While December was a huge month for Android games, you can't say the same for more standard apps - despite a large number of new apps that came out, only a handful were all that interesting or innovative. (Heck, one of our apps below is specifically meant to record video games!) For what it's worth, here are the seven most interesting and/or innovative apps that came out this month, and some others thrown in for good measure.

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AZ Screen Recorder - No Root

Android Police coverage: AZ Screen Recorder Is A Non-Root Lollipop Screen Capture App With Plenty Of Options

We had a handful of apps in the last roundup that took advantage of Lollipop's root-free screen recording, but this one is a clear standout. Between simple activation and stopping, a useful floating tool window, and a ton of user-accessible recording options, it's an easy recommendation for both intermediate and advanced users. Unfortunately those running pre-Lollipop builds need not apply, even if they do have root.

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AZ Screen Recorder - No Root is the best app to record the screen of your Lollipop devices. It's 100% FREE, no time limit, no watermark, material design and easy to record with one action to start/stop recording. AZ Screen Recorder is the only screen recorder that allow you to pause and resume while recording. AZ Screen Recorder uses the latest API from Android Lollipop so it does NOT require root access, PC connection or any other tools.

HERE Beta: Offline maps & nav

Android Police coverage: Nokia Drives The HERE Navigation App Into The Play Store, Leaves It Parked In Beta

It's about time. Nokia's much-loved proprietary mapping program is now available on any Android device, no side-loading necessary. The interface and speed of HERE maps are part of its charm, but the biggest draw for users is downloadable maps. You can save maps for your state or country locally, or even entire continents if you've got the space. Unlike previous versions of HERE, this is not a Samsung exclusive.

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Here’s to finding your way no matter where you are. Here’s to embracing the world around you and daring to explore new places without fear of getting lost. Here’s to having the confidence to live your life, because you know exactly where you’re going. HERE allows you to search, navigate or get directions around the world — even without an Internet connection. Simply save our interactive maps to your phone or tablet and they’ll continue to work for you offline, wherever you are.

Action Launcher 3

Android Police coverage: [Hands-On] The Completely Redesigned Action Launcher 3 From Chris Lacy Makes Your Home Screen Material

The popular Action Launcher has a new edition for Material Design. The new theme engine allows for some amazing control of the various elements, and all the old familiar slide and gesture tools are still present. The updated edition requires a paid upgrade to the full version, even for owners of the previous app, which has proven a controversial topic among the Android community. Personally, I look at it like a paid OS upgrade.

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Action Launcher 3 is both a complete re-write and and a complete re-design. It takes everything you love about Action Launcher 2 and Google Now Launcher, and infuses it with Material Design. Standout features include:

• The Quickdrawer, for instant access to all your apps and widgets.
• Quicktheme. In true Material Design fashion, the colors from your wallpapers are extracted, and used to customize the look of your layout. The Quickdrawer, folder background, Google Search box and more can all be themed with your wallpaper.
• Covers, an innovative take on folders that lets you launch apps and shortcuts without compromising the look of your carefully crafted home screen.
• Shutters, a unique feature that unlocks the power and potential of Android widgets. Swipe an app icon, and that app's widget is automatically created and displayed.
• Full tablet support.

(root) LiveBoot

Android Police coverage: Chainfire's LiveBoot, Now On The Play Store, Lets Root Users Watch LogCat Output With A Custom Boot Animation

LiveBoot is technically an Android app, but the point is that it installs a custom boot animation that shows you a visual output of logcat. If you don't know what that is, don't worry, it's not for you. The free app requires a rooted phone or tablet (obviously) running on Android 4.3 or later. You'll need the latest version of SuperSU to get everything set up. A $2.49 in-app purchase unlocks transparent mode, which shows your device's default animation behind the readout.

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LiveBoot is a boot animation that shows you logcat and dmesg outputs on-screen as they happen. Output configuration includes logcat level, buffer and format selection; whether to show dmesg; the amount of lines that should fit on your screen, whether word-wrap should be employed, and if output should be color-coded. Additionally the background can be set to transparent to overlay the existing boot animation, which looks awesome during boot.

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Ghostery Privacy Browser

Android Police coverage: Ghostery Is A Privacy-Oriented Browser That Blocks Advertising Trackers And Has An Adorable Ghost Mascot

Ghostery is a privacy browser. But it's not one of those tin-foil hat sort of apps with a serious persecution complex. Nope, this browser is specifically meant to prevent tracking from ad networks, social sites, and other slightly sneaky behavioral trackers. Also, it appears to use a Pac-Man ghost as a mascot. Aside from blocking those tracking elements, Ghostery works just like other mobile browsers.

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While you browse, companies are tracking what you read, what you buy, what you click, and what you share. Ghostery detects scripts from Facebook, Google, and hundreds of other ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers - all companies interested in your activity. You can learn more about these data collection companies and block them from tracking your activity as you browse.

TVHZ

Chainfire's latest tool is designed to allow Android devices to output video at specific refresh frequencies. This might not seem all that useful, but if you've tried to use Android TV or an HDMI-out port with a monitor that defaults to 59 hertz, you'll know what a headache this can be. This isn't exactly a completed tool: Chainfire warns that audio errors and reboots are highly probable, even though it's a root-only app.

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This app allows you to switch the hertz of your display. This is a tool for advanced users, please read this entire description. Hopefully this app will be obsolete sooner rather than later. If you have a compatible TV or monitor, you may want to view specific content on a different hz. Apps can actually switch the hz used by your device. This feature is new to Android, and thus very few apps support it yet, which is the main reason an app like this one can come in handy.

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AutoMath Photo Calculator

Good Lord, I would have killed to have this app in third grade. Take a photo of a math problem and AutoMath will solve it for you. Not just the usual arithmetic, either: it can handle fractions, powers, trigonometry, and algebra. You'll need a steady hand (or a printed homework paper) for the best results, but when it works, it's fantastically impressive. At the moment the app is free with no in-app purchases.

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AutoMath allows you to solve math questions simply by taking a photo of your math equations. AutoMath is a great way to check your work, study or even to teach yourself math. Here are some of AutoMath's Photo Calculator Features:

  • Quick and Accurate Results
  • Step by step tutorials
  • No internet required
  • Can solve simple to advanced math questions
  • 250+ Mathematical Functions

Honorable Mentions

That's all for December. Remember, we track apps (and updated apps) for Android Wear separately, so check out the latest roundup if your wrist is feeling a little lonely. January will probably be a little light on the software side as well, so cross your fingers for some cool new stuff in 2015.