Since I like bitching about apps that fall short of expectations so much, it’s only fair that I take some time to give credit to some apps that are actually good. Apps that work well, look good, and feel like they’re apps for a 2012 operating system. On Android such apps are actually rather rare, as most either lack functionality or simply look bad. Here are five apps from my own tablet that I think deserve a pat on the back.
The Internet Movie Database app is a must-have for any movie or TV enthusiast. I actually turn down the backlight of my phone all the way when at the movies so that I can use the IMDb app if there’s something I need to look up – it’s simply so annoying to see an actor you can’t place. The IMDb app for Android is luckily great, and is even optimized for tablets. Ranging from the design and interface functionality to being able to set trailers to stream at 720p, I much prefer this app to the website even when I’m at home and on my computer.
Zinio is a company I love to hate. Some shady business practices aside though, I find myself using the service for the Xth year in a row. The Android app is great, and since Zinio’s digital magazines more or less demand a tablet screen to be readable, it’s no surprise the app works great on tablets. The widescreen screen format used for most Android tablets is a bit of a pain when using Zinio in portrait mode to get one page on the screen at a time, but that’s hardly the app’s fault.
BeyondPod is a podcatcher, an app designed to give you everything you need to keep up with podcasts. The tablet version uses every bit of screen real estate there is, perhaps too much so for some, but I love it. Even though I have a 7-inch tablet which has only about half the physical screen real-estate as a 10.1-inch tablet, I still prefer this kind of interface over the single view type app that most phone apps are built around. Perhaps more so than any of the other apps on this list, BeyondPod shows you why tablets are not just large phones.
Plume is a Twitter app I got because I didn’t like the official one, and like many third party Twitter clients, it uses a tablet’s screen real estate quite well. Since twitter is just text, and not much of it at a time, it gives you the ability to split the screen into multiple panes and basically get multiple phone app views in one.
When WordPress decided to give Android the preferential treatment as far as updates go, I think a lot of iOS users finally realized what it’s like to be on the “when we get to it” list that it seems most developers have. The Android WordPress app is great, with a UI that looks good and is easy to use. I tend to use it to keep up with comments rather than to actually publish anything, as I think that aspect of it still needs work, but for that use I simply love how it looks and works.