The best Android apps of 2011

Android prospered in 2011. Developers are getting smarter by programming apps to work among the variety of devices, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich could unify the operating system in 2012.

Games are no longer sub-standard clones from iOS and productivity apps are excellent additions on Android devices. The landscape for apps is expanding quickly, and 2012 will undoubtedly be another great year of growth.

There are some incredible apps and games that came out this year.  Here is Softonic’s list of the best Android apps in 2011.

GT Racing: Motor Academy

Racing games are difficult to develop on mobile devices, but GT Racing: Motor Academy got it right. Three game modes, great graphics, and high customization combine into a realistic and dense racing game. And that doesn’t even include the variety of tracks and 111 cars to earn and drive.

The immense amount of content can keep you busy for many hours, and completists will have a great time unlocking everything.

Brothers in Arms 2 Free+

First person shooters (FPS) games are the most difficult to translate from keyboard/mouse and console to mobile devices, but Brothers in Arms 2 Free+ is successful on Android.

The amount of gameplay is staggering with 50 single player missions and online multiplayer. Even though the graphics might not meet high definition standards, the game throws a lot of action into your face with explosions and enemies on screen.

Third Blade

Fast action is always fun and Third Blade delivers. The cartoon visuals allow the fast animation to keep gameplay intense with multiple enemies and character customization that change the gameplay.

Rather than have you earn different weapons, Third Blade gives three different blades in the beginning, allowing you to customize combat styles. Even though the gameplay is button-mashing, Third Blade makes it feel good.

Frontline Commando

A late release in 2011, Frontline Commando is one of the first Android games that uses the tablet landscape correctly. The third person shooter is visually the closest to a console game you can find on Android.

A variety of weapons, destructible cover, and polished graphics make each moment in the game satisfying. Those elements and very accurate aiming create a gaming experience that has not been matched yet on tablets. Finally, the sniper rifle can actually be used as a sniper rifle.

Inertia: Escape Velocity HD

Another game to use Honeycomb tablets to its advantage, Inertia: Escape Velocity HD combines puzzle and platforming games together. The gravity mechanic changes how you will experience the entire game. Incredible graphics, highly polished controls and gameplay make Inertia: Escape Velocity HD a necessary puzzle game.

You can finish the game without worrying about the time, but try to complete every level within the limits and it becomes a new experience.

Viber

Bypassing international phone charges is easy with Viber. Using a Wi-Fi or data connection, Viber uses your real phone number to call others. Although callers need to verify their phone number, the call quality is incredible and the app also includes text messaging.

For someone who travels, Viber is a great alternative to Skype and doesn’t require a lengthy log-in to access important features.

Google+

As with James’ best iOS apps of 2011 post, Google+ is a great social app for Android. This is because the users who actively contribute to Google+ are different from Twitter and Facebook. The consistent updates are creating an incredible all-in-one app by including the simple and efficient Messenger and Mobile Hangouts that allow video chat with up to 9 others.

Google Currents

Google Currents is a feed aggregate presenting content in a digital magazine format. It’s simple to setup and download new content very quickly. The app presents the interface differently depending on if the app is installed on a smartphone or tablet, but the ease of use is the same. Import from big name publishers or find feeds from your favorite blogs and view new content daily.

Google Music

Even though Pandora and Spotify are the most popular streaming music services, Google Music offers service that others don’t — your personal library. Even though it’s possible to load devices with your music,  it’s nice not to worry about a physical device and be able to access music wirelessly.

Google Music offers that service. The support for uploading 20,000 songs could easily be an entire library. Combined with Google Music on mobile devices and that library can be streamed with little loss of quality. While you might not find new music as you would on other streaming apps, many users will find that the ease of accessing their own songs on this service far outweighs not being able to search for new music.

Google Music can also be accessed through a web browser so global access is available.

Alfred

Suggestion apps are very useful, especially for food. But many of those apps rely on other users’ opinions that may not sync with personal taste. Alfred is different because you train the app to your own personal taste by answering questions, while Alfred compares those restaurants to similar places.

As you train Alfred further, the app becomes more precise and can accurately suggest food or bars that you would enjoy. Alfred uses GPS to locate places and includes opinions of other users, but it doesn’t suggest restaurants based on other peoples’ opinions, just your own.

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