60 essential apps for mobile: Android has finally closed the app gap with iOS

60 essential apps for mobile: Android has finally closed the app gap with iOS
Throughout the last couple of years, we've kept on hearing that Apple has the strongest ecosystem, the most and the best apps, and that basically it’s in a whole different category when it comes to applications and games. There was no reason to challenge this - it was true. But it’s time to finally put this into the past now and admit that Android caught up and it’s now got virtually all the essential applications and games. You wouldn’t miss anything if you transition from iOS to Android, and vice versa.

Let’s first take a quick look at the numbers. Lastly, Apple disclosed it has 650,000 apps in its App Store, and most recently Google’s Android had 600,000 apps on Google Play, only 50,000 short of iOS.

Sure, the numbers have almost evened out and we expect Android to overtake Apple in terms of number of applications in the near future. But heck, out of those apps there are a couple hundred apps that most people will download and a huge pile of specialized apps suited only for some, along with tons of junk. Let’s cut all of this and bring the game back to the very essentials - apps most of you would not only want but need and games that would make you drool and consider switching to another platform.

We’ve got 60 of them - games and applications, and we’ve included Windows Phones for its ambitions to become the third ecosystem. Microsoft's platform is still a long way from being there as you can see in the list below, but it’s also moving in the right direction.

We’ll leave the conclusions to you in the comments below, but right now, here’s our 60 essential apps list - it’s not perfect, but it should cover most basics. We’ve used top app ratings from all around to come up with it, but feel free to suggest adding or removing applications - it’s really up to you. So what do you think - is there still a valid reason to say that iOS has the edge in apps? The tricky part might be the iPad and tablet apps where Apple is still very, very strong unlike Android, but that’s a whole different topic. We’ll look at it soon, as Windows 8 approaches so stay tuned.



1. wendygarett unregistered

I always bring android phone to work to tour to eat and to sleep But when it comes to apps... I always prefer iPhone and iPad no matter what... Because o trust ios more than android :)

29. AppleWho

Posts: 57; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

seriously...how about them 400000+ apps on the appstore that never get downloaded....

32. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

now there might be even more android apps that never get downloaded, we should talk about it only after they provide android's analytics in the 4th quarter,because apple users buy apps more often than android users........its not that the apps are bad, many apps don't get downloaded because its impossible to search for them in the crowded store so people are just attracted towards the most downloaded apps which appear in the beginning....apple's new redesigned app search in the ios 6 will change it and google should do something like that as well, numbers just got too big for these stores

41. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Yeah, I agree. The search feature is really messed up in both stores. If I search for an unpopular app WORD FOR WORD that contains "birds" "camera" "photo" "sms" and so on, it will just show the most popular apps, not the actual one I typed in. Really stinks knowing that google is a company based around search.

46. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

i think the apple one will be better with ios 6-- hopefully they integrated chomp which was really useful for finding relevant searches… i am not sure if they have integrated it yet though and part of the problem with this article is that yes, they both have big name apps, but of the other apps the ones on ios are normally of higher quality and more available… for example i read dvice every day, but there is not an app for android while there is one for ios

47. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

I've never heard of dvice. And yeah, android apps are lacking, expecially on tablets (compared to the iPad)

48. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

its just a tech site about like upcoming technologies being created-- like what the people at Cal tech are doing its just a small app that is easy to create for ios, but not worth it to create for android

59. tahnik

Posts: 200; Member since: Jul 17, 2011

This is the difference between geeks and fans....Fans just don't understand that every OS have their pros and cons...Android is best at it's customization and everything else,but when it comes to app iOS is still far ahead...

66. hwaism

Posts: 10; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

agree. i have both android and iOS. Android customization is great, but nice apps are just not as much as iOS.

62. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

why do you trust Apple: goo [dot] gl/jpnTr are you sure? with Android if you install just play market good apps you are safe and you see all the permissions but wit iOS you DO NOT KNOW anything when installing :) that is why 40 % of popular iOS apps brake your privacy ;)

63. Mxyzptlk unregistered

20 people thumbed that down because it's true.

2. sid07desai

Posts: 290; Member since: May 03, 2012

Developers hesitated to make apps for Android as it is open source and there are ways to get paid apps of free and the iOS market was more profitable. But now, as Android is dominating the smartphone market, there might be a rise. Maybe even more than iOS.

15. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

ios has got that number after apple has rejected hundreds of thousands of junk apps and useless apps.......google should do the same thing as well, even if hundreds of thousands have to be removed from the play store, numbers are not as important as quality and security

17. maryaaadil

Posts: 146; Member since: Apr 07, 2012


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Which i think the consumers will, or wont download?

27. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

maybe they will, but the problem is that everyone talks about the most downloaded apps, no one cares about the alternative apps, as you can see in this article itself, everyone cares about the apps that were downloaded more number of times, maybe there are much better apps in those 400,000 than the ones listed in this article but its very difficult to look at all the 650,000 apps

24. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

thats exactly what i want to say, number is not as important as quality.....ios apps have around 11 billion more downloads than google apps, so google has atleast 450,000 apps that aren't downloaded.....numbers don't matter anymore.....popular app releases, quicker releases, quality and security matters the most, we don't need numbers because we won't download even download 1% of those apps

3. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

google should start removing junk apps, useless apps and malware from the google play store.........and i hope that google also reduces fragmentation and get all the latest releases as quick as apple....all these things are easier said than done,developers will always prefer apple,apple's xcode can make apps that are more beautiful and polished....... apple rejected hundreds of thousands of apps already for quality and security.................i am just thinking of microsoft, how will they fill this dent? microsoft will find it very difficult to get some marketshare from google's android..........

10. dok2005

Posts: 55; Member since: Apr 18, 2012

the fragmentation isnt that bad. android is open source people choose what they want to do with it. If you really want to keep super on top then you should root and add new rom to your phone. you not missing out on many apps trust me. you say apple xcode makes things more beautiful and polish thats not true. it all depends on how the developer design the game, the resolution/ppi of your device, the processor, and the size of your screen.

14. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

no, fragmentation is bad, for us and also for the developers.........my cousin is a developer, he says that xcode can make more beautiful apps, its also easy to make apple apps, they are safe and make 4 times more money than android......my galaxy nexus is already rooted....anyways, what do you think about wp8?

19. jordanetodd

Posts: 6; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

my cousin is a fire fighter, does that make me an expert on fighting fires? No. It doesn't. I have a new android phone every month, and I'm constantly roming and modding them, from the minute I get them. As more people upgrade to newer phones with better processors, the fragmentation problems start to dwindle into the past, you have to format your apps to work with different screen sizes, which is soon to be the case on iOS as well, with the new bigger iphone.

26. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

my brother tells me everything about developing apps, i see him doing things and i have observed and experienced how things are done...let me tell you that screen size doesn't matter, its the resolution that creates fragmentation, apple has only 2 different resolutions in tablets and 3 different resolutions in phones after the new iphone is released.........no one complained of fragmentation when the iphone 4 was released, there aren't any problems of fragmentation in the ipad apps even though apple released the new ipad with 4X better resolution few months back........there is no problem as long as you have 2 or 3 resolutions, especially when all the devices run on apple processors.......in android there are thousands of different resolutions and processors of different brands, even the developers don't know how many different types of android phones and tablets are there........now there is a reason why developers prefer apple.

40. dok2005

Posts: 55; Member since: Apr 18, 2012

ok for developer point of view again fragmentation isnt that bad. you act like theirs 50 million version, but its not. if it was then no developer would even try. not only that but just like almost every developer being doing. make the application usable on all basic formats. if you look in google play app selection now alot of them would say android 2.2/2.3 or higher. which covers the majority of phone from low range to top tier. the only phones it wouldn't cover is phones before that time. which mean somebody is still carrying around an htc dream/ g1. and thats no different from someone still carrying around the original iphone. they reached their EOL. Again I explain what makes the app looks like it look. you got an galaxy nexus you should know. yes iphone makes more money because the only way to get an app is through the app store unless you jailbreak it. then the app has to be cracked to use and then you got to find it. Android phones dont have to be rooted to do that. So paid apps become free. if you can find them. windows as a company is playing catch up way to late. honestly if you compared the possibilities of what the original iphone vs windows phone of that time. The software really still had leaps and bounds over ios at the time. except windows didnt improve and let ios become the power house it is. So, it has alot to prove. Honestly it might be the real third ecosystem. Since so far if you been keeping up they really having the phone companies making the wp8 verison of the android phone. (Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Odyssey) Also have to keep in mind that alot of people use to be Blackberry fans. I think they might tie with them with the BB10 software. Only time will tell though.

42. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

when you compare android with ios, the developer would prefer ios.......its not only the resolution, processors and gpus that are different for android devices, most of the people use os thats 2 generations old......now developers have to concentrate more on android 2.3 than on android 4 and 4.1 respectively.....some of them don't optimize the apps for android 4 or later and some are forced to just for the few percentage of people using it......plus developers are also being forced to make two versions of android games these days, one for the nvidia tegra 3 and the other for the rest, thats a tiresome job...in that way every processor might require its own version but the developers can't provide that..even google developed the latest google search app for ios before android 2.3, 3 and 4.......and after all this an average developer earns 4 times more on ios, so ios is an obvious choice for apps..... microsoft has been careful, they are trying to avoid fragmentation as much as possible, even though they might not be as clean as apple ios, if they set up such limitations, they can have good quality apps, the only thing that they need now is some marketshare, android will have more marketshare for years but wp os needs some marketshare.

4. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

you know, all the apps yoi need is in android. just not everything is quality... I wanted infinity blade so bad... and also, keeping my mind open, most of the apps and all in Android might be launcher themes and wallpapers and all. some we don't even bother checking. Android has a long way to go in terms of quality. I'm hoping Android's design team fixes it.

43. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Dude you're definitely right, you hit a lot of points that the author completely didn't even think about. 1. Android has a ton of downloadable widgets, which is good and bad. First, these widgets are included in the total app count (which is fine), and secondly, there are a lot of repeat widgets with repeated functions i.e. the hundreds of weather widgets some of which look/work exactly the same. Also keep in mind that a single live wallpaper is considered an app in the play store....and there are hundreds if not thousands of them. Again this isn't a bad thing, but when the author says Android is only "50,000 short of iOS" its important to keep the numbers in perspective. 2. The apps listed above are the most popular and some of the most basic applications so of course Android is going to have those. there's nothing exceptional about offering applications like Google+, Pandora, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, etc. If you go to the App Store right now, skip the top 25, and go to the featured what's new and what's hot categories, a lot/most of those applications are not available on Android. Also, the wait time for Android to get some of these applications was not even addressed. Yes its great that some great applications are available on both platforms, but the 2.5 years I had to wait to get applications like 2Do on Android was no walk in the park. 3. Also, just because an app is available in the play store doesn't mean its going to work [well] with your device, regardless of how new or up to date it is. Going through the Android market, you read reviews about frustrated customers i.e. Doesn't work on the Evo 3D, always crashes on the SGII, or won't even load on my device. The App Store has its fair share of compatibility issues, but nowhere to the extent of what is found in the Play Store. The graphics are a lot better on a lot of the applications as well. Some apps look completely terrible on those 4.8 screens with big words and pixelized icons. Graphics in games are also much more crisp and better looking. Even a simple game like cut the rope has noticeable difference across iOS and Android. On the SGIII, the colors were saturated and although saying it was pixel-ized would be a lie, it wasn't as crisp as the iOS version. Victor definitely jumped the gun on this one.

5. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

Why would you list iApps? Of course they're not going to be available from playstore. iPhoto yes no no iMovie yes no no GarageBand yes no no I guess you should list Google Maps

8. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

google maps is screwed with by nokia maps...

13. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

why? whats so awesome about nokia maps?

16. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 2011


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