20 good apps for the HP TouchPad

There are now reportedly more apps available for the HP TouchPad than tablet-optimized apps for Android Honeycomb tablets. Here are twenty good TouchPad apps for consideration.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Word came out of the HP webOS community this week that there are now over 1,000 apps written for the HP TouchPad tablet. This is significant given the short life of the TouchPad, especially given there may be fewer apps optimized for Honeycomb tablets than this. There are some very good apps for the TouchPad, and with an estimated million owners it makes sense to take a fresh look at them.

I use many of the apps on this list, while others have been highly recommended to me by TouchPad owners. The apps cover the range from productivity apps to entertainment and games. To prevent starting a popularity debate, the apps are listed in totally random order. They're all good, and all available through the HP App Catalog on the TouchPad.

Top 20 apps for the TouchPad presented in screenshots

Image Gallery: 20 great apps for the HP TouchPad presented in streenshots along with full descriptions of the apps
Image Gallery: Charge
Image Gallery: Charge
Graphite. This Twitter app is not available yet but should hit the App Catalog any day. It is an update of the popular Carbon Twitter app for the Pre, updated for the big TouchPad screen. Information leaked so far show this may be one of the best Twitter apps available for any platform once released. I would keep an eye out for Graphite. Price unknown.

Zinio. Tablets make wonderful readers for magazine content and the Zinio service has been providing digital versions of many popular publications for years. The TouchPad version has been submitted to HP for inclusion in the App Catalog, so Zinio should be appearing at any time. Free.

FlashCards. Using flash cards is a good way to study, and this app makes it easy and fruitful. I don't use this myself, but I was overwhelmed with recommendations for FlashCards by TouchPad owners. I heard from both students and professionals who have used FlashCards to study for certification exams. It can be used to study for a variety of educational and professional tests, along with learning a second language. It works in conjunction with quizlet.com which has lots of study aids available for use with FlashCards. $4.99.

TouchFeeds. This Google Reader app is one of the most heavily used apps on my TouchPad. It syncs all of my hundreds of RSS fees with the Google mothership, and is as fast as greased lightning. It is not uncommon for me to have over a thousand articles in my inbox, and TouchFeeds makes it a breeze to sail through them in short order. $2.99.

Video Flood HD. The Touchpad is perfect for watching video, and this app is a great way to do that. It provides access to online video shows, network TV shows, podcasts and movies. The interface is simple and makes the large amount of available video shows very accessible. It is a great way to spend some unexpected free time with your tablet. $1.99.

Communities. TouchPad owners new to the webOS platform will likely want to keep up with the latest news about the OS. This app makes following the major communities discussing topics of interest, complete with reading new enthusiast postings and replying. It is based on the TapaTalk app that Android users are very familiar with. $5.99.

Mosaic. Those who prefer a visual presentation for RSS news should look no further than Mosaic. This app syncs with Google Reader and brings unread news items into a distinctive grid that lets news of interest stand out from the crowd. I find it can be overwhelming for the hundreds of RSS feeds I follow, but those with fewer to keep track of will like it just fine. Free.

Glimpse. The multitasking of the TouchPad is good, and the card metaphor used to represent running apps is innovative. There are times when it is nice to run multiple tasks in a single app, and Glimpse steps up to handle this in style. The app can have as many as 5 panes open at once, each running a different task to show the most information on a screen possible. Glimpse includes a number of widgets to run in these panes that handle common tasks, like Twitter, Google Reader, regular RSS feeds and even a web browser. Users can configure as many panes as desired from the full palette available. I was impressed with Glimpse and wrote a full review of it here. $5.00.

Flickr Mundo HD. Those who use Flickr for handling photos online will love this app. Flickr Mundo HD makes everything done with Flickr nice and easy, and well adapted to the TouchPad screen. There is a convenient bulk editing mode for working with groups of photos, and a slide show that works well with Exhibition mode in the Touchstone dock. $2.99.

Aftermath XHD. Even a dead device needs a good zombie game and this one is perfectly adapted for play on the TouchPad. The graphics and audio are gorgeous and set the atmosphere for this game that sends more zombies at you than you can shake a stick at. You'd better be shaking more than a stick if you want to last long. $5.99 special promotion.

Box. New TouchPad owners may not be aware that HP made an arrangement with the box.net folks to provide all TouchPad buyers a free 50GB cloud storage account for life. This free account is still being offered at this time and the Box app, required to sign up for the free account, makes working with all of that free cloud storage a breeze. A 50GB account at box.net is normally $20/ month so your cheap TouchPad just got paid for many times over. Free.

LCARS-Clock. Star Trek fans will appreciate this app that provides a themed Exhibition mode screen. The clock and alarms are easily accessible and function as expected. The app comes with a number of alarms that sound very Star Trek appropriate. While LCARS is meant to run in Exhibition mode while in the Touchstone charging stand, it can be run as any other app for the Star Trek atmosphere. Free.

PodCatcher Deluxe. The TouchPad makes a good podcast device given its good multi-tasking, and this app is a great way to handle them. Podcast feeds are easily added for automatic streaming or downloading. The internal player is simple but works well, and remembers the current location for leaving and coming back when time permits. $2.00.

Rev3. Tablets are good for watching video on the go and Rev3 is a good interface for the Revision3 online network. This network hosts lots of popular video podcasts such as Diggnation and Tekzilla. The Rev3 has an internal player for simple viewing of your favorite Revision3 show. Free.

Spaz HD. This twitter app handles multiple columns for easily following your friends, mentions and direct messages. It recently gained the ability to work with lists and the columns can be dragged and dropped in the desired order. This is one of the few twitter apps I have used on any platform that works just as well in portrait and landscape orientations. Spaz HD is a great twitter app and is open source and produced by volunteers. Free.

TWITHD. TWiT is the best online video network bar none, and this app makes keeping up with the great shows a breeze. It is similar to the Rev3 app mentioned above, and like that one turns watching TWiT video into a thing of beauty. Free.

Glyder 2 HD. This game consists of beautiful scenes that are explored by the main character who has wings and glides through them all. The glider is controlled by tilting the TouchPad and directing your character around obstacles, collecting powerups, and using clearly indicated thermals to keep aloft. The game is almost Zen-like with its calming scenes, soothing music and a pace that is easy. Playing Glyder 2 is a great way to unwind after a busy day in the real world. $2.99.

toodleTasks HD. Keeping up with a busy task list is a perfect task for the TouchPad, and this app brings it all to life. The toodleTasks app syncs with the popular Toodledo online task management, and provides a bevy of filters and views to allow even the busiest TouchPad owner to keep on top of things. This is one of the most heavily used apps on my TouchPad. $4.99.

Sparkle HD. Zuma fans will recognize the gameplay of Sparkle and feel right at home. The graphics are outstanding and the gameplay is addictive as it is simple to start but gets downright hard to win at the advanced levels. Sparkle HD looks good and is tons of fun on the TouchPad. $4.99.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for TouchPad. Sometimes relaxing games are not the call of the day, and only pulse-pounding action will do. This game has that at every level and is a great addition to the Need for Speed racing game series. The controls have been adapted for the TouchPad and make it easy to control the vast collection of cars you can drive in the game, including police cars. The graphics are stunning, performance is great, and gameplay is first-rate. $9.99.

Bonus app: Splashtop Remote. The TouchPad is a good format for remote controlling into a Mac or Windows desktop for access on the go. Splashtop Remote turns any Mac or Windows desktop into a fully touch-optimized system that can be accessed anywhere in the world. See my full review of SplashTop Remote Desktop for details about the program. $4.99.

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