Tablets are all the rage at the CES this week, and while some feel Android is not ready for tablets yet my experience with a Samsung Galaxy Tab conflicts with that POV. I grabbed a Galaxy Tab when it first appeared on the market and it has become a powerful tool for me due to an assortment of good apps. The Android Market is growing every day as new apps appear, and it can be difficult to find the good ones. Here is a list of the top 10 Android apps I use daily on my Galaxy Tab. We all use our gadgets uniquely so these apps may not make your list, but they work well for me. Note that these are not specific to the larger screen of the Tab, they work fine on Android phones. All of these apps are available in the Android Market on the device.
1. LauncherPro. The Galaxy Tab ships with Samsung's TouchWiz interface, and while it is passable I prefer more utility in the most-used feature of the Android tablet. LauncherPro is my launcher replacement of choice, primarily due to the level of customization it provides. It makes it easy to set up the home screens as desired, and makes interaction with the system a delight. LauncherPro includes some useful widgets that mimic those found on phones equipped with HTC Sense. Free (custom icons and docks available for $1.99).
2. Beautiful Widgets. Android is all about customizing the system to user preference, and this widget is a good start. It consists of a clock skin and a weather skin to make the home screen provide good information in an attractive way. Beautiful Widgets has literally hundreds of free clock skins that can be downloaded within the app to tailor the look and feel; there are a number of weather skins available too. $2.00.
3. Dolphin Browser HD. The browser on the Tab is decent enough, but I use Dolphin Browser by default. Dolphin brings desktop browser capability to the Android device, including sophisticated bookmark handling and add-ons. This is the first app I install on any Android device. Free.
4. Plume. Twitter clients are a dime a dozen, and Plume is my app of choice. It was originally released under the name Touiteur, but is now found under the Plume name in the Android Market. Plume has advanced interface features that make it easy to work with Twitter streams, including swiping to change columns and long-pressing tweets to interact with them. Free.
5. Kindle. The Galaxy Tab is a wonderful ereader with the 7-inch screen, and the Kindle app is my preferred method to read ebooks. There are alternate readers available, Nook and Kobo for instance, but since Amazon has my purchased content Kindle is my reader app. Free.
6. gReader Pro. I follow hundreds of RSS feeds daily, and while I use Google Reader on the desktop I use gReader Pro on the Tab. It syncs with Google Reader, and features an interface that is optimized for use by touch. I can skim through hundreds of feed items in just a few minutes using this app. $5.47.
7. Pocket Informant. This calendar and task manager is as good as it gets on a mobile device, and I spend a lot of time in it each day. There are lots of calendar views to choose from, and the task list can sync with online service Toodleoo to keep up-to-date on the fly. Pocket Informant is in public beta and thus free, but not for much longer.
8. Amazon MP3. I have been purchasing my music from Amazon for quite some time, and the MP3 app makes that easy to do on the Tab. I love how the app presents the free song of the day as soon as I fire it up, along with the Amazon album deal of the day. Free.
9. Angry Birds. What, you thought Angry Birds wouldn't make the list? This game is an absolute phenomenon on many platforms, and is a joy to play on the big screen of the Tab. The ads at the top of the screen annoy some folks, but is a small price to pay for a great free game.
10. Thinking Space Pro. I am a long-time practitioner of the black art of mind mapping, and this app makes it fun to do on the Tab. The interface makes creating/manipulating maps as easy as point and click on the screen. $4.74 (limited free version available).