Material Design is the heart and soul of Google's Android platform (and increasingly the rest of Google's universe, too, from Chrome OS to the Web at large). Even if you don't actively think about it, the design standards introduced with Android 5.0 are probably becoming a core part of your smartphone or tablet experience.
Here's the kicker, though: Once you start getting a taste of Material Design and the consistent style it brings to your mobile devices, apps with older design styles start to look out of place, out of date, and out of touch. But not to fear: Beyond the basics that come on every Android phone -- Gmail, Google Drive, and the likes -- there's plenty of tasty Material Design goodness out there, just waiting to be devoured.
So put on your favorite bib, grab a metaphorical fork, and get ready: Here are 30 top-notch Android apps that do Material Design right.
Material Design apps, part 1: News and information
1. Pocket Casts ($3.99)
Pocket Casts brings a bright and enjoyable interface to the Android podcasting experience. It's jam-packed with features -- including cross-device syncing of your feeds and preferences -- yet still easy on the eyes and easy to use.
2. Relay for Reddit (free with optional $2.99 ad-free upgrade)
If you're a fan of Reddit -- and who doesn't like to dip in and browse from time to time? -- this is the app for you. Relay for Reddit puts the popular social site into a lovely Material Design-themed format that makes it fun to read from any mobile device.
3. FeedlyReader (free)
My go-to app for keeping up with all the news sites I follow, FeedlyReader is a minimalist but powerful RSS reader that shows you the latest stories from your Feedly account in a clean card-based layout. I especially like its configurable swipe shortcuts, which I use to quickly open articles in Link Bubble or to mark them as read without ever leaving the main story list.
4. PaperBoy (free)
For a more magazine-like RSS reading experience, Paperboy is well worth giving a whirl. The Feedly-synced app has a great interface for following your favorite feeds, with large images and smooth animations surrounded by colorful Material Design elements. It can even read stories aloud to you, if you want to catch up on your articles on the road.
5. Flyne, the Offline Reader (free with $0.99 upgrade for full functionality)
Flyne puts its own touch on Material Design with a card-centric UI that keeps images large and center and an in-app browser that makes content consistently beautiful. The app offers the ability to view articles from Feedly or Twitter, both online and off, though you'll have to pay a 99-cent in-app upgrade in order to add your own sources.
6. Palabre (free with optional $2.47 ad-free upgrade)
Palabre has a polished magazine-style interface for viewing your must-read RSS feeds from Feedly. With slick animations and easily accessible options for sharing content -- both via the native Android sharing system and directly to Pocket, if you use that service for saving stories -- it's fully featured and quite nice to use.
7. Yarn for Hacker News (free with optional $2.99 ad-free upgrade)
Hacker News is a much-loved site for geek-friendly news -- and if you like to check in on it from your Android phone or tablet, Yarn is exactly what you need. It puts all the latest HN stories into a simple Material Design motif, making browsing through headlines and reading articles feel like a native part of the Android experience.
8. Buzzfeed (free)
Buzzfeed isn't just about LOL-worthy GIFs these days. The site has beefed up its offices with actual writers who produce interesting content about tech and a variety of other topics. And, yeah, the silly kittens are still there, too. The publication's app provides an admirable design that adheres to Google's current standards and demonstrates how a site-specific app should be done.
9. MyStocks (free with optional $2.99 ad-free upgrade)
Tracking stocks has never been prettier than with MyStocks, an app that brings a touch of Material Design to the Wall Street world. Design aside, MyStocks has some handy features like custom alerts and a variety of historical charts.
10. Asparagus - My Cookbook (free with optional $1.99 ad-free upgrade)
Your food and drink recipes will look especially delectable in Asparagus, a personal recipe collecting app that adds a dash of Googley design into the virtual kitchen. The app makes it simple to save recipes from websites: You just share them from your device's browser directly into Asparagus, and it takes care of the rest.
Material Design apps, part 2: Communication
11. Messenger (free)
Different phones come with different default messaging apps, but Google's new Messenger is a tough one to beat when it comes to a clean and intuitive interface for traditional texting. If you're not using Hangouts for all of your messaging needs, this attractive alternative is worth grabbing.
12. Talon for Twitter Plus ($3.99)
Let's face it: Twitter's official Android app kinda sucks. But Talon does not. The app transforms Twitter into a beautiful Material Design client with lots of useful features and fun visual flourishes. Factor in loads of options for customization, and you've got a great all-around package for all of your tweet-related needs.
13. Falcon Pro 3 ($4 to use with one account, $2 more for each additional account)
Falcon is less fully featured than Talon -- it doesn't have any widgets, for instance, or support for the popular Tweet Marker syncing service -- but boy, is it a joy to use. The app has a gorgeous dark theme and is loaded with smooth animations that make reading and sending tweets a treat. Just be sure basic Twitter tasks are all you need to do, or it might leave you wanting more.
14. Pushbullet (free)
Pushbullet makes it quick 'n' painless to send images, files, and links between devices (among other things) -- and its app makes the process of managing your pushes pleasant as can be. If you haven't yet tried it, now's the perfect time.
Material Design apps, part 3: Multimedia
15. LocalCast for Chromecast/DLNA (free with optional $3.49 ad-free upgrade)
Lots of apps have their own mechanisms for sending content to a Chromecast -- but if you want to get locally stored images or videos from your phone to a big screen, there's no simple way to do it. LocalCast changes that, and it does so in Material Design style. The app will also work with Apple TV, Sonos, Xbox 360 and One, and other DLNA-enabled devices.
16. Snapseed (free)
There's no better tool for editing images on your mobile device than the (now-Google-owned and completely free) Snapseed app. Snapseed is brimming with powerful photo manipulation features -- everything from tuning basics to advanced stuff like lens blur and spot repair -- and with its newly implemented Material Design UI, it feels more like a part of Android than ever.