The Top Mobile Applications on Google Play in 2020

The Google Play Store launched under the name Android Market on October 22, 2008, with just 13 apps. That’s an amusing number when you consider the current number of apps available on the Google Play Market: nearly 3.04 million as of September 2020 according to Statista.

The mind-blowing diversity of apps and games can quickly confuse users. So many options to choose from makes it challenging to find the most appropriate app. Consequently, even useful apps have difficulty getting recognized. That’s why in 2016, the digital distribution service established its annual Google Play Awards with the noble intention of drawing the public’s attention to the best new apps and games.  

Google Play encourages users to nominate the best apps, movies, TV shows, and books for its awards and asks Play Store editors to compile their own lists of the same products. This mix of consumers’ and experts’ opinions helps users be heard and at the same time not miss valuable new products. 

Google Play Awards in 2020

The winners of the Google Play Awards are traditionally announced during Google I/O, an annual developer conference held by Google in Mountain View, California. The 2020 conference was originally scheduled for May. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Google considered alternative formats and eventually canceled the event. 

But this cancellation didn’t affect this year’s Google Play Awards. Like in 2019, the Google Play Users’ Choice Awards 2020 allowed people to pick their favorite content and trending apps. The voting process was simple. Users logged in to their Google accounts via a compatible device to explore Play Store content. They could vote until November 24th, and Google announced all the Google Play Awards 2020 winners on December 1st.

Google Play’s best games of 2020

According to Statista, gaming apps account for more than 80 percent of Google Play app revenue. Alongside the winner of the Best Game of 2020 award, chosen by the Play Store editors, Google announced the winners of the Users’ Choice Game of 2020 and winners in particular categories. Let’s explore the results of the Google Play Store Awards 2020.

Best Android games of 2020 

Since Android boasts more users globally than iOS, gaming apps for Android can be played by the largest international audiences. In 2020, Google Play created four separate categories and announced the five best games in each.

Indie games. These are games built by indie developers that are exceptional in terms of their design and overall gameplay. This year’s winners are:

  • Cookies Must Die
  • Maze Machina
  • Sky: Children of the Light
  • inbento
  • GRIS


Competitive games. These games pit players against each other. The winners in the competitive games category are:

  • Legends of Runeterra
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross
  • Bullet Echo
  • GWENT: The Witcher Card Game
  • Brawlhalla 


Casual games. These games are targeted at a wide audience as opposed to a niche audience of hobbyist gamers. This year’s casual game winners are:

  • Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
  • DreamWorks Trolls Pop: Bubble Shooter & Collection
  • SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off
  • Disney Frozen Adventure
  • EverMerge


Innovative games. Each game on this shortlist is innovative in its own fashion. Fancade, for example, is an ambitious project that provides a variety of easy and fun casual games along with a visual scripting platform that helps anyone design and post their own games. Here’s the full winners’ list of innovative games:

  • Fancade
  • Genshin Impact
  • Minimal Dungeon RPG
  • The Gardens Between
  • Ord.


Best game of 2020 chosen by Google Play

Google Play proclaimed Genshin Impact the Best Game of 2020. This open-world game features battles with elemental magic. It’s monetized by letting players pay for new characters, weapons, etc. 

The Play Store editors chose this action role-playing game as the year’s best game as it offers a magnificent and extensive world to explore while uncovering mysteries. 

genshin impact, an action role-playing game

Users’ Choice Game of 2020

In November 2020, Google introduced a list of nominated games that users could vote for. This list included:

  • EverMerge
  • Dream League Soccer 2021
  • Teamfight Tactics
  • SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off
  • Cell to Singularity
  • Genshin Impact
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
  • Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
  • Legends of Runeterra
  • Grand Hotel Mania


Which did users choose?

Google Play users chose SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off as the year’s best game. This app’s popularity is high since it invites you to dive into the depths of Bikini Bottom and run a few different restaurants. Users complete time management levels by cooking and giving dishes to customers. 

As a result, users earn gold to get new kitchen appliances and other upgrades. All restaurants have their own sets of levels, and after a user completes all the levels at one restaurant, the next restaurant opens.

spongebob: krusty cook-off, a time management game

Read also: Top Libraries, SDKs, and Frameworks for Android App Development

Best Android apps of 2020

In addition to the Best App of 2020 selected by Play Store editors, Google announced the Users’ Choice App of 2020 and winners in particular categories. Let’s begin with these categories. 

Best Android applications of 2020

As Google decided to close out 2020 by announcing the winners for Google Play in December, they decided to pay attention to apps that are reshaping the world. This year, Google Play showcased the best apps in five categories.

Everyday Essentials

This category includes calming, planner, cooking, and communication apps:

  • Calmaria
  • Grid Diary
  • The Pattern
  • Whisk
  • ZOOM Cloud Meetings

whisk, a recipe app

Apps for Personal Growth

This category includes self-improvement, video editing, and language learning apps:

  • Centr by Chris Hemsworth
  • Intellect
  • Jumprope
  • Paired
  • Speekoo

speekoo, a language learning app

Best Hidden Gems

This category includes social, travel, mental health, and design apps:

  • Cappuccino
  • Explorest
  • Loóna
  • Paperless Post Flyer Invitation Maker
  • Tayasui Sketches

tayasui sketches, a digital drawing tool

Best Apps for Fun

This category includes design, video streaming, video editing, audio recording, and entertainment apps:

  • Bazaart
  • Disney+
  • Dolby On
  • VITA

bazaart, a photo editor and graphic design app

Read also: Video Recording and Video Editing App Development for iOS and Android

Best Apps for Good

This category includes apps for healthy grocery shopping, meditation, and charities:

  • GreenChoice
  • Medito
  • ShareTheMeal

sharethemeal, a charity app

Read also: What to Expect from the App Store and Google Play Store When You Launch Your First App

Best app of 2020 chosen by Google Play

No wonder the top mobile apps chosen by both users and editors reflect the challenges of 2020. Loóna, a calming app, won the title of Best App of 2020 in the US.

Loóna improves people’s moods by helping them handle negative emotions felt during the day that can interfere with sleep. The app provides activity-based relaxation, sleep stories, and soft music for relaxation.

loona, a bedtime calming app

Users’ Choice App of 2020

Let’s see the list of Best App nominees: 

  • Grid Diary - Journal, Planner
  • The Pattern
  • Dolby On
  • Centr by Chris Hemsworth
  • Disney+
  • Speekoo 
  • Vimeo Create
  • Microsoft Office
  • VITA 

And the winner is…

Like Loóna, Disney+ is an app that was used a lot this year due to pandemic lockdowns. No wonder it won this year’s Users’ Choice award for Best App. The Disney+ video streaming app allows families to entertain their children at home. 

disney+, a video streaming app

That’s all about the Google Play best of 2020. Since 2016, the Google Play Best of Awards has been a promising opportunity for app developers to get noticed and a great way for users to explore the top mobile apps and games.

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