While many will correctly argue that iOS has a larger selection of exclusive apps, Google's Android also has its fair selection of apps that simply can't be had on the iOS platform. In this piece, we will shine light on a few of the very best Android exclusives you can find around.
Don't forget to also check out some of the best iOS-exclusive apps around
Without further ado, here goes:
Unlike Apple's CarPlay, Google's Android Auto platform is actually available as a standalone app on the Play Store. No, you don't necessarily need a compatible vehicle to make use of all of its driving-friendly functionalities -- all you need is an Android device. Best thing is you don't even have to hook up your phone to your car with a cable as everything works thanks to the magic of the Bluetooth technology. You can even have Android Auto automatically launch once your phone hooks up to your car's Bluetooth -- how neat is that?
With Android Auto, you can easily switch between simplified versions of your phone app, your preferred music or podcast player of choice, and of course, Google Maps. The nifty Google Assistant
is on deck allowing you to do almost anything hands-free and it's also capable of reading out loud incoming message notifications from select popular messaging apps.
The app is quite distraction-free -- if you use it too much at a time, it will automatically pause itself and urge you to keep your eyes on the road, which you should totally do. Once a couple of seconds have passed (and you have preferably paid attention to the road), the app will allow you to use it once again. All in the name of safety! Overall, a must-have Android app for those who spend a lot of time in their vehicles but still want to safely enjoy navigation, Spotify streaming, and the occasional phone call to mom and pop.
We've also highlighted the best Android Auto-compatible Android apps you can download -- check them out right below.
Valve's game-changing Steam Link app lets you stream your Steam library games to your smartphone or tablet, and is currently an Android-exclusive app. Apple shot down Valve's Steam Link app due to the fact that it doesn't allow competing app markets to be easily accessible through iOS apps, but Google has no such fascist countermeasures deployed. However, Apple revisited its rules and we expect Steam Link to be up and running on the App Store in no time. Until then, however, it's an Android exclusive.
With Steam Link, you can access all of your Steam games on your phone and play them with a compatible controller that's paired with the device itself, be it a Bluetooth one or a dedicated mobile gaming rig. Have in mind that you need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as your main Steam machine due to bandwidth reasons.
If you're using Tasker on a regular basis, the following description of its intended purpose will likely make you roll your eyes, but anyway, we need to showcase the beauty of the app to the populace.
Tasker is a super-powerful automation service that lets you do almost anything with your device by creating complex integration profiles triggered by different events, device states, and other definable triggers. It's as complex as it sounds, but that's the beauty of it -- once you master the basics, you will quickly realize how powerful Tasker actually is.
For example, here's just a super-basic sneak peek at what you can program Tasker to do:
- Connect to a specific Wi-Fi network when you are at a certain location;
- Launch a certain app when Bluetooth is connected to a certain Bluetooth device;
- Disable auto-rotation in certain apps and force a specific system-wide orientation;
- Automatically turn on your home's lights as soon as the sun sets;
- Many others;
Truly said, Tasker is the best automation app and has no real flaws. The steep learning-curve is often-cited as its greatest 'issue', but the way we see it, that's actually a highlight of the app.
Chatheads, the layman's word for those nifty floating bubbles that a few Android apps utilize, are quite useful when it comes to multitasking. For what they're worth, apps that utilize chatheads are generally an enormous boon to usability.
Flynx is a neat Android browser that is wholly-based on this concept. With regular browsers, wherever you click on a link you get transported to the browser app itself, but Flynx is having none of that - the link automatically opens in a floating tab and loads in the background, making for an uninterrupted experience.
You never leave the app you were initially using and the link is always available at a fingertip away. A little-known, but genius app nonetheless.
Nothing surprising here -- Nova Launcher is an A+ app for Android. One of the very best, bar none. It's been a few years since Nova Launcher has been our go-to choice for a custom Android launcher. In mid-2018, this still holds true, now even more so.
Unlike other apps that have gradually degraded over time, Nova is still going strong, scoring new features and polishing existing ones to the point where it can safely serve as a model of excellence, an exemplar app that everyone should strive to match.
With unmatched customization and flexibility, Nova Launcher can be easily shaped to your heartfelt's content. While the app has a certain learning curve, but once you get past that, you will truly realize what Nova is capable of.
One of the very best Android launchers is available for free, but this version of the app lacks a bunch of customization options that are essential to the customization of your homescreen. Thus, we'd wholeheartedly recommend getting Nova Launcher Prime, which runs for $4.99.
You can check out many other notable launchers in our ultimate pick of the best ones, available right below:
Muzei is one of the very best live wallpaper apps on the Google Play Store, and due to the specifics of iOS, such apps are not permitted on Apple's tight ecosystem. To be honest, Muzei is not a live wallpaper in the clearest sense of the term - it's not animated or anything like that, it's just a super-customizable wallpaper slideshow app.
With Muzei, you can choose between a trove of wallpaper sources and have the app change your background at a predefined amount of time. You can choose among a hefty trove of Muzei sources which are available as addons, such as Unsplash, Reddit, National Geographic. NASA, Bing, and many others.
Overall, a must-have!
When no copyrighted material is involved in the mix, torrents are a perfectly legal and safe means of downloading or distributing large amounts of data around. Apple, however, decided that it doesn't want any of that on its pristine platform and outright bans torrent apps.
Google is more lax in this regard and has a rich torrent client selection on the Play Store. Of all these, Flud is quite possibly the most fleshed-out one.
Based on the BitTorrent protocol, Flud comes with a trove of essential features, like the ability to download select files and prioritize downloads, download magnet links, sequential download, and many others.
Who needs Find My iPhone when you can get Cerberus, an app that puts anti-theft protect at the next level. Aside from locating your lost device after it has been taken away from you. Aside from letting you track your device, Cerberus also lets you remotely see what Wi-Fi network it is connected to, check out the latest incoming and outgoing calls, take pictures, video and capture audio that will be helpful to identify the thief, and finally, wipe the storage and memory of the handset should all else fail.
Cerberus will only allow a pool of pre-approved SIM cards to be used with the particular device and will immediately alert you over email with the phone's location; the app will also do that if the wrongdoer thinks they're smart enough to start the phone in Airplane Mode. You can also remotely control your device through the Cerberus dashboard website.
Finally, the app protects itself by asking for a username and password if anyone tries to uninstall it and hinder its functionalities.
Bonus: Various Emulators
Truth be told, some emulators exist for iOS, but the process of setting them up is so convoluted that we choose to 'forget' about their existence at all. Nothing beats the relatively straightforward emulation of retro games on Android -- you simply get the game's ROM, load it up in one of the many A+ emulators on the Play Store, and you're pretty much good to go.
Some of the best ones are:
- My Boy! Free GBA Emulator - GBA emulation
- Matsu PSX Emulator - PlayStation, SNES, NES, SEGA Genesis, Game Gear emulation
- Mega N64 - N64 emulation
- PPSSPP PSP Emulator - PSP emulation
- DraStic DS Emulator - Nintendo DS emulation
- ePSXe for Android - PSone emulation
- FPse - PSone emulation
- RetroArch - multiple
- ClassicBoy - PlayStation, N64, Game Boy Advanced, Game Boy Classic, Game Boy Color emulation
- Mupen64Plus FZ - N64 emulation
- SuperRetro16 (SNES Emulator) - SNES emulation
- MD.emu - Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD, and Master System/Mark III emulation
Emulators work perfectly fine on Android