The best apps for iPads and Android tablet devices

Jan 6, 2012
Tech

So you just got a new iPad or Android tablet device for the holidays and are looking for suggestions of what apps to download first. You’re in luck! There are more than 100,000 apps developed for the iPad, in addition to hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps that run reasonably well on the larger screen. […]

So you just got a new iPad or Android tablet device for the holidays and are looking for suggestions of what apps to download first. You’re in luck! There are more than 100,000 apps developed for the iPad, in addition to hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps that run reasonably well on the larger screen. As well, there are several thousand Android apps that work and play well on dozens of the tablets that run on Google’s mobile platform.

Here is our comprehensive list of tablet apps to help you get started.

Dragon Dictation (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: Free)

Before we get into all the fun and games, we should note that tablets are increasingly used for work and getting things done. A simple, magical and free app for the iPad is Dragon Dictation, which expertly and accurately jots down whatever you speak into the device. Once you complete your note to yourself or work memo, you can store it within the app, email the document, and share it with others via Facebook and Twitter. The Siri Office Assistant for the iPhone 4S is showcasing how smart devices can operate with voice-recognition instruction. While Dragon Dictation doesn’t do everything Siri can do, it does run on iPads (which Siri does not) and should convince you not to pony up for an extra keyboard. While Dragon Dictation is not yet available for Android smartphones and tablets, developer Nuance Communications created the FlexT9 Speak-Trace-Write Tap app for the platform. They also recently acquired touchscreen input creator Swype, introducing dictation capabilities in the latest beta version of the Swype keyboard app. While FlexT9 is $4.99, it offers seamless transitions between voice and and text-based inputs. An added bonus is that both apps work for a variety of languages

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Netflix (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets: free with subscription)

For about eight bucks a month, cheaper than most premium cable subscriptions, you can stream movies and television programs from the comprehensive Netflix library to your iPad or Android tablet. The app’s interface is easy and elegant, and users can watch a movie or show streamed from Netflix on their television sets and pick up where they left off on their tablet or smartphone. Netflix, of course, is not the only entertainment video streaming service around. Hulu Plus also offers a robust library of movies and television shows for a $7.99 monthly subscription. If you’re looking to tap into some free entertainment, Crackle – Movies & TV offers a nice selection from the Sony Entertainment Library, including hundreds of movies and full-length episodes of Seinfeld and The Three Stooges. All three apps are available on the iPad and Android tablets.

Kindle (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets: free)

You don’t have to own a Kindle to download books and magazines (some of which are free) from Apple’s Kindle Store. iPads and Android Tablets — including the Kindle Fire — offer the extra advantage of backlit displays so you don’t have to keep a light on while reading in bed. Like Netflix, you can read from one device and pick up where you left off on another. The Barnes and Noble NOOK app for iPads and Android tablets is also a solid option depending on your allegiances.

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Real Racing 2 HD (iPad: $0.99)

This is the best out of all the racing games available for the iPad, and takes special advantage of the speed and graphical capabilities offered by the A5 chip found within the iPad 2. While Real Racing 2 also recently debuted on Android, it is not compatible with all Android tablets. If you have a need for speed on your Android tablet, check out Asphalt HD instead for 99 cents.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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