It's no secret that I'm a big Kindle Fire fan, as you may have seen in the Kindle Fire vs. iPad ZDNet Great Debate at the end of November. I argued in favor of the Fire and won the debate, picking the Fire as the top tablet for gifting and getting this holiday season.
While many early Fire buyers were peeved that Amazon at first had blocked access to the wider Android Marketplace, I was glad to see Amazon fix the complaint with a just-before-the-holidays update.
- Don't miss: Kindle Fire gets a performance update
- More indie Fire apps: Download Non Amazon Approved Apps on your Kindle Fire
While it's true that the current greatest failing of the Kindle Fire in my house is its lack of apps for my cat to play with, the Fire has become my main go-to gadget for fun.
Right now there are plenty of Kindle Fire app guides for all the basics, and with a free app a day it probably feels like there are oodles of apps to grab and enjoy.
I want to show you some distinctively non-productive apps I love that'll make your Fire into a swingin' sidekick, from cocktails and LOLcats to non-Amazon e-books and NSFW podcasts, and beyond. You'll find all of them except the IndieBound Reader in the Kindle Fire app store.
- IndieBound Reader (free)
The IndieBound Reader app is an absolute must-have, and I especially like that I can find any indie bookstore I want to by zipcode, store name, and its default store is the fabulous indie bookstore that made this free app - Green Apple of San Francisco.
Be sure to follow the complete instructions for installation in the sidebar on the right of this article.
- Scanner Radio (free)
I don't know about you, but I was one of those nerds that would sit with friends on a weekend night and listen to the police scanner over beers. Was that the early version of watching reality TV?
Anyway, this free app brings it all back (and could be handy in emergencies). It has nearly 3,000 police and fire scanners, weather radio, amateur radio repeaters worldwide and continually adds more every day.
- ComiCat ($2.00)
It's really easy to understand why the Fire has been touted as a comic reading device (and the 'savior' of online comics) once you open a full-color comic and start reading - it's fantastic.
ComicCat is the top app for organizing, growing and enjoying your tablet comics collection. It has Facebook integration, and given how responsive the app team is in customer support, I'm optimistic this solid app will add more sharing options as time goes by.
- BeyondPod Podcast Manager (free)
I'm deeply invested and reliant on RSS readers to make my world go 'round, and I love podcasts (especially indie and hard-to-find ones).
The BeyondPod Podcast Manager is hands-down the best, most solid and well-made podcast and RSS management and consumption app, period. I've found it great for everything from keeping up with my favorite erotic art blogs and culling work links to listening to Fresh Air while driving my car.
- Backstab HD ($0.99, currently down from $6.99)
This game has to be seen to be believed, and many users are calling Backstab HD the best game for the Fire right now. This action game pits you as an anti-hero with nothing to lose that is forced into a do-or-die adventure.
Lots of action, Parkour-style movement, necessary theft for survival, weapons from swords to guns, horse riding - and be warned, lots of adult violence where players can kill anyone, good or bad.
- Buzzfeed (free)
I come up with many ways to justify my addiction to Buzzfeed, and it helps that this simplified group aggregation site is one of the first places to easily catch a new meme before it's on the mainstream blogs. This app is definitely one of the more fun ways to kill time with its always-entertaining, endless stream of OMG and LOL.
- Tweetcaster (free)
This anti-productivity Kindle Fire app list wouldn't be complete without a Twitter app, and Tweetcaster has long been my top pick for Android tweeting. A streamlined, straightforward interface has the functions I want immediately right on its face, nice customizations in the free version and I just love it.
- PicSay Pro ($1.99, currently down from $3.99)
This is a ridiculously fun photo editing app for the Fire. Some users compare to a Photoshop-style tool, it's way more internet-meme friendly add-ins, like speech bubbles and more.
It's surprisingly excellent for cleaning up photos and adding effects I've grown to love with my Android phone photo tools, such as cross-process emulation. Sadly I missed the window when this was a free Fire app of the day... But I found the cost worth it.
- Rage Comics (free)
Another meme I've really grown to love, Rage Comics are one of my favorite things right now - and this app delivers them smoothly right to my Fire. The best Reddit-related app currently available is a welcome one for me; it'll certainly have to support my geeky comic needs until someone makes a functional XKCD app for the Fire.
- Nyancat ($1)
Is there anything that Nyancat can't make cool? If you're into Nyancat, this app needs no explanation. And if you're not a Nyancat fan... Free your mind.
- Pocket Cocktails ($0.99)
My Kindle Fire sits perfectly at attention on its little stand when I'm ready to mix drinks for my guests, like any helpful bar companion.
This app has hundreds of drink recipes, easy instructions for mixing everything from classic cocktails to winter warmers and even non-alcoholic 'mocktails' - but I really appreciate that I can search recipes by ingredient, based on using what I have on hand.