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11 essential Android tablet apps: The ultimate starter kit

JR Raphael | Oct. 11, 2011
Apps are the heart and soul of the Android tablet experience--but for new tablet owners, it isn't always easy to figure out where to begin. While Google's Android Market offers a small section of "featured" tablet apps, it doesn't provide a comprehensive list of programs that are optimized for the larger screen.

Movies (by Flixster)

Who doesn't love movies? The aptly named Movies app, offered free from Flixster, gives you everything you could possibly want to get your Hollywood groove on.

When you open the app, you see a list of all the current movies showing that day. Tapping on any film brings up a panel with a detailed description, local showtimes, images, trailers, cast info, and reviews from critics and users alike. You can browse through upcoming theater releases and DVD releases, too, and search for any movie--past, present, or future.

I like the app for its ease of use and the sea of information that it puts at your fingertips. The Movies app even features Netflix integration, allowing you to manage your streaming queue and to add any title with a single tap.

News360 for Tablets

When it comes to news and tablets, no one does it better than News360. The News360 for Tablets app acts as your own personal news aggregator: While other apps allow you to browse specific sources or access RSS subscriptions, News360 tracks all the current hot news topics and gives you lists of sources to choose from, kind of like Google News. If you want, it can even study your social media and Google Reader habits and use that data to automatically find content that caters to your interests.

I found News360's interface to be clean, crisp, and carefully crafted to take full advantage of Android's tablet-centric features. Best of all, the app is free.

Accuweather for Honeycomb

Get the weather in style with Accuweather's free Accuweather for Honeycomb Android app. The app gives you a gorgeous graphical display of current conditions in your area, using your tablet's GPS to figure out where you are. You can put that info right on your tablet's home screen, too, thanks to the app's attractive multicity widget.

Within the program itself, you can see the forecast hour by hour or switch to a 15-day view to plan ahead. You can even get detailed info about how the weather looks for a specific factor like grass growing, bicycling, or asthma risk. The Accuweather app has interactive radar and satellite maps; it also offers a selection of national and regional forecast videos as well as the latest weather headlines from around the world.

Next: Apps for making lists, docs and spreadsheets, remote accessing, tweeting, and Facebooking.

Springpad

Need an awesome way to take notes, make lists, and save all sorts of info? Springpad is just the thing for you. The free app lives in the same neighborhood as note-taking services like Evernote and Catch, but its outstanding Android tablet interface puts it miles ahead in my book.

 

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