Apps to Get You Started With the Kindle Fire
If you're the proud owner of a new Amazon Kindle Fire, your purchase decision might have been influenced by the tablet's superior app selection over its rival, the Nook Tablet. As any tablet owner knows, perusing an app store for good finds is half the fun. But it's also okay to cheat a bit by looking through lists of the best apps around.
Here are 14 of the best Kindle Fire apps to get you started.
Pulse is the go-to app for finding and reading news stories on smartphones and tablets. Pick your sources from Pulse's comprehensive list, and they'll appear laid out in rows of thumbnails and headlines. The app also cleans up story pages by removing ads and other distractions. It's a free download, and if you create a Pulse.me account, you can sync your sources across multiple devices.
Fancy note-taking apps such as Evernote are great for syncing your data with other devices and adding multimedia, but sometimes you just need a simple way to put words on the screen. AK Notepad is a free app for jotting down notes. It also allows you to set reminders and share your documents through email and other sources.
Read It Later Pro
Go to the Read It Later website. Click on the link for the browser you're using now, and follow the instructions to install a special bookmark. Then, the next time you find a long Internet article that you don't have time to get into (but that you'd like to read at some other time), click that bookmark. The article will be waiting for you in the Read It Later app on your Kindle Fire. Perfect. The Pro version costs $3.
Atari's Greatest Hits
Scratch your retro-gaming itch with Atari's Greatest Hits, a compilation of classic arcade games and Atari 2600 titles. Missile Command is included for free, and additional games are available in bundles for $1 each; or, you can buy all 99 games for $10.
Cut the Rope
Angry Birds gets all the attention, but I like Cut the Rope for its more cerebral approach to physics-based puzzle gaming. The goal is to feed candy to a cute froglike creature named Om Nom by making strategic slices into a network of ropes and pulleys. Easy at first, Cut the Rope constantly presents new surprises to shake up the formula. And it costs only $1.
Plants vs. Zombies
PopCap's take on "tower defense" gaming has a wacky premise: You control an army of killer plants trying to stop a horde of menacing (but strangely endearing) zombies. Behind the cartoon graphics lies a complex game of strategy that'll suck you in. Plants vs. Zombies costs $3.
Phones and tablets haven't been around long, but Doodle Jump is already a classic mobile game. The Kindle Fire's 7-inch screen is perfect for maintaining precise control as you guide the Doodle's ascent. The price is $1, same as always.
Enjoy Sudoku Daily
What better way to get your sudoku fix than on a tablet, without the mess of pencils or pens? Enjoy Sudoku Daily provides fresh puzzles every day at 16 difficulty levels. It also has tutorials, hints, and a "pencil" simulator for when you're not quite ready to commit to a number. The Daily version is free, and the ad-free version costs $3.
The Kindle Fire has plenty of options for watching movies, but sometimes you just have to get out of the house. Before you go, check the Fandango app for local movie listings, times, and trailers. You can also buy movie tickets directly from the app. It's free.
Alarm Clock Xtreme
For $2 (on sale right now for $1), Alarm Clock Xtreme will wake you up right. You can set alarms with music, set gradual volume fade-ins for a less jarring effect, adjust the size of the snooze buttons, require simple math problems to stop the alarm, and more.
Wi-Fi File Explorer Pro
For $1, Wi-Fi File Explorer Pro can transfer files wirelessly to and from a computer, saving you the hassle of plugging in via USB. Just start a sharing session on the tablet app, and you'll get a Web address to enter on your computer's browser.
For those times when the Kindle Fire's native Wi-Fi utility doesn't cut it, Wifi Analyzer provides extra information to help you get the best signal. This free app can analyze which wireless channel has the least interference, and it can show signal strengths over time for all nearby access points.
Imo is an all-in-one chat app that supports AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, and Windows Live Messenger, among other services. It supports group chat and lets you share multimedia--and it doesn't cost a penny.
Rhapsody or Rdio
With only 6GB of usable storage on the Kindle Fire, you might consider turning to a subscription music service such as Rhapsody or Rdio, both of which stream millions of songs to your mobile devices for $10 per month. These services are different from Pandora because you can choose the song or album you want to hear.