For most people with a smartphone or tablet, their most-used apps weren’t released in 2014. Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, Candy Crush Saga, Kindle, Spotify, Clash of Clans, YouTube… these apps have been out for years, albeit regularly updated since their original releases.
Does that mean there aren’t any good new ideas in the world of apps? Nope. There were plenty in 2014, from useful productivity apps for iPhone and Android smartphones, to inventive tablet games and creative, educational children’s apps.
If you’ve unwrapped a new device for Christmas, or simply fancy browsing the best apps that 2014 has to offer, here are some tasters of the top apps in those roundups, with links to the full articles, and to similar pieces from previous years.
The best Android apps of 2014
- “Mailbox: one of the better ways to attain the fabled Inbox Zero – or at least try to – by swiping unwanted emails aside like they’re unwanted matches in Tinder. Slick design, its integration with Gmail and the ability to “snooze” non-urgent emails made it a useful productivity tool…”
The best Android games of 2014
- “Beautiful puzzler Monument Valley won bags of critical acclaim in 2014, deservedly. It’s a surreal shape-shifting game that sees you guiding a mysterious princess through a series of impossible-architecture levels by tapping and swiping. Short, but wonderfully sweet…”
The best Android apps for kids of 2014
- “Endless Reader is full of character: an app where a troop of colourful monsters teach your children how to spell a series of words, as well as acting them out. The app focuses on tricky words (“sight” words in some schools) that children need to recognise as they learn to read. Six words come for free, with more available for parents to buy using in-app purchases…
The best iPhone apps of 2014
- “The most popular keyboard-replacement app on Android, SwiftKey Keyboard, made the leap to iOS in time for the launch of iOS 8, with its emphasis on the way it learns your writing style – with Facebook, Twitter and Gmail logins able to give it a head start – to make its predictions even smarter…”
The best iPad apps of 2014
- “If you want more from a photo-editing app than simple filters and cropping, Pixelmator is just the thing: a powerful yet easy-to-use image-editing app with more retouching tools than you can shake a (paintbrush) stick at, tapping Apple’s iCloud service to run across devices…”
The best iPhone and iPad games of 2014
- “Vainglory takes one of the most hardcore PC gaming genres – MOBA – and makes it marvellously enjoyable (yet no less hardcore) to play on a touchscreen device. At its best on iPad, it throws you into beautiful-looking three-on-three battles, with a system of in-app purchases that takes great care to avoid “pay-to-win” dynamics…”
The best iPhone and iPad apps for kids of 2014
- “British books and apps publisher Nosy Crow has made a succession of beautiful fairytale apps, all with a strong eye on encouraging reading, not just tapping on interactive whizziness. Jack and the Beanstalk was their best effort yet, blending storytelling and light gaming with the company’s now-familiar voice narration from children, not grown-ups…”
If that’s not enough apps, here are some links to previous years’ roundups, to help stock your new device ready for 2015 and beyond.
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