No matter how many great apps I have loaded on my smartphones and tablets, and I have plenty, I’m always on the lookout for ones I may have missed. So I look forward to Apple's and Google’s year-end best apps lists—and they just came out.
This year, Google went to users and asked them to share their top picks. With more than one million votes cast, here are the Google’s Players’ Choice Award winners.
- Knights & Dragons (free) - a fantasy- based, action game
- The Hobbit: Kingdoms (free) - an action/strategy game set in Middle-earth
- Movies by Flixster (free) - movie reviews, trailers and showtimes
- Ingress (free) - a global game of mystery, intrigue, and competition
- NewsHog: Google News & Weather (free) - a mobile news aggregator
- Bejeweled Blitz (free) - Popcap's enduring puzzle matching game
- Duolingo: Learn Languages Free (free) - Teaches Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English
- YouTube (free) - For your daily dose of internet culture
- Samurai Siege (free) - a multiplayer combat strategy game
- SwiftKey Keyboard ($3.99) - a word-prediction based onscreen keyboard replacement
Google also surfaces its picks on its list Best Apps of 2013: Apps You've Never Heard Of.
Apple bases its top apps list on the number of downloads so there is not any surprises here. Though this year the company added its top pick, the free language learning app Duolingo (free) and two runners up: VSCO (free), a photo and video editing app, and Endless Alphabet ($5.99), an educational app.
- Candy Crush Saga (free) - I'm sure we all know someone who has played this addictive game
- YouTube (free) - Many great features including search by voice
- Temple Run 2 (free) - A sequel that is superior to the original game, surprisingly
- Vine (free) - Twitter for video
- Google Maps (free) - One of the best driving direction apps out there
- Snapchat (free) - The choice of teens for sending pics
- Instagram (free) - The choice for foodies for sharing pics
- Facebook (free) - Watch out for those autoplay videos coming your way!
- Pandora Radio (free) - Great music streaming service
- Despicable Me: Minion Rush (free) - This game is a guaranteed hit with the kids
And if you’re gifting an iOS device or have one, be sure to download 12 Days of Gifts (free), which gives you access to free content, including apps, videos and music, between December 26, 2013 and January 6, 2014.