Adobe Spark Post

Adobe Spark Post makes it easy to design graphics from your phone or tablet, and no actual design skill is required. You can easily apply pre-made filters to your photos to instantly create beautiful graphics. Everything in the app is self-explanatory, so if you frequently post your photos on the web and require a competent editing tool, Adobe Spark Post may very well be precisely what you have been looking for.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Lean Launcher

If you are looking for a new launcher that's similar to the Pixel Launcher but offers a lightweight experience that lends itself well to just about any device, no matter its specs, Lean Launcher may just be the app you. It's open-source, plus it's available for free without any disruptive in-app purchases or advertisements. So for that close-to-stock experience that's never too demanding, Lean Launcher is it.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

Cake Web Browser

Cake Web Browser is an ingenious new browser for Android that focuses on making the standard web browser search function a lot more intuitive. Each time you search in the browser you can view your results by simply swiping on the screen as if you're sorting through a deck of cards. You also won't have to worry about navigating back to your search page after viewing a result as your search page is separate from the web pages you view.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs


Calendar Widget by Home Agenda

Calendar Widget by Home Agenda is a beautiful and straightforward widget from Francisco Franco. It's designed to work with a wide array of launchers, and the look of the widget is very minimal while maintaining an informative and intuitive UI. And sure, there may be plenty of calendar widgets already available on the Play Store, but it's always nice to have a quality option from a well-respected developer.

Monetization: $1.99 / no ads / no IAPs


KUNI Cam is a photo "light leak" filter application for Android that can easily edit your photos to give them a washed-out artistic look that's currently all the rage. On top of its many light leak filters, there's also a plethora of additional effects and filters that can be used to spice up any photo you wish. And the best part is, all of your edits are non-destructive, so you can quickly go back to the original photo no matter how many changes you make.

Monetization: $3.99 / no ads / IAPs $2.49 a piece


CDisplayEx Comic Reader

If you happen to own an extensive digital library of comic books and you use Windows, then you're probably familiar with CDisplayEx. For many years it has existed as the de facto comic reader for Windows users, and its creators have finally brought the app over to Android just this year. Much like its predecessor, it can handle all of the most prominent formats such as CBZ, CBR, and PDF. Plus it has built-in Samba and FTP sharing, for those of you who prefer to store your comic book library on your PC. Best of all, there's also a free version available on the Play Store. This way you can check out the app before plunking down your hard-earned cash.

Monetization: $5.99 / no ads / no IAPs

CARROT Weather

I don't know about you, but every time I check the weather on my phone I can't help but feel that something is missing. Lo and behold CARROT Weather hit the Play Store this year, and now I know what I've been searching for all this time. You see, this particular weather app centers its forecasts around hilariously snarky descriptions. Apparently, I just required a side of snide served up with my weather forecasts to make me happy.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $3.99

Drum Pads - Beat Maker Go

Drum Pads - Beat Maker Go is just that, a drum machine app for your phone or tablet that can be easily used while you run about town. There's a presets library included with the release that offers a few different high-quality EDM genre sound packs, such as Dubstep, Drum and Bass, and House. This way you can create plenty of beats that suit any of your musical tastes. You can also use up to five different effects on your tracks simultaneously, as well as configure them in real-time.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $1.99 - $69.99

VPNhub - Secure, Private, Fast & Unlimited VPN

Oh boy, I suppose it was only inevitable that Pornhub would start to branch out from its porn kingdom into a more consumer-friendly space. My hope was that the company would try to take on YouTube with a competing video streaming service that doesn't censor its users, but I suppose a new VPN app will do for now. VPNhub is free to use, though there's a paid option (through IAPs) that offers faster speeds, an ad-free experience, and support for multiple devices on the same account.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $8.49 - $84.99

Pocket Campaigns

All of you tabletop RPG fans out there need to take a look at Pocket Campaigns. It's an app built to manage all of your favorite RPG campaigns in one place by utilizing an intuitive card interface that keeps things clean and organized. There are a plethora of categorization options included, and the cards you create will even link to each other when common references are listed in different entries, much like how a wiki works.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $1.99 - $199.99

Best Live Wallpaper of 2018

ShaderPaper - OpenGL Shader Live Wallpapers

DigitallyServiced's ShaderPaper is hands down the best live wallpaper app of the year. There are forty separate shaders to choose from, and each can be tweaked to look exactly however you like. Plus you can conserve your battery by bumping down the movement detail, which is excellent for all of you battery-conscious users out there. Best of all, you get all of this free of charge. So if you're looking for a versatile live wallpaper with an almost endless assortment of options, ShaderPaper is the obvious choice.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs


WTF App of 2018

Die With Me

Die With Me is one of those apps that you have to wonder why it was ever created, but once you use it, you'll get it. Much like climbing a mountain, it's just something that needs to be done. Die With Me is a messaging app, but to be more precise, it's a messaging app that will only work if your device has 5% or less of its battery life left to go. If it does, you can jump into a group chat with random strangers to discuss whatever you like, at least until your phone finally gives up the ghost.

Monetization: $0.99 / no ads / no IAPs


Honorable Mentions

And that is the end of the list. I hope every single one of our readers was able to find a few useful apps for their new Android-compatible devices, and I'd also like to take this chance to wish every one of you a Happy New Year! Please feel free to mention any and all of your favorite apps released in 2018 in the comments below, even if those apps were not included in this particular roundup. This way everyone can join in on the end of the year "best of" holiday fun!

#Google #Android #Smartphones #OS #News @ndrdnws #ndrdnws #AndroidNews

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