So you just fired up your brand new tablet, and while it comes with a few apps--a number of them likely provided by Google--you want to know what others you should grab. This collection of must-have apps, all optimized for tablets, will make that first few days with your shiny new toy that much more enjoyable, and help make that "getting to know you" phase just a bit easier. Most of them are free, some of them cost money a few bucks, but they all come highly recommended.
Gauging the weather is a bit more involved than simply looking out the window to determine what you should wear that day, which is why you'll need a good weather app on your new tablet. Accuweather has been an Android tablet favorite for years and for good reason: it offers interactive maps, push notifications for severe weather alerts, and a thorough listing of weather reports from around the world. Accuweather also details the weather for a variety of situations, so if you're planning to go fishing, for instance, the app will let you know what the conditions will be. The paid version (now on sale) removes ads.
Price: Free, or $0.99
Tablets aren't just for reading e-books and digital periodicals--they're for comics, too, and if you're a comic buff you'll likely want to get this app onto your tablet, stat. Comics, previously known as ComiXology, offers over 40,000 different comics from publishers like Marvel, DC, Vertigo, Darkhorse, and everything in between. You can utilize the Guided View to scan, zoom, and flip through pages, or indulge in some of the weekly freebies to get stuck on something new.
Amazon's Kindle isn't the only e-reader app available out there--Alkido Book Reader is just as featured-filled. It supports EPUB, PDF, Adobe DRM-encrypted formats, and even the e-books you check out from a participating local library. You can organize e-books by tags or create collections, and then pin a widget to the tablet's Home screen to pick up reading right where you left off. There's even an option for night-time reading.
The paid version enables the ability to highlight and add notes to EPUB files, and removes advertisements. You'll also need to fork over the cash if you want that nifty aforementioned Home screen widget.
Are you a recipe hoarder? A meticulous organizer? A student? A business professional with too many documents to parse through? Or perhaps you're a writer looking for an easier way to archive story ideas?
Evernote can help bring uniformity to any kind of situation. It's an all-encompassing note-taker, similar to what OneNote (also available for Android) would be if a tablet version existed for Android. It works simply by "clipping" things of interest off the Internet and filing them away in an Evernote Notebook. You can then categorize those clippings by type, tag, or subject. It's cross-platform, so you can use the web version of the app or pin the bookmarklet to your browser toolbar to clip items of interest. Evernote also offers public URLs so you can share notes. And if it turns out that you really like the service, you can invest in a premium account further down the line for additional features.
DayFrame All-in-one Slideshow
Projectors may be out of style--for the most part--but it's still fun to put on a slideshow from time to time. What better way to do so non-intrusively than with a tablet app?
Try on Dayframe for size. It taps into a number of photo sharing services--like Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Dropbox, Flickr, Twitter, and 500px--and then displays those photos in a seemingly endless loop of transitions. The app is primarily designed to work like a screensaver, though it will tap into the more social aspect of your various photo-sharing networks and show status messages and the like--kind of like Facebook Home. You can upgrade to the premium version to get even more features, including custom playlists and an all-inclusive photo slideshow that grabs photos from all of your photo sharing accounts.
We already went through a phrase of depression and denial after Google shut down Reader earlier this year, but thankfully other services cropped up in its place. Feedly is one of our favorites and it works just like Reader did: you browse content, subscribe to feeds, and then get to reading. The Feedly UI is easy to navigate and there are several different viewing modes. You can also create categories to organize your feeds, and share content via email or your social networks. As an added bonus, Feedly integrates with Pocket, Instapaper, and Evernote.
Astro File Manager
This app is an absolute must for any Android device, simply because navigating files on Android can be such a chore. You can organize, view, and find almost any file contained on your Android device, or use the service to move files between your Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and SkyDrive accounts. The app also works with an SD card and you can use it to open email attachments, too.
What good is a tablet if you're not watching video on it? Though it'll require a monthly subscription feed--about $8 for unlimited streaming--Netflix is arguably one of the better streaming services available. It offers a wealth of movies and seasons of some of television's best shows, and it's got its own original content, too--perhaps you've heard of the Emmy winning House of Cards?
Typing on a tablet is tricker than on a smaller-sized smartphone. But with apps like SwiftKey, you can choose from a variety of different keyboard layouts to better suit your on-screen situation. If you only have your thumbs available as tappers, for instance, SwiftKey offers a thumb layout for accessible typing. There's even a pop-out keyboard that can be maneuvered and placed anywhere on screen if the app you're using is being fussy. SwiftKey also features an accurate learn-as-you-type prediction engine, so you can quite literally type just by swiping.