A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my first experiences with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I noted that while its hardware is excellent, there’s a distinct shortage of tablet apps for Android. Most apps will work just fine, but they’ll make poor use of a tablet’s screen real estate.
But things are definitely improving. New apps are coming out daily. I’ve tried quite a few of them, and I thought I’d do a quick rundown of the apps I’m actually using on a daily basis.
Feedly turns RSS feeds into a stunning digital magazine. You can use your own feeds (through Google Reader), or use the excellent default selection. It also interfaces with Read It Later and Bit.ly. I love the clean layout, and greatly prefer it over the Samsung-supplied Pulse reader. Highly recommended for keeping up to date with the news.
2. The Honeycomb browser
One thing I noticed while using my tablet is that there’s actually less need for apps. Many apps simply present website information in a more convenient small-screen format. With a large screen and Honeycomb’s excellent browser, there’s less of a need to do that. I’m a big fan of Wapedia on my phone, but I prefer to use the Wikipedia website on my tablet. I have a long list of bookmarks set up, and us the browser far more than on my handset.
It may not look quite as slick as some of the competing online multiplayer Scrabble apps, but Wordfeud is an excellent, lightweight word game. The bigger screen eliminates the need to zoom in, and makes playing even more fun on tablets. Highly recommended if you have too much free time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(The app is portrait-only, making it hard to post a screenshot here due to layout constrictions)
If you’re a movie fan like me, IMDB is an essential resource. An fortunately, their tablet app is great too. I’ll admit that I like earlier versions better than the current one, but it’s still by far the best movie info app. It offers access to numerous movie trailers, image galleries and pretty much the entire IMDB database. I would love to see forum access in future versions, but for now there’s a “view on IMDB” button that allows you to get there quickly.
Of all the video players I’ve tried, VPlayer has the best use interface. It has had no problems displaying any of the files I’ve thrown at it, and it ties in with tools like UPnPlay to play files for network sources.
Runner up: BSPlayer (which doesn’t quite look as good, but has a nifty LAN mode for connecting to Windows shares)
I’m not much of a gamer, but this clever puzzle game blew my mind. The goal is to use things like wooden sticks and rope to get a little ball from A to B. You get to build complex contraptions, and when you press “play”, the whole thing falls apart very realistically. I’ve rarely seen such realistic physics in any game, and like with Wordfeud, the larger screen makes playing much more fun.
To my knowledge, there are only two Twitter clients out there that were designed from the ground up to be used on tablets. Of those two, TweetComb sports best user interface. It’s not the best Twitter client I’ve ever used, but it gets the job done. Until TweetDeck, Seesmic or some othe major player comes out with a Honeycomb app, TweetComb is king of the (relatively small) hill.
Runner up: Friend Me (if Facebook is your thing)
I haven’t tried the publishing end of UStream’s app, but it’s excellent for browsing other people’s streams. There’s something magical about watching a live feed from the Space Shuttle on your tablet, and that experience alone warrants a place on this list.
Despite being of little use to non-Dutch users, I wanted to mention the new Buienradar (“rain radar”) app. Its user interface design is all over the place, but despite the near-psychedelic colors, it does offer all the weather/rain info you need.
There’s no specific tablet version of Dropbox’s Android app, but it scales really well. But more importantly, it offers a quick and easy way to get files from and to my USB-less tablet. All the screenshots in this post were transferred from my tablet to my PC using Dropbox. I didn’t include a screenshot because the user interface is basically a file browser, but it works very well. Recommended.