10 Great Apps for the Nexus Tablet - dummies

10 Great Apps for the Nexus Tablet

Hundreds of thousands of apps are available at the Google Play Store — so many that it would take you more than a relaxing evening to discover them all. Rather than list every single app, here are some exceptional apps that show the diversity of the Google Play Store but also how well the Nexus 7 can run Android apps.

Every app listed in this article is free.

AK Notepad

One program that the Nexus 7 is missing out of the box is a notepad. A good choice for an app to fill the void is AK Notepad: You can type or dictate short messages and memos.

For example, before a visit to the hardware store, you can dictate a list of items you need by using AK Notepad. You can also keep important items as notes — things that you often forget or don’t care to remember, such as frequent flyer numbers, cartridges for your laser printer, and other important info that you might need handy but not cluttering your brain.

ASTRO File Manager

Another program the Nexus 7 is missing is a file manager. True, not everyone is a total nerd and wants a file manager. But for many things you do on the tablet, it’s handy to be able to peel back the operating system’s veneer and get into its ugly, file-folder guts. ASTRO File Manager is the perfect tool.

As a bonus, ASTRO can also be used to access files on your Wi-Fi network. It takes some configuration, which isn’t the easiest thing, but after it’s set up, you can use the app to access your computer over your Wi-Fi network.

Google Finance

The Google Finance app is an excellent market-tracking tool for folks who are obsessed with the stock market or who want to keep an eye on their portfolios. The app offers an overview of the market and updates to your stocks as well as links to financial news.

To get the most from this app, configure Google Finance on the web, using your computer. You can create lists of stocks to watch, which are then instantly synchronized with your Nexus 7.

As with other Google services, Google Finance is provided to you for free, as part of your Google account.

Google Gesture Search

The Gesture Search app provides a new way to find information on your tablet. Rather than use a keyboard or dictate, you simply draw on the touchscreen the first letter of whatever you’re searching for.

Start the Gesture Search app to begin a search. Use your finger to draw a big letter on the screen. After you draw a letter, search results appear. You can continue drawing more letters to refine the search or touch a search result.

Gesture Search can find contacts, music, apps, and bookmarks in the Chrome app.


The Movies app, available from the Play Store, is the Nexus 7’s gateway to Hollywood. It lists currently running films and films that are opening, and it has links to your local theaters with show times and other information. The app is also tied into the popular Rotten Tomatoes website for reviews and feedback. If you enjoy going to the movies, you’ll find the Movies app a valuable addition to your Nexus 7’s app library.

Sky Map

Ever look up into the night sky and ask, “What the heck is that?” Unless it’s a bird, an airplane, a satellite, or a UFO, the Sky Map can help you find what it is. You may discover that a particularly bright star in the sky is, in fact, the planet Jupiter.

The Sky Map app is elegant. It basically turns the Nexus 7 into a window you can look through to identify things in the night sky. Just start the app and hold the Nexus 7 up to the sky. Pan the tablet to identify planets, stars, and constellations.


For the sports nut who must have the latest scores, news, and schedules, SportsTap is one of the very best apps for that.

TuneIn Radio

The Nexus 7 can serve as a little radio with the TuneIn Radio app. Find your favorite Internet radio station, and then sit back and work.

While TuneIn Radio is playing, you can do other things with your tablet, such as check Facebook or answer an e-mail. You can return to the TuneIn Radio app by choosing its notification icon. Or just keep it going and enjoy the tunes.

Voice Recorder

The Nexus 7 can record your voice or other sounds, and the Voice Recorder is a good app for performing this task. It has an elegant and simple interface: Touch the big Record button to start recording. Make a note for yourself or record a friend doing his Daffy Duck impression.

Previous recordings are stored in a list on the Voice Recorder’s main screen. Each recording is shown with its title, the date and time of the recording, and the recording duration.

Many Voice Recorder apps are available. Check out the one from Mamoru Tokashiki.


The Zedge program is a helpful resource for finding wallpapers and ringtones — millions of them. It’s a sharing app, so you can access wallpapers and ringtones created by other Android users as well as share your own. If you’re looking for a specific sound or something special for your Home screen wallpaper, Zedge is the best place to start your search.