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Software

Best Android apps of 2013

Looking for the best apps available for your Android device? Take a look at our list of favourites, including free and paid for apps.

Google's Play Store may have gotten off to a slow start, but now it's a roaring success with over a million apps available for download.

The quality of these apps varies from outstanding to outstandingly awful and with so many available, it can be tricky sorting the wheat from the chaff. This is why we've put together a list of 20 of our favourite apps released this year, including both paid for and free apps.

Call of Duty: Strike Team

You can only play it on a limited range of Android devices at present, but Call of Duty: Strike Team has largely lived up to the pre-release hype thanks to its ace graphics and frenetic gameplay. It also sets itself apart from many other similar titles because it lets you switch between the traditional first-person perspective and a top-down third-person option that you can use when you want to concentrate on getting your team tactics in order.

Get it now for £4.33 from Google Play.

Temple Run 2

The original Temple Run was a huge hit and spawned a large number of copycat titles of varying quality. This update shows those imitators how it's done. It adds lots of extra features, including zip lines that you can speed down and a mine cart section that has you leaning from left to right as you ride fast and furious over rails underground. All in all, it's an excellent sequel with tonnes of new content, beautiful graphics, and more heart-pounding escape game action.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Asphalt 8: Airborne adds a new element to Gameloft's arcade racing franchise by letting you get big air in order to perform tricks. Even when you're firmly on the track it still delivers on the fast-paced action that makes arcade racing games so enjoyable, as there are loads of cars to unlock and fun tracks to explore. In fact, it's arguably the best arcade racing game out there simply because it offers so much light-hearted racing fun.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Rayman Fiesta Run

Rayman Jungle Run was something of an unexpected pleasure, as it was a beautifully crafted running game with easy, accurate controls and liberal dashings of humour throughout. Fiesta Run follows much the same formula but adds a few new moves and better graphics. As a result it's just as insanely addictive as the first title.

Get it now for £2 from Google Play.

Strata Free

Strata is a very cleverly designed puzzle game. The play area is a grid and over this you lay ribbons across the columns and rows trying to match the colour of the ribbon to the squares beneath. The tricky part is that the ribbons overlap and the top ribbon's colour is the one that must match the square below it. Like most games in the puzzle genre it starts off fairly easy, but becomes progressively more complex and more addictive.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Orborun

If Tron and Super Monkeyball had a love child, it would probably look something like Orborun. You have to steer a robotic Orb that constantly rolls forward across a futuristic landscape that's strewn with obstacles and puzzles that you must navigate around. The difficultly is set quite high, but equally it's very rewarding when you complete a particularly tricky level.

Get it now for £1.50 from Google Play.

CyanogenMod Installer

If you're tempted to try out the CyanogenMod custom Rom on your Android device, this app should help. It's designed to be used in conjunction with a piece of PC software in order to make the process of installing CyanogenMod Roms much easier than before. Be warned though, using it may void your warranty.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Football Manager Handheld 2014

This latest update of the classic football management sim adds better graphics and a more intuitive menu system. There's also a new My Club mode that lets you create your own club from scratch and the transfer system has been improved to make it more realistic. It's a fine update to what was already a cracking game for footy fanatics.

Get it now for £7 from Google Play.

Camera Awesome

It's taken a long time, and it still only supports a relatively small number of devices, but Camera Awesome has finally made its way from iOS to Android. It allows you to do clever stuff like set different exposure and focus points depending on where you tap on the screen and also includes high quality filters that look good even when you transfer photos and view them on a large computer screen.

Get it now for £1.87 from Google Play.

Toy Story: Story Theater

This app from Disney allows children to use the characters from Toy Story to create their own tales. Children can first choose some background scenery, such as the Wild West or outer space, and then add characters and props via virtual stickers. They can then move these stickers around and record their voice in order to build up the narrative.

Get it now for £1.87 from Google Play.

Cbeebies Playtime

This is Cbeebies' first app for smart phones and tablets and it's aimed mostly at toddlers and pre-schoolers. It includes a number of different games and activities that are based around many of the channel's favourite shows and characters. It supports separate profiles for up to four children and there's also an adult profile so parents can log-in to check what activities their kids have been taking part in.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Into the Dead

If you're currently gorging on the Walking Dead TV show and want a runner-style game that shares a similar theme and aesthetic, then give this game a go. The concept's hardly complicated (move left and right to avoid zombies, get weapons, survive), but it's much creepier than Temple Run.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Real Boxing

Blow for blow this is the best boxing available on any mobile phone right now. The single player mode is excellent, while a great multiplayer option that lets you duke it out against other gamers around the world ensures you'll keep coming back for more punishment. Add in excellent graphics thanks to its use of the Unreal Engine 3 and you've got a real heavyweight of a boxing game.

Get it now for £1 from Google Play.

Galaxy on Fire 2 HD

Galaxy on Fire 2 offers a vast galaxy to explore with more than 30 different star systems and 100 individual space stations. Thankfully it keeps you on track and engaged with the game by offering you different missions that you can choose to take on in order to gain riches and upgrade your ships. The graphics have been improved for this second iteration and although the controls can still be tricky at times, it’s a top-class space shooter.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Quad Drawer

Level Up Studios is best known for its Beautiful Widgets range, but here it's turned its attention towards creating a speedier to use Android app drawer. The main difference is that it shows a keypad in the app drawer so you can quickly search for what you're looking for. This really does work rather well, but the app has a few other useful tricks up its sleeve, such as the ability to automatically rearrange apps based on how often you use them.

Get it now for 79p from Google Play.

Imgur - official app

If you're obsessed with pictures of cute cats and the types of snaps that go viral on the Web then this official app for Imgur is for you. It lets you quickly see what images are most popular right now, comment on other users' images and also upload your own snapshots direct from your phone or tablet.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Boomerang

This is the native app for the Boomerang service. Essentially it's an email assistant that works with your Gmail account and allows you to cue up emails to send later, set follow-up reminders, and notify you if you don't hear back from someone within a specific time. If you have to deal with loads of emails on a daily basis and need some help managing your inbox, it's well worth a download.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

Soundwave

Soundwave is an app that aims to help you find new music to listen to. That's not exactly a revolutionary concept in the world of apps, but it takes a more social approach than many of its competitors and even allows you to check out what some celebrities are into, including good old Steve Wozniak, who is a big fan of the app.

Get it now for free from Google Play.

GO Launcher Prime

One of the great things about Android is that its user interface is so customisable. Go Launcher Prime is one of the best ways to customise your phone. It supports two-fingered gestures (not the rude kind), lots of nifty transitions and also gets rid of the ads associated with the free version of this app.

Get it now for £3.71 from Google Play.

Google CloudPrint 

This is the native app for Google's Cloud Print Internet printing service. If you've got a Cloud Print compatible printer that's hooked up to the Web this app allows you to print to it from your phone no matter where you are in the world. You can also share photos to your printer from within your phone's photo gallery and easily track the progress of your print jobs.

Get it now for free from Google Play.