My favorite Android apps of 2014

Just wanted to share a list of my favorite recent Android apps.  I'm not going to include older apps that we've covered in other threads, these are just the apps I've discovered in 2014 I find myself using frequently.  I won't include apps that require root because that's a whole different conversation:

Messaging/Calls (SMS/MMS) - Contacts + - I like this app because it's a phone, contacts, and messaging app all in one.  It has some advanced features for all those roles, I especially like the pop-up notification that makes reading and replying to messages easy.

Exchange E-Mail - Moxier Mail - For some reason this isn't available in the regular Google Store search, but it's in there (link included).  I've used Touchdown and others and I keep going back to Moxier.  It's the best on battery life and just works.  A lot of corps nowadays force you to allow them to take control of your entire phone in order to access the Exchange mail, but with Moxier, you can bypass that.  Moxier isn't free, but it's the best I've used for the purpose of getting Exchange mail, calendar, tasks, etc. on Android.

News (Reading) - Smart News - I love the layout and navigation of Smart News.  It automatically sets up the different categories, so no need to set up or sign up, or any of that nonsense.  Just launch the app and get to the news that interest you.

News (Listening) - Umano - If you like listening to news articles instead of reading them, Umano is IMO, still the best choice.  Why?  More than anything it is because the news articles aren't read by a robot, but by a person, a professional.   I liked the old interface a lot better, but it's still pretty good.

Youtube Client - Viral Pop-Up - Why would you need a separate Youtube client on Android when the stock one is pretty good?  Well if you want to be able to shut off your screen and still listen to what is playing you do.  Of if you want to play the video in a draggable window so you can do other things while you youtube.  Viral Pop-Up is pretty darn good for those situations.

Games - QuizUp / Bruce Lee - Quiz Up is just a fantastic game you play with other folks around the world.  It's a trivia game, and there's trivia for whatever floats your boat. I'm addicted this thing.. find me on there as Granpa.. of course.  Bruce Lee... it's fuckin Bruce Lee, if I have to sell you on this game, you're in the wrong forum.

Browser - Link Bubble - I wouldn't say this replaced Chrome entirely, but what Link Bubble does is that it allows you to open a link in a "Facebook Messenger" type bubble, so you can view the contents without leaving the current app you're in.  It's very, very handy.  The paid version is worth it too.

Weather - Yahoo Weather - It's a beautiful weather app with enormous utility.  There's not much more to say, I prefer it to the Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and Accuweather.  It's a great combination of aesthetics and usability.

Twitter Client - Plume - If the regular Twitter client doesn't cut it for you, Plume is a good, free choice.  Talon is better, but costs $ and IMO, what it brings over Plume is not worth the price.

Notifications/Reminders - Pushbullet - If you have a hankering for synchronizing notifications and reminders on your devices, Pushbullet is king.  With a great Firefox and Chrome addon, it allows you to get notifications on your desktop, send messages, links, etc. back and forth between your phone and PC.   It also integrates very well with...

Automation - IFTTT - Now lets be clear, Tasker is the king of Android automation, but it's a royal pain to set up, configure, require root, and it's not free. The best alternative out there that is much easier to use is IFTTT.  As I said, it works great with Pushbullet (for example for setting up reminders that trigger when you get home, or when you get to work), and works great with home automation products as well.

Wallpapers - Wally - Now that Wallbase is no more, the remnants of it have resurfaced as Wally.  If you like changing your wallpaper often, or just like looking at pretty pictures, you'll be hard pressed to find a better app.

Promising Apps still in Beta:

There are a couple of apps here I'm going to list that you should keep an eye on.  They are still in beta, but are very promising.

Messaging - Wire - This is a new messaging app from the creators of Skype (those that didn't get swallowed by Microsoft).  The UI is terrific, and it allows you to send not only messages, but voice and video messages, videos in general (from Youtube or whatever).  It's a little buggy, but should be a good replacement for Whatapps and all those other messaging apps in the future.

Launcher - Flow Home - I was a big fan of Blinkfeed on my HTC One, but because HTC makes beautiful but shitty hardware, I no longer have an HTC One.  I've been looking for a replacement to run on my OnePlus One but haven't found a good one (yes I tried the Blinkfeed for all launchers on XDA but it is laggy and buggy as hell).  Until now.  Flow Home is still in beta, and it is definitely not a finished product, but man is it beautiful and smooooooooth!  The devs are really great guys that are very involved with the users and are working on adding a lot of cool things to the launcher, while at the same time, they are strickly committed to keeping the experience smooth and not battery-hungry.   It's a very simplistic launcher now, but works great and is going to be even better in the future.

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