With the Nexus 7 now available, Android tablets are no longer poor iPad copycats. They’re real and affordable devices that also happen to be really good. But to make it even better, you’ll need to get some apps. Here’s our first edition of the best Android tablet apps.
Plume: Sadly, the official Twitter app isn’t exactly tablet-friendly. Luckily, Plume, a highly customisable Twitter app, works well enough on Android tablets so you won’t miss Twitter on your Android tablet.
Friendcaster: Friendcaster for Facebook is a much better tablet app than the official Facebook app, as it gives you real time Facebook notifications and includes all your most-used Facebook features like status updates, photos, messages, events, groups, checkins and more.
IM+: optimised for tablets, IM+ is an IM app that lets you chat with your friends on AIM, Google Talk, Skype, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook chat and others. Free.
MXPlayer: MXPlayer is quite possibly the best video player for Android tablets. It packs in lots of features and can play a bunch of different video file formats (avi, mkv, divx and more).
IMDb: Who’s that guy? Where’s he from? Should I even watch this movie? Solve all your movie questions with Android’s official IMDB app. It’s basically IMDB’s website optimised for your phone, which is a good thing in this case. Free.
Kindle: Just because you don’t own a Kindle doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be buying Kindle ebooks — especially when Amazon has an Android app that’s dead simple to use. The ebook wars aren’t quite over, but no one will judge you for siding with Amazon. Free.
Sketchbook Pro: For Android tablets, it’s a canvas for you to draw and paint on, with virtual tools and brush styles that can be really used to create art. You can save up to six layers per file and export files to photoshop for further working. Great for professionals who want to use their tablets for ideas and amateurs like me who can only hope to draw a straight line. $5.
Crackle: Sony has released Crackle, an app that streams full-feature movies and popular TV shows to Android for free. For free. For free! We’re talking popular TV shows like Seinfeld or big times movies like The Da Vinci Code and all completely free! The app is the same ad-supported streaming service as the Crackle.com website (and iOS apps) and has a decent catalogue from Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics and other studios.
Camera Launcher: Camera Launcher lets you access the camera in the Nexus 7 and flip it into a dedicated camera app so you can take self portraits and/or tickle yourself silly with funny faces. It records video too.
Stitcher Radio: Stitcher Radio plays over 10,000 radio stations, shows and podcasts from the best of NPR, CNN, Fox, BBC, Freakonomics, Adam Carolla and more.
Nesoid: I can’t think of anything better than playing old NES games on your brand new tablet with the NesEmu emulator. Who needs fancy graphics! Give me my childhood favourites. $4.
Samurai II: Vengeance: Absolutely stunning anime/comicbook-style graphics plus controls that actually make sense plus heaps of ways to slice dudes in half plus samurais plus swords equals a ridiculously engaging Android game.
Tiny Tower: IA free 8-bit style game that lets you channel your inner landlord. You build floors on a tower to attract “bitizens” to live in it and then control their lives (manage, hire, give a job, evict). It’s like SimCity but actually fun.
Pulse News: A news aggregator that beautifies the way you stay up to date. You’ll see the latest updates from different news sources and enjoy swiping away on the big ol’ tablet screen of yours.
Feedly: Feedly is sort of like the much ballyhooed Flipboard in that it integrates with Google Reader, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pocket and Instapaper to cull together articles from new sources that you’re interested in. Social news, I guess. Free.
Evernote: If you need more features in a “note taker”, Evernote is simply a powerhouse of a note taking app. Not only can you jot down notes but you can take pictures, record voice notes and upload files to remember all on their cloud. Free.
Pocket: Formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket is a similar service to Instapaper, which means it’s an offline news caching reader. Save articles you want to read later on your browsers and read them offline on your tablet. Like a DVR for online articles. Looks great while reading too. Free.
Astrid Task/To Do List: No other app gives as much detail to to do lists as Astrid. Its “advanced” options lets you set priority levels, integrate with Google Calendar, sync with Google tasks, and set up tags, alerts and periodic reminders. Astrid keeps it easy, for the most part, but also offers deeper settings if you’re the obsessive, customizs-everything exactly-how-you-want-it type. Free.
File Manager HD: If you like to dig a little deep into whats going on in the innards of your Android tablet, File Manager reveals the file structure of the OS so you can find files, transfer stuff around and all that good stuff.
Chrome: How are you going to say no to having the best desktop browser on your tablet? It’s fast, light and if you use Chrome on the desktop, syncs your open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and more.