Top 30 best Android 3.0 apps
23rd May 2011 | 09:13
The best Honeycomb apps for your Android 3.0 tablet
30 best Android 3.0 apps
Android 3.0 is set to explode. While the Motorola Xoom is off to a slow start - according to some analyst projections - the new OS will appear on several new tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and new models from Asus and Acer.
As Android has shown on the smartphone platform, it is possible to dethrone Apple by sheer numbers, now that there are more Android handsets in use than iPhones.
(Note: Our list does not include apps included on the tablet already. These are the apps, listed in order starting with the ones we recommend downloading first.)
Pulse deserves a place of honour on your home screen for one reason: it aggregates the web. The idea is to showing top stories from around the web, but each one shows a quick thumbnail. When you click, you can read just the basic story and view photos without the usual clutter. It's also easy to share links.
2. Google Earth
Google Earth is free, like most Google apps, but worth the download on the Xoom because of how quickly it works on the Tegra processor. In our tests, zooming into a London street corner, the app worked smoother than anything we've seen on the iPad for mapping software. You can plan routes as well, see topographical info, and search for landmarks all over the world.
3. Google Sky Map
One of those rare apps that makes people gasp when they first use it, Sky Map shows star constellations in real-time as you move your tablet around the night sky. You can zoom in and choose to hide some objects, such as planets, to make it easier to find what you want.
4. Google Body
Google Body lives up to the Google mission statement: you can find anything, even your femur. The interface for looking at the human body is very intuitive - you can zoom in on any body part, view just a skeleton or muscles, and search for body parts, muscles, bones, or just about any part of our anatomy.
When we picked the top Android apps many eons ago, Kindle was a top contender. On Android 3.0, it is less compelling, since the Google Books app works quite well. However, any books you have previously purchased from the Kindle Store appear here automatically.
6. Angry Birds Rio
A game based on the movie, Angry Birds Rio is not only addictive, it's also free. On each level, the goal is to rescue the birds Blu and Jewel, featured in the film. The game mechanics are the same as the original, minus the pigs: you pull a rubber band back and launch a bird to knock down buildings.
7. Double Twist
Double Twist does not add any new twist to music playback on the Xoom. What it does provide is a desktop app that can sync all of your music, videos, photos, and podcasts. The Xoom version is obviously a re-formatting of the smartphone version, but when you okay a song the album cover appears in HD and the controls for advancing through tracks are easy to find and use on the larger screen.
8. Adobe Connect Mobile
For those who already use Adobe Connect, the mobile version for Xoom is a must-download. For the rest of us, this screen-sharing and webconferencing system works well on a tablet because you can instant chat with colleagues, share your screen, and host meetings. Unfortunately, the webcam did not work with the Xoom version (it did work on a BlackBerry PlayBook).
9. FlightTrack (£3.07)
One of the few paid apps on our list, FlightTrack is a top pick because it allows you to check flight departures and arrivals quickly, see an icon of your plane during flight, and check for flight changes. The interface is also robust: you can search for flights at 4,000 airports and for 1,400 airlines.
10. Air Attack HD (£1.79)
Second only to Angry Birds in terms of compelling gameplay and rich graphics, Air Attack HD is a scrolling shooter with detailed maps and plenty of gameplay twists. You can control one of two classic planes. On the Xoom, the HD version looks amazing and runs smoothly. Some levels have destructible bridges, and wait for the end of each level for massive boss battles.
11. BackBreaker THD (£3.07)
This American football game shows how the Xoom hardware can be used for a real arcade game. The graphics look crisp and colorful as you control a running back who has to make his way to the touchdown zone. Stadiums look great, and the juke moves are varied and realistic.
Androidify has no practical function, but that doesn't mean it's useless. You can customize the green Droid character with crazy hair and paints, then share your creation on multiple services, including Picasa and Dropbox, attach the image to any contact, store in your Gallery, or send by email.
Some businesses say they could not operate as smoothly without Dropbox. The reason: the app lets you share just about anything in a common portal that's accessible from anywhere. On Android 3.0, the app is one of the best ways to send images, video, and documents to the device.
The free version of this app is a must-download if you routinely need to view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office documents. You can't edit docs, and the free version does not work with Google Docs, but you can open files from the local storage on your tablet.
The main reason we like SoundHound is because it actually works. A music recognition engine, the app will "listen" to recorded music and tell you the artist name, track, and album. We identified about a dozen songs accurately. The app is not as good at recognizing a song you hum or whistle, though.
15 more top Android 3.0 apps
Springpad is a free app for organizing your notes and tasks for the day in one place. You can also add pictures, music, and other media. One of the best features: you can search for shops nearby and then add them to the app along with a note and a map. You can also scan barcodes and add those items in the app.
We prefer Weatherbug over AccuWeather because it's…less buggy. (AccuWeather tends to crash or freeze on Android 3.0.) You can quickly see current conditions, alerts, and weather forecasts. The app works automatically for your current location using GPS but you can add any other city.
Next to Angry Birds Rio, Cordy is one of the better games on offer for Android 3.0. You control a tiny robot who has to make his way across a gameworld, usually by jumping over objects, pushing and pulling them, or throwing things. The graphics are amazingly detailed.
Not to be confused with a football app, Touchdown allows you to easily tap into your Microsoft Exchange email and calendar. Configuring the app is easy: you just tap in your username and password. The interface is modeled after Microsoft Outlook with tabs on the left and a preview pane at right.
20. Gun Bros.
A game made originally for iPhone and iPad, Gun Bros. is a top-down shooter that looks amazing on Android 3.0: crisp graphics, good sci-fi sound effects, and fast gameplay. The game is a bit buggy and the controls can be wonky, but the onslaught of enemies requires some extra strategy.
21. Dungeon Defenders
One of the only games with an online component, Dungeon Defenders is a chaotic action game with some RPG elements. You can collect items and power-ups, level-up your character, and - when playing online - compare you're the stats of your character with others for bragging rights.
22. USA Today
Not quite as useful as Pulse for catching up on the news, USA Today shows you the news of the day - covering global news, sports, technology, and other areas in a clean interface. Includes current weather and forecast, a photo viewer, voting, and stock market listings.
The main strength of proximity-sharing app Glympse is that you don't have to register or even share any personal details other than your location. The app first finds out where you are using GPS. You can then send the location via email or SMS, or update your Facebook or Twitter status.
Evernote is an extremely popular app which helps you collect notes throughout the day and save them to the Evernote site, where you can access them from other devices. For example, you can jot down phone numbers or reminders. The app is just scaled up for Android 3.0 but still has some smartphone vestiges.
25. Opera Browser
The main reason to use the Opera Browser for Android is to gain some extra speed for certain web sites. In our tests, the Opera app loaded rich content sites like GamesRadar.com faster than the Xoom's built-in browser. No tabs, but there's an easy way to save pages and share them with friends.
26. MiniSquadron! Lite
A brilliant game with so-so graphics, Mini Squadron Lite is side-scrolling game where you control and airplane with your fingers and shoot down enemy craft. The only ding compared to higher-ranked games is that the graphics tend to look a bit blurry on Android 3.0, but the gameplay is frantically fun.
An extra add-on for Google Maps, Latitude allows you to share your location automatically with only those you select (and are also using Latitude). The advantage on Android 3.0 is that the map is much easier to see, which is helpful when you want to track the locale of nearby friends.
28. Glow Hockey
One of the few games we have included that works about the same on a smartphone, Glow Hockey is a good pick for the Xoom because it is a two-player game and the tablet offers more screen size for controlling your paddle and. The goal is to smash the puck into the goal before your opponent. You can select alternate paddles, play against the computer, and choose a difficulty level.
We won't say DrawFree is the best sketching app for Android - but, for now, it is the only one and it's free. There are a few options for selecting brush, pen, or marker and then choosing a color. The Motorola Xoom we used for testing is highly responsive to subtle finger sketches.
Not the most timely app, since Japan has recently suffered a horrendous disaster. Earthquake! does help you keep tabs on minor and major earthquakes across the globe. More importantly, it makes use of the wide tablet screen, showing quakes on the left and a zoomable map on the right.
Liked this? Then check out 15 best Android tablets in the world
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