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For Seniors: Tablet Buying Decisions: Which Apps?

A tablet's operating system controls which applications can run on the tablet, because those apps must be compatible with the operating system your tablet uses. So if you choose an Android tablet, you must select Android-compatible apps to run on it.

Today the world of apps has exploded as third parties build apps to fit certain mobile phone and tablet operating systems. iPad, for example, has the largest selection of apps. Android’s choices are fewer as of this writing but growing. Other operating systems, such as BlackBerry and Windows, are playing catch-up.

So what kind of software should you choose for your tablet? The answer lies in what you want it to do, and how much you are willing to pay. Traditional software such as Microsoft Excel that runs on a desktop, laptop, or netbook costs around hundred dollars, but provides a wealth of functionality.

Apps for tablets are a bit different. You don’t often pay much for them — perhaps 99 cents to $14.99 or so, and some apps are even free —and each app provides a small bit of functionality. For example, following the Excel example, you might find an Office-compatible app for your tablet, or simply build a set of apps that fits your needs. For example, one app might provide a calculator for doing sums, another app might allow you to create charts, and still another would allow you to store and sort data.

Since tablets were designed mostly for digesting media, tablet apps often provide fun features such as games, apps for reading ebooks and ezines (electronic magazines), virtual musical instruments, or drawing programs.

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Some fun apps to try include Virtuoso, a virtual piano app, and Angry Birds, a highly addictive game that is fun to play.

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