It’s getting harder and harder to find the new app releases on the Play Store now that Google removed the new release section, but that doesn’t mean we here at AP stopped tracking new and exciting releases. And so we’ve compiled a roundup of our favorite new releases of 2022 into this handy roundup. Seeing that many readers will be busy playing with their new Android devices this Christmas, today’s best-of-the-year roundup should help everyone fill their storage with some worthy apps. Whether you’re looking for a keyboard replacement or a calming app to wind down with at night, you’re covered. So what are you waiting for? Get on in there and dig in. Happy Holidays!
Okay, you caught me; I’m starting off with an old app that’s been around since 2012. But what you might not know is that the Steam app was completely overhauled this year, offering a bunch of new features as well as a completely new design. For starters, you can now use the Steam app for your verification when logging into your account. No more dipping into your email to grab a code; simply point your phone at a QR code, and you’re in. On top of this handy feature, there’s now a news feed that covers personalized interests, making it easy to keep up with your favorite games. And what with the overhauled UI, everything is intuitive, including shopping on the store. All in all, Steam’s big app update this year was very welcome (considering how bad the old version was), just in time for everyone to get up to speed with their Steam Deck by browsing the Android app.
If you thought Steam at the top of the list is a good troll, our second-best app of the year also isn’t a new release for 2022 (perhaps a succinct reflection of the current state of apps released on the Play Store). That’s right, BeReal is next on the list, an app from 2020. Despite this release date, the popular photo-sharing app didn’t hit the mainstream until 2022. The idea behind it is simple. Everyone snaps a pic at the same time, at a random time every day. The results are just as amusing as you’d assume, where each day and each shot are forced to be different just by virtue of the random time this takes place. Not only does this cut away at the stylized photos of other apps that aren’t representative of real life, but it also provides an actual sneak peek of what everyone is up to in their day-to-day, which is pretty dang interesting no matter who you follow.
Simple Mobile Tools is pretty well known for its open source apps, from its calendar, gallery, or even flashlight app, you’re covered with some open source goodness. Well, since the company is always expanding its catalog, we saw Simple Keyboard released this year, and much like previous offerings, the app is free, there are no ads, and permissions are kept minimal. Yes, this is a basic keyboard app that isn’t as flashy and feature-rich as the rest, but you can use it knowing full well that your privacy is respected and that you can jump into the code anytime you wish, whether that’s to help with development or audit what you’re using.
At this moment, everyone is pretty displeased with Twitter, so Mastodon has been bandied about as a solid alternative. And it’s true; Mastodon is somewhat similar to Twitter since it too is a micro-blogging platform, but since it’s decentralized, there’s no one person pulling its strings. So for everyone looking for a Twitter alternative in 2022, it just so happened Mastodon launched its full-fledged app this year. Perfect timing. There’s a slight learning curve since anyone can run their own server, but once you get your bearings, not much is different from Twitter in the grand scheme, which is what most people are probably looking for during these strange times.
Daily Diary: Journal with Lock
This is a handy little diary app that got a mention during the Play Store’s best apps and games awards, and we’d like to give it more than a mention as it’s easily one of the best apps to launch in 2022. The beauty is in its simplicity. So yes, this is a diary app, a place to jot down the day’s notes and thoughts, all secured by a password, fingerprint, or face ID (to keep prying eyes away). But you can also track your mood, and you can even attach pictures. Over time you can get a sense of your moods and how they align with what’s going on in your life; this way you can apply what you’ve learned to keep yourself in better moods more frequently. So not only is journaling therapeutic, but you may actually start to uncover what makes you happiest in life.
Little Lunches – Meal Planning
Another honorable mention by Google, Little Lunches, is easily a hidden gem. At its core, it’s a meal-planning app, and it’s great just for this, especially for large families that could use a little help to track and plan meals. But what’s really great is that not only can you build a shopping list out of your newly-planned meals, and you can even order delivery if you don’t have the time to go yourself, which is perfect for professional and related caretakers. Three are even a few parenting guides, and since this is an app focused on the entire family, you can plan meals for infants alongside the adults in the house.
Plant Parent: Plant Care Guide
Not everyone is born with a green thumb, but keeping plants in the house can easily make things feel homier and lived in. The thing is, nobody wants to kill plants needlessly, and while there are plenty of apps out there to help with this, Plant Parent is a slick release from the last year that can easily help you keep all things green thriving. You can set up reminders to water each plant, so they’ll never dry out, and you can even check how much light they are receiving to ensure they remain healthy, which is especially important during the winter months. Heck, you can even use the app to scan plants to learn what they are, which is not only handy when out and about but also useful in one’s yard. So if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all of your plants’ needs and don’t know where to start, Plant Parent is here to help.
Sleep Fruits: Calm Meditation
It would seem there’s been a big push over the last few years for keeping one’s mind right, whether that’s the overuse of apps or simply trying to find a bit of piece at night. Sleep Fruits is a meditation app designed to help everyone live happier and calmer lives. While that’s a big claim for an app, there’s something to be said about getting a full night’s rest, and thanks to the many sounds, music, and stories within this app, you can easily find something that puts you in the right mood to rest peacefully at night. And new content is added each week, so there’s always something fresh to explore.
Having racked up over a million installs over the last year, Widgetshare is a slick little widget the whole family can enjoy. Boiled down, this is an image widget, and you can easily add what images to it you want, but you can also add new users, like friends and family, and everyone who uses the app can change the pics to share with one another. So one day, you can add a shot of your dog doing something adorable, and then the next, a friend can try to one-up you with a pic of their kid doing something even more precious. You could also just add the random interesting images you find online. Truth is, the world is your oyster, and you can share images of that oyster with anyone you share this widget with, which is not only pretty fun but also very useful.
Offering a similar idea to Widgetshare, noteit widget is all about leaving notes for your partner. So the intention of this release is a little more close-knit, where you share notes with your significant other, which could be something as simple as a grocery list or something as simple as love letters that illustrate your dying love for your partner. What’s really great is that you can also jot down doodles, so you’re not limited to text, as any handwritten input will work. So consider the last two widgets a two-fer, keeping both on your home screen to keep in touch with friends and family through the magic of widgets.
Brickize: Brick Wallpapers
It wouldn’t be an end-of-the-year roundup at AP without a live wallpaper on the list, and hands down, the standout live wallpaper for 2022 is Brickize. As you can see, this is a simple app where you can take an image, run it through the app, and you get a Lego-like output with an image made up of bricks. You can choose their size, something akin to the many pixel-based live wallpapers that offer similar image conversion. Still, the result is a slick twist on a familiar formula that should be on the radar of any Lego fan. So make sure to add this live wallpaper app to your new Android phone or tablet to hit the ground running with your themeing in 2023.
What are your favorite Android apps of the year?
Now that everyone has had a chance to look over what AP considers some of the best apps released in 2022, which apps are your favorites? Assuredly there were more than ten noteworthy apps released this past year, so make sure to share your favorites in the comments below so everyone can get in on the fun. After all, it’s the holidays, so let’s let the holiday wash over us and start playing with all those new phones, tablets, and Chromebooks our foolish loved ones purchased for us this season. So go ahead and get to testing, because there’s nothing better than playing around with new electronics during the holidays.