Android Tablet Apps: The News and Weather Winners
Tablets are the perfect tools for keeping up with news--but to get the best possible experience, you need to have the best available applications. And with all of the Android tablet apps that exist, finding the highest-quality creations can take an awful lot of searching. Not to worry, though: We've done the hard work for you. These 10 apps are the cream of the crop when it comes to viewing news and weather content on Android tablets. And all of them are free to use. So what are you waiting for? Read on, and get ready to stay informed in style.
When it comes to straightforward RSS reading on a tablet, Google's free Google Reader app is tough to beat. The app is fast, clean, and fully tablet-optimized: You can browse through feeds and stories on the left side of the screen while simultaneously scrolling through content on the right; and you can scroll through stories on your home screen by using the included interactive widget. As you'd expect with an official Google product, the Google Reader app offers instant, seamless integration with your Web-based Google Reader, so there's no need for setup or manual synchronization.
The excellent (and free) Pulse News application offers an interesting alternative take on RSS reading for Android tablets. Pulse News provides a visual, icon-driven interface for keeping up with your favorite websites. After setting up rows of news and information sources, you simply scroll left or right to browse through the latest stories from any site, or scroll up or down to look through different sites' content. You can read stories within the app itself via a right-side column that appears as needed. Pulse lets you choose from an array of popular sites to get your reading started; it can also pull feeds directly from your Google Reader subscriptions.
Google's Google Currents app aims to bring magazine-quality visuals into the digital domain. Currents formats Web-based stories to make them visually pleasing on tablets of any size, with large images and clear, well-spaced text. Google has worked with numerous publications to make full stories available through the Currents app; you can subscribe to any of those publications or import your own feeds from your Google Reader account. Currents also has a "trending" section where you can view recent stories, images, and videos in a slew of different categories. The app supports offline reading, too, and it automatically syncs your content across all of your mobile devices. Currents is free.
News360 for Tablets
If you want to keep up with news but don't want to follow any specific sites, News360 for Tablets may be just the thing for you. News360 resembles Google News, except that it's optimized for tablets: It keeps tabs on the latest hot topics in various categories, and it brings you clusters of stories from numerous sources. You can view general "top stories" or browse by category. When you find a story you like, you can read it within the app, where it will be surrounded by scrollable images and information from other sources. News360 can even connect to your social media accounts to learn what kinds of stories interest you and to customize its news offerings to your tastes. The app is free.
AccuWeather for Honeycomb
AccuWeather's AccuWeather for Honeycomb is a gorgeous Android tablet app that's built to take advantage of your device's large screen. Available for free in the Android Market, the app provides all of the weather info you need in an easy-to-navigate interface with eye-grabbing graphics. You can get the latest word on your area's conditions, scroll through hourly forecasts for the next 24 hours, or flip through weather predictions for the next 15 days, tapping on any day for detailed information. AccuWeather has a slew of other features, too, including live radar and satellite images, forecast videos, and weather news. The app also includes a home-screen widget that supports flipstyle viewing of forecasts for multiple cities.
WeatherBug for Honeycomb
For a comparatively minimalist but equally pleasing approach to tablet-based weather, try the free WeatherBug for Honeycomb app. It presents you with panels showing current conditions and long-term forecasts for any number of cities; tapping a panel causes it to flip over to reveal detailed information about the area's temperature, wind, humidity, and precipitation levels. WeatherBug uses simple, two-dimensional graphics that some people will prefer to AccuWeather's more photo-intensive look. The app features a home-screen widget that offers support for flip-style viewing of multiple cities.
CNN App for Android Tablet
One of the original tablet-optimized apps for Android, the CNN App for Android Tablet continues to set the bar for big-screen news programming. CNN's free tablet app fills your tablet's display with thumbnails of current stories and video reports from the service's international news network. You can view stories chronologically or by category, and you can view user-submitted "iReports" and even file your own photo or video to be featured. When you view a story, you'll see related images, videos, and comments alongside the text. CNN's tablet app includes an excellent widget with flipbook-like icons of news stories from any category you choose.
USA Today for Tablet
Another Android tablet original, USA Today for Tablet is a must-have for any news junkie who appreciates the USA Today approach to journalism. This free app incorprorates a refreshingly light and crisp design that makes great use of the tablet's screen space, with categories and scrollable story lists on the left and full-length stories on the right. It has a Gmail-esque scrollable home-screen widget, too.
CNBC Real-Time for Android
The CNBC Real-Time for Android app makes tablet-based stock management a snap. Available free in the Android Market, the app has everything you could desire for tracking your finances, including real-time stock quotes, a live CNBC stock ticker, and all of the latest financial news. You can search for information on specific stocks, too, and set up your own custom ticker to keep tabs on companies in your portfolio. CNBC's Android tablet app also includes breaking news alerts and video clips from CNBC's television network. Combine all of those features with an attractive, easy-to-use graphical interface, and you have an app that looks and works like a million bucks.
Some magazines have their own tablet-optimized apps for subscribers. For all of the others, there's Zinio. This free Android app gives you tablet-optimized access to numerous print magazines, ranging from Billboard to PCWorld (of course). You can browse through tons of free articles or buy complete issues of any title. (In addition to the always-free articles, Zinio provides a limited number of free full-issue downloads to start.) It's like having your own personal periodical rack in the palm of your hand--and you don't even have to worry about paper cuts.