I definitely class myself as a Google Girl. Ever since I bought a HTC phone in November 2010 I have been a massive fan of the Android system and I have recently purchased an Android tablet (A1CS Fusion5).
The following Android app list is by no means definitive but this is definitely my Starter Kit for a new Android tablet. All can be downloaded from the Google Play store for free (you will need a Google account).
Before you start...
- AVG free is a great anti-virus solution which scans in realtime and will notify you of any viruses, malware, spyware, etc. as you use your tablet.
Load up your tablet with all the usual Google apps.
- Gmail for email .
- Google Drive, which is a cloud storage for all documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
- Google Maps (with Navigation and Street View).
- Google Sky Map - a 'must' for clear nights or when planets are due to fall into view.
- Chrome Browser although it is still in beta, you can sign in to your account and access your usual browser bookmarks.
Apps to be social with.
- Facebook for Android shows off the timeline streaming at its best. You can also access pages and groups although if you are admin on any groups you cannot fulfill your admin role.
- Tweetcaster is the best Twitter application I have tried from Android out of about four or five apps although Seesmic comes a close second
- Google Plus is becoming more user-friendly and whilst it sometimes feels like 'yet another social media platform to update' it does have a bit more of grown-up atmosphere when compared to Facebook.
- Instagram is now available on Android with full use of all the facilities. You can easily find your friends from Facebook and Twitter too to start following people immediately.
- Dropbox is a necessity for file sharing but also if you are using Instagram on your tablet you may find it easier to upload images to here from your computer or phone, then export them to Instagram later.
- BBC News is my first port of call for news updates and you can personalise the homescreen with your favourite news categories. Much easier to use than the full online site and simple to share stories to your social media channels.
- Mail Online is my guilty pleasure. The End.
- Kindle books can now be downloaded and read on a number of platforms, including your tablet (although I don't regret my actual Kindle for one minute). You can log into your Kindle account and continue reading your current book from where you left off then go back to your Kindle and read from the new bookmark.
- Google Reader is the easiest way to keep up with news feeds and blogs. This app makes it simple for me to scroll through and catch up with a great amount of reading material quickly.
- Sky+ has a full listing guide and can be linked to your Sky+ box so that you can record a single programme or arrange a full series link.
Buy, Watch, Listen.
- eBay on Android feels more usable than the web version when searching and bidding and it moves smoothly through the Paypal payment process. I haven't used it for listing so I'm unsure how easy that facility would be.
- Amazon is just as easy to use as the eBay app and you can still use the 1-Click facility, view your order history and add items to your wishlist.
- YouTube works brilliantly in landscape mode but looks squashed in portrait mode. Having this app makes viewing links from twitter or facebook much quicker instead of waiting for the browser to open up and the video load.
- BBC iPlayer is a fantastic way to watch live TV or listen to live radio and to catch up on the last seven days programmes from the BBC. You can also set up a favourites list and receive notifications when new episodes are available.
- IMDb is a handy little tool to look up information about a film or TV programme that you're watching but also to curb that "aarrgghhh where have I seen him before" moment.
- Shazam is now a completely free app (you used to only be able to use the free version five times a month). If you can hear a piece of music and you're not sure what it is, stick Shazam on and let it 'listen' to the music. After approximately 10 seconds it will identify it and tag it. You can opt to share the tag on your social media networks and buy the mp3 from Amazon.
- Jango is a radio app that allows you to input the name(s) of your favourite artist and the app will create a personalised radio station that plays similar music. You can also choose to listen to pre-programmed radio stations from every genre.
Blogging on the move.
- Blogger and Wordpress both have apps for Android. I attend many conferences where live blogging has been an option but I tend to make notes and blog when I have time to sit down and digest the information. These blogging apps are handy to start draft posts whilst on the move or if not near a computer but they have limited editing tools so they may not produce blog posts with the fine precision that you are used to.
Taking notes and checking information.
- Evernote allows you to "clip" snippets from all over the internet and can be synced across all your devices. You can create notes, to-do lists, capture photographs and keep organised.
- Colornote is a virtual notepad and has a To Do List facility too. You can set reminders on the notes and task lists, create shortcuts or pin them to the status bar until you edit them.
- Converter is a handy app that converts measurements and weights from "old money" into the new-fangled modern metrics. Great for us oldies.
- Currency Converter does exactly what it says on the tin.
- Words With Friends is a word-making game available on all platforms.
- Temple Run is a game I am now addicted to thanks to my 13 year old son. Makes use of the touch screen and tilt sensitivity of the tablet.
- Angry Birds is probably old-fashioned now but it is still as playable and as irritating as it always was.
- Open Sudoku is a simple timed sudoku game with 30 games at each level - easy, medium and hard.
- Wordz Up lets you trace your finger over a grid to find hidden words. Varying levels and sizes of grids.
And when you're finished...
- Use the Advanced Task Killer to kill apps and clear memory. You can create an 'ignore' list for apps that you want to keep running.
Did you expect me to recommend...
... apps such as Swype, Skype, Pinterest? I an not a great user of Swype and believe that the keyboard on the tablet is very user-friendly - plus I have a USB keyboard to use too. The camera on my tablet is set in the corner (the only downside) and I prefer to use Skype on my laptop. I would love there to be an Android app for Pinterest but will use my browser for the time being and add it to the list when one is developed. As I mentioned at the top of the page, this post is designed to be a starter kit for the Android Tablet. I am using mine as a quick access route to the internet and not as a replacement laptop.
I would love to hear your recommendations too!Did you know that you can visit Google Play from any device (desktop PC, laptop, phone, tablet) and choose to download an app to an individual device?
What apps would you recommend and what apps can you not manage without?