You don’t need an original app idea to be successful on Google Play. If you spend a few minutes looking at all the app categories there, you’ll notice how similar most of the popular apps in any category are. This is especially true in the case of free apps and games.
What I’m trying to say is that you don’t always have to spend days brainstorming trying to come up with that perfectly unique app idea. You can make a profit even if you simply create a clone of a popular app, add a few ads to it, and publish it on Google Play.
For instance, consider Flappy Bird, an extremely popular game released in 2013. It has innumerable clones today, many of which have millions of downloads. Take a look at Flappy Nyan or Flapping Online if you don’t believe me.
In this article, I’ll help you find the best free Android apps and games available on Google Play and introduce you to several hand-crafted templates you can use to quickly create clones of those apps yourself.
CodeCanyon Is a Marketplace for App Templates and Builders
CodeCanyon is an online marketplace that has hundreds of additional professional Android app templates and builder tools. Some of these are incredibly feature-rich and well-designed. You can sometimes save days, even months, of effort by using one of them.
1. WhatsApp Messenger
Messaging apps tend to be very popular on Google Play. With over 5 billion downloads, WhatsApp Messenger is the poster child for such apps. It supports secure instant messaging, voice and video calls, and allows you to instantly share pictures, videos, and other media with your friends.
To create a WhatsApp Messenger clone, you can use any of the following premium templates:
DreamsChat is a template for creating real-time chat applications that also support both video and voice calls.
This template has several additional features to match WhatsApp Messenger, such as stickers, group chats, phone number verification, and file sharing.
Plax is another beautiful template for creating messenger apps for Android. It’s fully integrated with Google Firebase, so you don’t need to have your own server as a back-end for your apps.
Using this template, you can create apps that can do almost everything WhatsApp Messenger can, and more. For instance, it offers text and image stories, in-app notifications, and a dark mode too.
It comes fully integrated with AdMob ads, so you’ll have no trouble monetizing your app.
Instagram is a photo-sharing app with over a billion downloads on Google Play. It allows you to upload photos and videos, apply filters to them, and add tags to them so others can find them. Because it’s also a social network, it allows you to have followers, write comments, and share stories.
CodeCanyon has some awesome templates you can use to create an Instagram clone in just a few hours. Here are two of them:
My Social Network is a very popular template for creating not only your own social network, but also an Android app for it, which closely resembles Instagram in both looks and functionality.
You’ll need PHP and MySQL installed on your server to run the social network, and Android Studio to build the app.
The apps you build with this template will have support for push notifications, AdMob ads, in-app purchases, and even instant messaging.
Pikky is another template that lets you quickly create a fully functional Instagram-like app. It uses a Parse server hosted on back4app as its back end, so you don’t have to spend any time setting up your own web server or database.
As you may expect, this template comes with a custom camera implementation that lets you capture square photos and videos, which can be enhanced by applying one of the many filters available.
Pikky supports AdMob interstitial ads.
Google’s YouTube app, with over 5 billion downloads, is among the top five most downloaded apps on Google Play. It allows you to view, upload, and edit videos. You can also leave comments on videos and subscribe to channels to be notified when they have new videos.
Maintaining a video hosting platform is hard because you’ll need massive amounts of bandwidth to serve a growing user base. But if you’re up for a challenge, you can create your own YouTube clone using the following template:
This template allows your users to upload their own videos, and even import videos from sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, and Vimeo. There’s also support for playlists, user channels, and search.
PlayTube Android has AdMob’s banner, interstitial, and rewarded ads built into it.
4. Knife Hit
Knife Hit is a free game with over 50 million downloads on Google Play. It has a very simple, yet addictive gameplay: throw knives at rotating logs to split them, while avoiding the spikes on the logs. You get extra points by hitting the apples on the logs.
This game has a few successful clones already, but there’s always room for more. If you want to create one, you can use the following premium template:
Knife is a template that lets you create clones of knife throwing games in a matter of minutes. It comes with several ready-to-use knife skins and game modes. But you can also easily add your own custom game levels.
The template has well-placed AdMob banner and interstitial ads.
The Twitter app for Android is a social networking app that has well over 500 million users. It allows you to have a native Android experience while using the Twitter platform. With it, you can effortlessly use your phone to add thoughts, photos, videos, and links to your timeline.
If you’re interested in creating a Twitter app clone, here’s a template you need to take a look at:
This Material Design-compliant template is highly customizable and has everything you’d need to build a successful social networking app. For instance, it supports user profiles, posts, comments, mentions, hashtags, and photo albums.
You can easily use AdMob to monetize the apps you build with this template.
Tubi is a free streaming app you can use to watch movies and TV series. It has over 50 million downloads and a growing collection of free shows and movies. It is very similar to Netflix, but you don’t need a subscription to be able to watch the content available here.
You can easily create an app similar to Tubi by using the following template:
Flix App is a template for creating apps that can stream videos. It allows you to have separate pages for movies, TV series, and live TV channels. It also supports lists for seasons, episodes, and related videos.
The apps you build with this template can play videos in a variety of video formats, such as MP4, M3U, and MOV. They’ll also be able to display subtitles so long as you have the required VTT or SRT files.
Flix App has two monetization options built into it: AdMob ads and Facebook Network Audience ads.
7. Google Play Music
Google Play Music is a great choice if you’re looking for a radio app. It offers several interesting radio stations, based on genres, artists, and mood. It has over 5 billion downloads, and dozens of clones, on Google Play.
You can use the following CodeCanyon template to create a clone of Google Play Music:
Android Music Player is a template for creating music player apps. You can use it to create apps that can play not only songs from your server, but also songs that are on users’ devices.
This template comes with back-end server code so you can have an admin console for your app. Using the console, you can easily manage your music files. For instance, you can categorize them based on genres and artists, or group them into playlists and albums.
Furthermore, the app template has Firebase Analytics, OneSignal push notifications, and AdMob ads built into it.
According to Statista, over 95% of the apps available on Google Play can be downloaded for free. Paid apps are only a tiny minority there. This is because a free app with ads and in-app purchases, if it can get enough downloads, can rake in significantly higher profits than its paid counterparts.
In this article, you saw how easy it is to create clones of popular, free apps using templates available on CodeCanyon. Go ahead, pick a template, style it to match your preferences, enable AdMob ads, and publish your next app on Google Play.
If you want to learn how to download and customize a CodeCanyon template, check out my other post.
Premium Android App Templates From CodeCanyon
The default templates offered by Android Studio are very basic and provide minimal, generic functionality. CodeCanyon is an online marketplace that has hundreds of additional templates, which are way more feature rich and domain-specific too.
If you have trouble deciding which template on CodeCanyon is right for you, these articles should help: