Despite the hundreds of thousands of applications on the Play Store, it seems that there is a great shortage of apps tailored towards Android tablets. Google doesn’t provide a specific category to make it easy to find them, the “Staff Picks For Tablets” section contains apps that aren’t even optimized for tablets, and you’d have to surf the whole internet to find decent recommendations.
Given my love of Android tablets, I’ve been quite disappointed in the current state of things so I made it my personal goal over the past couple of months to search, monitor and find the best selection of apps. I have categorized over 200 great apps on a Springpad notebook, but I will be a bit more elitist here and pick the “crème de la crème” with over 50 applications in a variety of categories that offer a wonderful tablet interface.
Looking for more tablet-optimized Android apps? Check this list of our most interesting tablet app roundups.
In my opinion, mVideoPlayer is one of the applications that show the versatility of Android tablets the most. It scans your storage for video files and organizes them by movies, TV series and personal videos. It will then get posters for each along with a small synopsis and ratings. If you choose to, you can search for subtitles, which it will download and apply automatically. Then as the name suggests, it can play all your videos, with size ratio control, brightness and volume gestures on the side of the screen, and a lot more options.
Popcorn Player is a video player that floats above the rest of your windows, allowing you to truly multitask on Android. It’s also fully featured with multiple windows support, gestures for resizing, easy minimizing, and YouTube integration.
If you use Plex to manage your multimedia collection on your computer or media center, then this is a must-have app. Plex for Android lets you access and control your Plex Media Server with a familiar UI and stream your pictures, videos and music to your tablet over 3G or WiFi.
TED’s official application brings the magic of the TED talks to your tablet. Over 1200 talks are available, in a wide topic selection like education, technology, medicine, business, music, and more. Whether you’d like to broaden your understanding of a specific topic, or whether you have half an hour to kill and would like to use it to learn something new, TED is certainly a must-have.
IMDb is the bible of the avid cinephile, giving you access to actor, director, movie and TV search, with detailed information, reviews, trailers, photos, quotes and trivia. It even lets you sign in to manage your watchlists, rate or post your own reviews.
For those of you who are as serious about their TV series as me, SeriesGuide will be a welcome savior. Add your shows and it will pull season and episode synopsis for offline use. It also lets you track collected and watched episodes, sync that with trakt.tv, check in on GetGlue, all in a fantastic tablet-friendly UI.
I searched a lot for an Android music player that takes advantage of the tablet form factor then came across n7player. Its unique UI presents the library as a multitouch-ready album art grid, with play list management, automatic album art download, lyrics viewing, multiple format support, equalizer, and last.fm scrobbling.
If you prefer not to store your music locally or favor music discovery services, Songza has you covered. It features curated playlists by genres and decades, finds the best music for you activity or mood, and lets you stream, save and share them.
Unlike Adobe Photoshop Express, which is nothing but a glorified photo editor, Photoshop Touch supports many of the features of the desktop application that imaging aficionados love. There are layers, filters, precise selection tools, sync with Adobe Creative Cloud and tutorials to explain how everything works.
If you don’t want to bother with Photoshop’s advanced editing, then BeFunky is the solution. It offers 25 photo effects like Lomo and Cross Process, several frames, and many photo editing adjustment tools like crop, rotation, brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, and so on. It also lets you save the edited photo to your gallery or share it online.
Instagrid is an Instagram browser —and uploader in beta— optimized for tablets. It lets you customize your view of the Instagram timeline, like and comment on photos, follow other people, search by tags or name, and access photos shared around you.
Markers is a drawing application for tablets with an innovative feature: it will monitor the pressure sensitivity of the pen or finger being used and draw a thinner or thicker line accordingly. This works as well on the Galaxy Note, the HTC Flyer as on any other Android touchscreen. There are many colors to choose from, multitouch support, and sharing options.
Whether you travel frequently or sporadically, Kayak is one of the first apps you should use. It compares flights, hotels and car rentals, and gives you the best deals with in-app hotel booking. Kayak also tracks flight status, shows airport and terminal details, and lets you manage your whole itinerary.
TripAdvisor picks up where Kayak stops, with reviews of everything you might encounter in your destination city. Be it hotels, restaurants, or any various activities, TripAdvisor has it covered with photos and opinions from travelers like you.
SuperSport is a second-screen experience app for sport enthusiasts. Currently supporting rugby, football and cricket, it compliments the TV viewing by providing real time updates, commentary and game chat as well as video highlights, stats and results after the match is over.
OvuView is one of the most ultimate apps for women on Android. With 2 separate modes, OvuView can either track the menstrual cycle or help find the most fertile dates for a baby conception. It tracks symptoms such as weight, headache, appetite and features 14 fertility awareness methods. Everything is organized in charts, stats and there are even several themes to choose from.
iTriage is an excellent health and medical app. It allows you to search by symptom, condition, procedure or medication, and gives you concise and clear information. In the USA, iTriage also points you to the closest and most appropriate hospitals, doctors and pharmacies.
Pinterest only recently made it to Android but it deserves its spot here. You can follow pin boards related to fashion, food, photography, design, entertainment, infographics, you can also create your own boards and pins as well as post likes and comments. Basically it’s the same as the website but it looks and works so much better.
There’s no shortage of cooking apps on Android but iFood Assistant takes the crown by looking as delicious as the food it presents. Over 7000 recipes are filed with images, videos and search. There’s even an integration of a shopping list and a personal recipe box.
For the aspiring bartender or the party host excited to entertain, Cocktail Flow is the perfect and most gorgeous solution. Drink recipes are organized by type, color, base alcohol or occasion. The cabinet feature suggests drinks you can make based on the ingredients you have and what you need to buy to optimize your recipe collection. There’s also a bartender guide, favorites management, drink reviews and similar drink suggestions.
For an efficient grocery shopping experience, Grocery IQ lets you organize your lists by stores and aisles, add quantities and descriptions, calculate prices, manage your favorites and history, and save your coupons, all while syncing with the Grocery IQ online account and with other users like your spouse or roommate.
Tablets are powerful devices and can be used for finishing a lot of work on the go. Smart Office fits into that scenario with support for viewing and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, viewing and saving PDF or images, wireless printing, Dropbox and Google Drive sharing and a lot more.
Astrid Task is one of the most versatile task managers on Android, with syncing to Google Tasks, Producteev, or its own servers. It features reminders, subtasks, lists, widgets, and lets you organize projects and tasks with friends and family.
If you find that Google’s own calendar isn’t extensive enough for your scheduling and task needs, then Pocket Informant is in for the rescue. There’s a configurable and gorgeous tablet UI with calendar and task management, several views, filters, templates, as well as multiple account support and more.
Mindjet is an amazing brainstorming and idea capturing application. It lets you map your thoughts with different styles, add relationships, tag everything, all with gesture support and full Dropbox sync.
Kaiten Email fills the void left by the lack of an all-in-one email inbox on Android. It supports Exchange, IMAP and POP accounts with all the features you come to except from a complete email client.
Handy Scanner lets you convert images of your documents into PDFs ready to be shared and saved. It will automatically detect the document boundaries within the image, improve the colors and contrast, export to Dropbox amongst others, and even activate OCR once you share it to Google Drive.
Evernote is one of the most notorious note keeping apps on all platforms and it brings that to Android tablets, with text, image and audio note creation, organization, search. It can be used to bookmark your favorite web pages, save your preferred recipes, make plans and jot down ideas, and keep it all in sync with your Evernote account.
Google Drive stemmed from Google Docs and kept the good document editing features, however it also added the possibility to keep any file type stored and synchronized across your devices, and to save any of them for offline use.
Springpad is in my opinion the ultimate collection manager service thanks to its smart notes that add a lot of relevant information to the stuff you save. There’s Rotten Tomatoes support for movies, full recipe organization with ingredients and methods, restaurant reviews and map locations, price monitoring for products, release news for movies and albums… Springpad also supports tags, filters, comments, sharing and collaboration.
Amazon’s Kindle app provides a gateway into your ebook collection, along with the option to browse and buy new ebooks. It supports several viewing options to optimize your reading, like backgrounds, fonts and sizes, brightness and orientations. My favorite feature is the ability to link it to a dictionary so I can tap any word while reading for a full explanation.
Mantano could be called the mVideoPlayer of ebooks. It searches your tablet’s storage for Epub and PDF ebooks, then downloads covers and information for them. It allows you to organize your collection with tags and groups, then search and filter through them. It also features a powerful reader for PDFs, a night mode and many options to customize your reading experience.
Komik Reader is a dedicated comic and manga reader for Android tablets. It supports CBR and CBZ formats, organizes comics by covers, and features a lot of reading options like zooming, thumbnails, searching and filtering.
Unlike its name, JustReader is not just another Google Reader client. It features full synchronization with Google Reader, offline caching, easy gestures to mark posts as read or starred, a clean and minimal UI with several themes, and a lot of customizable options that make it my preferred client on both phones and tablets.
If you live a bit on the fast lane but enjoy sitting down every once in a while to read long articles, Pocket is a must-have. You can save any link you find interesting but don’t have time to read right away, and it will magically download the article, providing you with a clean way to read it offline, along with tags, stars and an archive option.
There are many curated news readers for Android but News Republic remains one of the best. You can add specific topics, use the TagNav system to jump between articles, browse the top stories by images and read everything with full multimedia support.
If Facebook made an official application for Android tablets, this is how they should do it. Friendcaster brings all the Facebook features like the timeline, status update, photo uploading and browsing, search, comments and likes, check-in, and presents them all in a dual-pane tablet optimized and Holo-themed UI.
There is a huge shortage of Twitter applications for Android tablets and Tweetcaster, despite its old UI, remains one of the best options. The good thing is that it’s a fully featured Twitter client with several innovative options like zipping to mute certain users or trends, scheduling, TweetMarking, theming, and more.
If you’re a Redditor, you’ve probably found 3 or 4 applications for Android tablets, however none of them beats Reddit News. It comes with a clean Holo-like UI, gesture support, and the ability to view and participate in all of the Reddit activities, like voting, commenting, posting, messaging and so on.
Tablet Talk allows you to send text messages or SMS via your tablet. It works by connecting your tablet and phone via bluetooth or WiFi, and syncing everything from the default SMS app on your phone to your tablet and vice-versa.
LilyPad is a floating instant messaging application for Android tablets that supports Google Talk, Facebook Messenger and MSN/Live accounts. It lets you view multiple windows on top of your current screen, resize, adjust, and minimize them.
If you’re not happy with the amount of columns or rows on your tablet launcher, if you want to change the icons or the number of screens, if you’d like to add gestures, hide the dock or the notification bar, or basically if there’s anything at all that you’d like to customize in your launcher, chances are that Apex has that feature.
AntTek Explorer is in my opinion one of the most impressive –and least known– file browsers for Android. It comes with a triple-pane view on tablets, a clean and fully customizable UI, drag-and-drop, plenty of integrated viewers, every file management option you can think of, and even plugs into your Dropbox or Google Drive.
Thumb Keyboard is a completely personalized keyboard, with support for several tablet layouts that can be changed between portrait and landscape, along with shortcuts, templates, many languages, prediction and auto-complete, multitouch, swipe and more options than I could include in this small excerpt.
avast! is currently the leading antivirus and anti-theft utility for Android. It scans existing and new apps for permissions and vulnerabilities, filters SMS and calls, monitors apps for their CPU, memory and network usage, scans URLs before you open them, offers the option to set up a firewall, and lets you control your device via SMS or Web in case it is lost.
The Weather Network is a simple yet elegant weather application for Android tablets. It comes with hourly forecasts for current conditions, a detailed short term forecast and a long term trend prediction. The forecasts are accompanied by interactive charts and weather alerts.
Unit Converter HD is one of the most beautiful converters on Android tablets. Even though it comes with an impressive 80+ categories and 1400+ units, everything is easily accessible thanks to favorites, most used conversions and sorting by name or value.
Whether you’re a stock trader or your work, like mine, involves products bought all over the world, you need to keep an eye on currency changes and aCurrency fulfills that need superbly. You can track multiple currency pairs, convert amounts between each, view past charts spanning from 7 days to 3 years, and even pinpoint two dates and check the percentage of variation between them.
If you’re always shipping and tracking products, Package Buddy should be a must-have on your tablet. It integrates with almost every well known carrier, shows you the current status of your package, a map of its progress, and lets you customize the view depending on how much you need to know.
Do you know of any other awesome app optimized for Android tablets that we did not mention here?