Now that your shiny new tablet is all set up, charged and raring to go, what to do with it? With the gazillions of apps from which to choose, it’s easy to quickly beleaguer your poor new gadget with a host of useless tools. And while that’s an initiation rite of every new tablet owner, you might as well cut to the chase and download the essentials while you’re at it.
The following are some of the tried-and-true workhorse apps that any new tablet owner will appreciate.
Like having an entire newsstand at your fingertips, NextIssue gives you access to more than 100 leading magazines for a low monthly fee. It organizes your magazines, both current and back issues, in addition to extra digital material not available in the print editions.
Way back when, the idea of a video phone was a thing of sci-fi fantasy. Now, Skype has made it de rigueur. With the Skype app and account, you can phone anywhere over the Internet for endless video calls.
Do you miss your favorite radio channel from your hometown? Are you a francophile who dreams of listening to Parisian radio? Do you wish you could listen to an international sporting event not available on your local radio? Then TuneIn is for you. This app gives you access to more than 70,000 live radio stations and 2 million on-demand programs, like podcasts, concerts and interviews from around the world.
5. Banking app
Like having a teller in your pocket, most major banks now offer a banking app that gives you access to and control of all your banking needs from the convenience of your tablet. Beyond just checking balances, there are a number of other transactions that can be performed from one of these apps, including the ability to deposit checks if your tablet has a camera. Check with you bank’s website.
6. Cable TV app
Many cable TV providers (like Comcast and Time Warner) offer an app that allows subscribers to watch live TV and download movies, in addition to other features. Check with your cable company to see what they offer.
The world’s leading subscription service for watching TV shows and movies, the Netflix monthly subscription allows you to watch as much as you want whenever you want from your smartphone or tablet.
With a tap on the seemingly supernatural Shazam screen, the app will listen to whatever song is playing and then perform a feat of magic: It will identify the song, album and artist, and then give you the option to purchase the song or to save it for future reference.
The modern cook’s version of grandma’s cluttered recipe box, the Paprika recipe manager app clips your favorite recipes from the Web and syncs them to the cloud so that all of your tidily organized recipes are accessible from any of your devices. Added bonuses: It can scale ingredients to your desired serving size; create meal plans; and make shopping lists, among other nifty features.
For those times when you need to settle an argument or recall a pesky fact that has slipped your memory, behold the oracle of all knowledge: the Wikipedia app.
11. Red Cross apps
If your inner Boy Scout heeds the motto “Be Prepared,” then head over to the Red Cross site for an assortment of natural disaster preparedness apps that will have you best prepared to deal with the potential disasters that may occur in your area. The apps give you everything you need to know about preparing for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfire, earthquakes — including warnings when applicable — as well as pet information and shelter finders.
12. Games for pets
Don’t be selfish; your pet wants to play with your tablet too. (You know this was bound to happen.) There are now many, many apps that provide entertainment for your cats and dogs. Games for Dogs, for instance, offers squeaking cats and squirrels for your dog’s playing pleasure, while Games for Cats provides your cat with the ultimate cat chase toy, a skittering laser dot. A quick search will find you plenty more.
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12 essential mobile apps for your new tablet
From radio stations across the world, books, movies and even games for pets, here are some great apps to get you started.