The Google Play Awards are making a welcome return this year. This event is a big one for app makers. In fact, we’d go as far to say that it’s the Oscars for Android apps.
The winning apps will be revealed on Thursday 18 May during Google’s annual I/O conference. Nominations have just been announced - so let’s take a look at the twelve award categories, and check out the apps that are in with a chance of glory.
This is the big one, and it’ll go to the app that Google thinks best fits its criteria of “A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal.”
Citymapper. A trip planner that makes cities easier to use.
Fabulous. A stunning looking motivational app.
Memrise. A fun language app that gamifies the learning process.
Money Lover. A smart personal finance app packed with features.
Quik. A video editor that does all the hard work for you.
The winner of best game will have awesome graphics, great gameplay (of course) and keep you coming back for more. It’ll be interesting to see how Pokémon GO fares here - does anybody actually still play it?
Choices. Immersive visual stories where you control what happens next.
Fire Emblem Heroes. Nintendo's hit role-playing game, reimagined for mobile devices.
Lineage 2 Revolution. A huge multiplayer online role-playing game with real-time battles.
Pokémon GO. Needs no introduction. Remember when you tried to catch ‘em all?
Transformers: Forged to Fight. An action fighting game with huge robots. What’s not to like?
This is the category for those games that can be described as beautiful little time wasters. Mars: Mars is a perfect example of this. We’re also big fans of Kingdom: New Lands, but aren't quite so taken with its £9.99 price tag.
Causality. A puzzle game where you manipulate time itself.
Kingdom: New Lands. An epic 2D side-scrolling strategy game with a hefty price tag.
Mars: Mars. A simple, stylish and addictive platform game.
Mushroom 11. A stunningly original and beautifully designed puzzle.
Reigns. A strategy game that lets you build your own dynasty to rule over.
These are the best apps from the new app developers out there. Hooked is an original idea well worth checking out - it’s a collection of great little stories told in the form of text message conversations.
CastBox. A free podcast hosting and listening platform.
Digit. A cash management tool that lets you save money automatically.
Discord. A voice and text chat app specifically for gamers.
Hooked. Stories told as if you were reading someone’s chat history.
Simple Habit. A guided mediation app designed to help you reach specific goals.
Best Android Wear experience
These are the best apps that have been specifically designed for this year’s new Android Wear 2.0 operating system.
Bring! An app to help you plan and manage your grocery shopping.
Foursquare City Guide. A handy tool for discovering a city’s hidden gems.
Lifesum. Your personalised health and lifestyle guide.
Runtastic. A feature-packed running and fitness tracker.
Seven. The famous 7-minute daily workout.
Best TV experience
This is an easy one to predict, surely? All we’re saying is, Netflix and chill…
AbemaTV. A Japanese internet TV service with around 30 free channels.
HaystackTV. A daily newscast, personalised for you.
KKBox. A comprehensive Asian music library with over 30 million tracks.
Netflix. The world’s leading TV and movie subscription service.
Red Bull TV. A global entertainment platform, featuring music, sporting events and movies.
Best VR experience
In this category, Google is looking for immersive experiences that make good use of its Daydream VR user interface.
Gunjack 2: End of Shift. An immersive, cinematic VR shooter.
Mekorama VR. Help a cute little robot find its way home.
The Arcslinger. A cartoon style shooter that puts you in the shoes of a wild west gunslinger.
The Turning Forest. A VR fairytale for all ages. From the BBC.
Virtual Virtual Reality. A two-hour game set in the not-too-distant future.
Best AR experience
These are the best apps or games that harness the state-of-the-art technology of augmented reality.
Crayola Color Blaster. A walk-around AR game where cartoon creatures invade the real world.
Dinosaurs Among Us. From the American Museum of Natural History – an AR app that brings dinosaurs to your home.
Holo. A camera app that lets you add holograms to real-life situations.
WayfairView. A shopping aid that lets you put virtual furniture in your home to see how it looks.
Woorld. A game that lets you transform any space into a world full of toys and fun characters.
Best app for kids
The winner of this category will have a family-friendly design, and contain a mix of creativity, exploration and education.
Animal Jam. An online playground where kids can become their favourite animal and meet their friends.
Hot Wheels: Race Off. A great racing game for kids, from the much-loved Hot Wheels brand.
Teeny Titans. A cute role-playing game based on the popular Teen Titans TV show.
Think! Think! Brain training for your youngster, with over 2,000 quizzes.
Toca Life: Vacation. Kids can take their favourite Toca character on holiday, with four locations to explore.
Best multiplayer game
All these nomination are worth checking out if you enjoy going into battle with fellow gamers online. But we’re giving the nod to Dawn of Titans.
Dawn of Titans. A stunning game with awesome graphics, in-depth tactics and massive battles.
FIFA Mobile. It’s FIFA football, completely redesigned and built for mobile.
Hearthstone. A fast-paced card game with a magical twist.
Lords Mobile. A real-time strategy game where you do battle in a world of chaos.
Modern Strike Online. A first-person shooter with console-quality graphics.
Best accessibility experience
These apps all offer innovative ways of letting people with disabilities or special needs interact with their devices. We’re rooting for IFTTT here, as it’s been a long time favourite of ours. In fact, we first reviewed it over two years ago.
A Blind Legend. An adventure game without any video. You use your ears, rather than your eyes.
Eye-D. A guide that helps visually impaired people be location aware, and explore places of interest.
IFTTT. If this then that lets you create commands that connect your favourite services with one another.
Open Sesame.Touch free control for your phone, cleverly utilising your front-facing camera.
SwiftKey Symbols. A symbol-based app designed to help individuals with communication disabilities interact with their carers.
Best social impact
These apps, Google says, “create meaningful social impact for a broad spectrum of people around the world.” We’re pleased to see Sea Hero Quest here. It’s a game that helps scientist in the fight against dementia, and we happily gave it an in-depth review when it launched.
Charity Miles. An app that helps you raise money for charity when you walk, run and cycle.
Peek Acuity. An accurate and proven eyesight test, designed by professionals.
Prodeaf. A translator that turns English into sign language.
Sea Hero Quest. A game where your results can help scientists fight dementia.
ShareTheMeal. A charity app that lets you feed a child a need.
We’ll update you with the full list of winners shortly after the big event takes place on 18 May. Until then, feel free to give us your predictions. Are you as confident as we are of Netflix being a winner? Share your thoughts below.