Android tablet apps for my grandfather?
June 19, 2013 10:28 AM   Subscribe

My 80-year-old grandfather has a Nexus tablet, and he wants me to find apps for him. I have no idea what to get him, and I don't think he does, either: he just wants neat things to do with it, though he's not at all tech-savvy. What might I download for him? This may be a tall order: I'm looking for apps that are preferably free, intuitive to use, and that aren't too complex or intricate. Most games are probably right out (though he likes card games, and may like similarly simple ones). Even the act of entering a search in YouTube is tricky for him. Any ideas of what I could find for him to download?
posted by Rory Marinich to Technology (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I am on an Android. I would suggest you try to tailor it to things he does. There are lots of free apps. Calculators. Drawing programs. On and on. But as an older woman with terrible eyesight, the things I get a big kick out of are where I have been struggling with something and learn there is an app for that and it makes it easier. For example, I found out there was an app for Blogger and revived a dead site that was too much of a pain to maintain by logging in.

There are also apps for stores you frequent. You can download coupons to your store loyalty card, check the weekly flyer, etc. I love my adsense app, my paypal app, my writing app (qute text editor), my ftp program, my WordPress app, my drawing app (Sketchbook, but there are lots of simpler ones like Draw or Paint), my calculator app and others that let me get stuff done. But I run websites and do a lot of writing, etc. A lot of those probably won't help your grandpa.

So find out what stuff he does. Old people are frequently jazzed about practical things instead of stuff that helps them goof off. We are weird like that. (And proud of it. Now get off my lawn.)
posted by Michele in California at 10:42 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Flipboard. A truly excellent app. It's free. Kind of a newfangled RSS reader, it needs a little setting up in the beginning to pick which sources you want to "follow". But once you set it up, you can lose hours in it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:49 AM on June 19, 2013

I mean, honestly, all the old people I know flip over Shazam. It's a crowd-pleaser when I wave it around in a restaurant to identify an old song. He might get a kick out of showing off to his crew.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:51 AM on June 19, 2013

I don't know if they're available for Nexus, but my grandma is 89 and has a Kindle fire. Her favorite things to do on it are:

-Angry birds (all the free versions)
-Subway surfer
-assorted drawing apps
-word search/crossword/cryptogram apps
posted by phunniemee at 10:53 AM on June 19, 2013

Accuweather for Android.

It came preinstalled on my phone, and I like it a lot. It isn't something he'll spend long periods using, but it'll get used briefly, a lot of times.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:55 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

If he likes card games, they can be really fun on a device. I used to love playing rummy and gin rummy and would spend hours playing on my DS then my iPhone.
posted by radioamy at 10:56 AM on June 19, 2013

maybe Tonematrix?
posted by scody at 11:01 AM on June 19, 2013

Google Sky Map is pretty dang neat. It was my go to "look at how cool Android is!" app for a long time.
posted by Diskeater at 11:19 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

On the ipad, my father really likes that national geographic parks app (which is free, but you can purchase more parts to it), and google earth, and an astronomy/sky application (I forget which one).
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:20 AM on June 19, 2013

Videochatting with his grandson using Google+ Hangout. My dad was most pleased by this and my son has now met many of my father's friends and random strangers because grandpa keeps showing off this particular feature to anyone willing to listen.

Google Earth was a huge hit too, he's spent hours zooming into places around the world he's visited over the years.
posted by jamaro at 11:25 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe he would like to monitor earthquakes?
posted by Duffington at 11:34 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a fan of Scrabble and Ruzzle. Scrabble is good because I can play the computer and it's fun. Ruzzle has practice boards, but they get reused. I've played on-line, but I'm playing games because I'm bored and I don't want to wait on someone else.

Pay the $2 to avoid ads and annoyance.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:45 AM on June 19, 2013

If he likes card games, he might enjoy Astraware Solitaire which has several common solitaire games. It is not free-- it costs $3.29-- but it is a good value if you play often.
posted by tuesdayschild at 12:11 PM on June 19, 2013

For free card games, I've found G4A (Games 4 All) has very good ones and the ads are not too bad, nor do they get in the way of gameplay.
posted by monopas at 12:42 PM on June 19, 2013

Have you considered a Netflix subscription, and then managing his queue for him? My (late) grandfather couldn't get past his amazement at Netflix, and loved that so many movies from his younger days were available. The app is pretty intuitive, especially if there's already a queue set up.

My seventy year old aunt has found great happiness in an app that uses GPS to track her walks, etc--if he's active, he might enjoy something like that. There are a lot of apps in this category, many of which just require clicking start when you start walking and stop when you're done.

If he's into birdwatching, Audubon has a nice bird guide app that my sixty-something mother uses without problem. (I've not used it, but if she's figured it out on her own, it can't be that hard.) (Audubon app is $3, but I'm told it's worth it.)

Can you tell us a little more about him? Because there are lots of hobby-related apps, for example, but not knowing what he's into makes it hard to rec them.
posted by MeghanC at 3:09 PM on June 19, 2013

Google Earth
Google Sky
Facebook, but only if family and friends are on too
YouTube (preselect some channels)
Netflix (but you need a subscription)
Amazon (need a subscription to Prime, but it is great)
magazine subscriptions (not free though)
posted by buzzieandzaza at 8:05 PM on June 19, 2013

My dad was really impressed by Google goggles.
posted by lollusc at 8:53 PM on June 19, 2013

I don't know if he'd like them but there are hundreds of Bejeweled clones available on Play. They are games that don't take much learning and that are satisfying to a lot of people.
Battleship games might be something he is familiar with. Before there was a board game people used to play it with graph paper.
posted by logonym at 3:32 AM on June 20, 2013

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