The best Android apps in the world, according to Google

Google just held its inaugural Play Awards at its IO developers conference to highlight some of the best apps from around the world.

The company chose one winner in each of ten different categories, with the final decision made by a panel of Googlers who paid attention to factors like user experience and high star ratings.

In other words, if you have an Android phone you should download these apps:

Best App: Houzz

Houzz, which is like Pinterest for home design, snagged the top award.

The app lets you browse through tens of millions of high-resolution photos of home interiors, chat with designers, overlay products in your own space using your device's camera, and buy items that really catch your eye.

Price: Free

Best Early Adopter: World Around Me

Google honored World Around Me for its use of augmented reality to help users discover new places and get around, blending features of Yelp and Google Maps with an AR twist.

When you open the app, you'll see virtual signs through your camera's image of the real world which will suggest nearby places, like bars, ATMs, or bus stations. You can also search for a spot and get AR-guided directions.

Price: Free

Best Families App: Thinkrolls 2

Thinkrolls helps kids get smarter by letting them guide little rolling creatures through a series of challenges while exploring concepts of physics like force, acceleration, and gravity.

The logic puzzle game says that it's 'moulding the next generation of scientific geniuses.'

Price: $2.99

Best Go Global: Pokemon Shuffle Mobile

Google chose Pokemon Shuffle as the app with the best localization and subject matter appeal across multiple regions. Because everyone loves Pokemon.

The game is simple: users complete puzzles and get sucked in by the allure of collecting or levelling up more characters.

Price: Free

Best Game: Clash Royale

Clash Royale is a spin-off of the insanely popular game Clash of Clans, set in the same world with familiar characters. The real-time, multiplayer battle game will hook in anyone who's addicted to the original.

Price: Free

Most Innovative: NYT VR

The New York Times made a splash last year when it sent Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets to all its print subscribers.

With its VR app, The New York Times experiments with a beautiful and immersive new way to experience the news and has already created VR stories about the refugee crisis, mourning in the wake of the Paris attacks, and the presidential campaign.

Price: Free

Best Use of Material Design: Robinhood


Material design is Google's colourful and clean visual design language, and the company is honouring Robinhood, a finance app that lets you trade stocks without paying fees, for the best implementation.

Robinhood makes stock trading cheap and intuitive.

Price: Free

Best Standout Indie: Alphabear

This word puzzle game by indie game studio Spry Fox is as adorable as it is addictive.

Spell words by selecting letters on a grid and collect the cute bears that appear when you're successful.

Price: Free

Best Use of Google Play Game Services: Table Tennis Touch

The Google Play team offers a bunch of different tools to make game apps better, and Table Tennis Touch clearly used a lot of them.

The game is visually stunning, intuitive, and sure to entice anyone who loves a little friendly competition.

Price: $2.99

Best Standout Startup: Hopper


If you love travelling, you need to download Hopper immediately. The app analyses billions of flight prices daily to predict how they will change and will send you push notifications when a desired flight hits its most rock-bottom price.

For this award, Google picked through a selection of new developers with strong app install growth.

Price: Free

To see the full list of all candidates...


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