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I would love some App ideas for a new Nexus 7 tablet.
July 19, 2012 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I would love some App ideas for a new Nexus 7 tablet.

I got a Nexus 7 for my birthday and I am in love with it. I have never had a smart phone or tablet before and am already addicted to it, so what can't live without Apps would you recommend a new table owner try out. I don't mind if the app comes from sources other than Google play and I don't mind paying for Apps if they are good.

It comes with basics installed like Chrome, gmail, feed readers and the like.

I would love some game recommendations, I prefer puzzle style games like Bejeweled or tetris over fps and the like but if there is a good one for the format I'll try it out if only to make my husband jealous. Also a music and media players suggestions as I am not super thrilled with the ones that came with it.

It runs Android 4.2 Jellybean.

Please keep this about App suggestions and not a discussion about my (or anyone elses) choice in tablets.
posted by wwax to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Angry Birds is an extremely popular and addictive game.

The Google Play Music app is actually pretty good and plays music while you browse the web, etc. You can download the Music Manager and use it to upload any MP3 music files you have on your computer or from iTunes, etc. Besides that, you can check out Spotify, but it requires a subscription fee for ad-free play.

For media, you might consider Netflix, which requires a ($7.99/mo) subscription services. You can also use the VLC media player to play pretty much any media you've got.
posted by doomtop at 10:22 AM on July 19, 2012


Is it okay if I say you have excellent taste in tablets? I just got my N7 yesterday and it is so, so awesome.

Bejeweled 2 is in the app store. Tetris, annoyingly, doesn't seem to work on the larger screen. Triple Town is a very fun object-matching-cum-puzzle game that is one of the few I've had a chance to try out on my own Nexus so I can confirm that it works (Fruit Ninja does too, but the larger screen isn't great for the gameplay).

If you don't care for the default media players, I recommend Winamp for music – it's simple to use, has good playlist management, and it lets you play your songs with a voice command (“Listen to X” or “Play X” will load up a playlist of all songs containing the search term, and start playing it, with no button-pressing required). There are a lot of good video players, but for my money the best is MX Video Player. It plays damn near everything without a hitch and has good touchscreen controls.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:26 AM on July 19, 2012


dungeon defenders is a superfun game...part tower defense, part rpg dungeon crawl...cute fun design...
frisbee forever is surprisingly entertaining as well...and the music is catchy like herpes ;P
you have tried angry birds, no?

get a 'multitouch tester' app to see how many fingers your screen can recognize...(more=better)...this is super-handy to know if you want to run any of the (millions of) music-making apps available...(i particularly like plasma sound (a theremin app) and vibrafun (xylophone)...also sfxr for groovy 8bit sfx)

pandora?

you can get much better battery life by turning off auto-sync everywhere you can find it (it's a lot of places :/ ) even the play store 'check for updates' will be constantly on unless you turn it off...juice defender is also a great app for this...

sketchbook mobile/magic doodle (awesome color charts!)/drawsomething for drawing...
fractoid makes beautiful fractals...

astro is a reeealy good file browser/manager (like the 'computer' screen on windows...its for looking at ALL the files on your tablet (rather than having to go through each app/gallery)...i haven't used it this way, but many MANY people reccomend it as an all-purpose media player as well...music/movies/pictures/etc...
posted by sexyrobot at 10:30 AM on July 19, 2012


Oh, and some things you may want to try as alternatives to the pre-installed basics:

Dolphin Browser HD has a few tweaks that can make it more useful than Chrome, mainly the customizable gestures and the ability to open your bookmarks with a simple swipe, instead of having to open the menu and find a button.

SwiftKey Tablet is the best Android keyboard. It can predict the word you're typing with frankly disconcerting accuracy, even if you haven't started typing it yet (if I type "Friday," it suggests "night" as the next word, for instance), and also makes it easier to type in the widescreen orientation by breaking the keyboard into two halves that are each in easy reach of your thumbs. Costs money, but you've gotta spend the $25 store credit on something, right?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:30 AM on July 19, 2012


also, i can't stress enough how important it is to have at least one app that either a) makes pictures of your friends look fat/hairy/bald/like a baby, etc or b) makes really loud farting noises. i prefer 'fart sound board' myself...it includes 'farting elephant', who repeats whatever you say in a really low elephant voice and then farts. You will wonder aloud and often how you ever managed to live without it.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:37 AM on July 19, 2012


One of the first apps worth installing, if you have an account with Amazon, is the Amazon Appstore. You can't get it from the Play Store, so you have to do what's called "sideloading," which Amazon will walk you through when you download it. You can use that to download a number official Amazon apps, such as Kindle and Amazon MP3, and there's a free app deal every day. There's also a bunch of Google apps that, if it hasn't installed them for you already, are nice:
Drive - formerly Docs, can also be used as a file depository/sharing tool
Earth - mobile version of the web tool
Maps - ditto
Reader - RSS feed reader, although I think you can also set this up in Currents
Talk - GChat on your tablet
Voice - VOIP calls from your tablet
Now, just going off apps that I have, I'd suggest the following:
Any.DO - tasks/todo lists
BeWeather - weather app with cool interface and nice widget options
Dropbox - another file depository/sharing tool
Evernote - note-taking, including pictures of scribbles, and laid out very nicely
Facebook - mobile version of the web tool
IMDB - for movie and TV info
Instagram - mobile version of the web tool
Skype - alternative to Google Voice
Twitter - mobile version of the web tool
Wikipedia - mobile version of the web tool
Yelp - restaurant and other venue locations and reviews
I'm not a big tablet gamer, but I know a lot of previous-generation games are available, like Sonic and Grand Theft Auto. There's also mobile-aimed stuff like Pew Pew Pew, Temple Run ,and Angry Birds or board games like Monopoly.

Another thing to note, and what IMO is a big advantage over both Apple products and similar Android tablets like the Nook and Kindle, is that like any other Nexus-branded device you have the official "stock" Android. That means that (1) you can hack/root the tablet very easily if you so choose and (2) even if you don't root it you're not tied to the interface they give you. You can change what apps are on your screen, you can change the image in the background, or you can even download animated (and often interactive) "Live Wallpaper" instead. That big Play Store thing on your home screen is just a widget that you can get rid of by holding your finger down on it for a couple seconds and dragging away. Android comes with a bunch of widgets you can replace it with, as do most apps.

And there's other apps that can do even more. You want to add fancy clocks? Download UCCW and check out all the cool skins people have made. You want a nice minimalistic calendar on your home screen? Try Simple Calendar. Is the stock Android interface a little stodgy and locked-down for you? Try Nova Launcher, which lets you modify the icons, or add more or less of them to the screen, or even get rid of screens you're not using. The point is, there's a ton of stuff you can do (or not, it can be a little overwhelming), so make it your own.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:03 AM on July 19, 2012


Simple calendar is good.

(Btw where did you get the Nexus from? I have been looking now, not sure of the best place)
posted by pakora1 at 11:23 AM on July 19, 2012


Google Listen (for podcasts) gets the most use of any app I have on my android device. As with most Google products, it's got UI annoyances, but the app gets daily use, sometimes more. It's a commuting godsend.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2012


My husband got it for me directly from Google, he preordered it ages ago though so we got lucky with delivery and it came on time. I've heard there are some delays for the people that waited to order, I think there was way more demand than they expected.
posted by wwax at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2012


I ordered it directly from Google right after (we're talking minutes here) it was announced. I may have been a little bit excited.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:21 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You have EXCELLENT taste in tablets, I must say.
I ordered my 8GB Nexus 7 on July 16th, around 10:15am and had it in my hand by 10am the NEXT DAY.
Crazy.
There are people over in the Nexus 7 Sub-Reddit that ordered theirs opening day and STILL haven't received it. Common opinion has it that they ordered the 16GB, which may account for the delay.

I have NEVER owned an Android device in my life, and I swear this is a thing of beauty.
So highly customizable that you can make it where it's own parent wouldn't recognize it.

I am a devout apple fanboy when it comes to their phones and laptops, but man - I swear, you (or anyone) will not regret this purchase.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dang! All that was leading up to recommending this link in the sub-Reddit, and of course, I forgot about it. Sorry!
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:59 PM on July 19, 2012


It's linked in that thread but I want to call it out because I can't believe I forgot one of the few absolute no-matter-what-your-tastes-are must-haves for a tablet without cellular Internet. Pocket is a program that saves entire webpages for easy reading later, when you're away from the web. If you intend to ever use this tablet away from wifi, you want Pocket.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:05 PM on July 19, 2012


@thanks wwax
posted by pakora1 at 2:36 PM on July 19, 2012


FlipBoard is a great news/social feed reader.

Also wanted to note in response to SwiftKey Tablet is the best Android keyboard. It can predict the word you're typing with frankly disconcerting accuracy that the default keyboard in Jellybean (the OS version Nexus 7 is on) is very very good at this too.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2012


I don't have a tablet but recommend these Android games:

Jelly Defense
Gyro
Letris 2
Dead Trigger
Temple Run
Canabalt
Flick Golf and Extreme

Costs money, but you've gotta spend the $25 store credit on something, right?

Not sure if they've plugged this hole yet... but if you sign up for more Google accounts it'll give you another $25 each.
posted by dobbs at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have heard that Moon reader is a great app so is translator (i am also thinking of getting one-tested it out against the Samsung Galaxy and this rocks. so smooth. does anyone know if i can read spanish and look up spanish words definition in a spanish/english dictionary by simply highlighting the word?)
posted by pakora1 at 1:01 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone for all your great suggestions.
posted by wwax at 8:58 AM on July 25, 2012


Lightning Bug is amazing if you have trouble getting to sleep - it was just about worth the price of the tablet to me for that app alone.
posted by griselda at 10:04 AM on July 25, 2012


Picked up a 16g last night. Pretty excellent.
posted by dobbs at 10:44 AM on July 25, 2012


Anyone bought a case yet? All the ones on Amazon look like junk.
posted by dobbs at 10:44 AM on July 25, 2012


@dobbs: No case yet; I'm making do with an extra Kindle Fire case. The openings for buttons are misaligned, but it will be fine until the really good cases start coming out. I'm holding out hope for a TwelveSouth kind of case.
posted by THAT William Mize at 11:14 AM on July 25, 2012


Anyone bought a case yet? All the ones on Amazon look like junk.

I bought this one because the company was kind of well-known and it was relatively cheap. They also make a "dual view" version for twice the price. You may want to check the Nexus 7 accessories subforum over at XDA for more suggestions.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:20 AM on July 25, 2012


Looks like I'll be getting the TreeGloo case. Thought about the Dodo, but didn't like the fact that the only thing holding the Nexus in the case was some sort of adhesive backing.
posted by THAT William Mize at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2012


Another vote for Flipboard. I love it-
posted by crunchland at 8:05 PM on August 3, 2012


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