Finally received that brand new Kindle Fire or Fire HD for Christmas this year? If Santa brought you one of Amazon’s popular tablet devices this holiday season, you might now be wondering “What’s next?”
At around 50,000 apps, the Amazon AppStore doesn’t have nearly as many apps as what you’ll find with Apple or with Google’s Play Store. That said, 50,000 is nothing to sneeze at.
Whether you are looking for general entertainment, productivity or gaming– you’ll find there are many decent apps out there for your new tablet. While it is never a bad idea to just jump and explore for yourself, we’ll do our best to at least recommend a few reasonably popular Kindle apps.
Probably considered the “de facto” standard for Android Office Suites. Not everyone loves Documents to Go, but it works well enough at what it claims to do. For free, it provides a reasonably decent way to view your documents, excel files and more.
With the purchase of the “full version” you also get the ability to edit. Again, this is a no frills solution. If you don’t plan on doing much ‘hardcore’ writing or office productivity, this will probably be good enough.
Considering the Fire and Fire HD are more consumption devices than anything, this will probably be the case.
I personally use this software for my Acer Iconia Tab. This is an excellent suite with a decent amount of features. On the downside? It is also very expensive at $14.99 through the Amazon AppStore. Besides content creation for word docs and excel files, you’ll also find easy PDF and PowerPoint viewing.
There is also a feature with OfficeSuite that allows you to convert text documents over to PDF files. Interestingly enough, OfficeSuite also offers Google Docs integration for accessing your Docs files and editing them in OfficeSuite.
If you think you will ever need to do true productivity work on your tablet, this is probably a better solution than Documents to Go for most users.
If you are looking for a flexible yet full-featured photo editor, PicShop is probably one of the best you’ll find for the Kindle Fire and Fire HD. The software supports HD images and allows editing of brightness, blur, color saturation, and gives you control over things like RedEye and the ability to crop, rotate and flip images.
Beyond that, you can add speech bubbles, enter into a Sketch Mode with different brushes and much more. There are also social integration options with Facebook, email and Twitter.
To get the most out of PicShop, you’ll want the full version for $2.50. If you are looking for a more basic photo editing experience, there is also a Lite variant that is completely free through the Amazon AppStore.
Let’s face it, with no microSD expansion, there might come a time when you want more file space. This is especially important if you want an easy way to transfer those files to your tablet without syncing it to your computer.
There are pretty much two major choices to consider here: DropBox or Box. Honestly, both are quite similar. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail here, but I will say that I use DropBox for my own needs.
Both services have a wide support for different devices, though only DropBox has Linux support. Both cloud services work with most mobile platforms. To my knowledge, Box is the only one that also supports Windows Phone devices if you happen to have one, though.
In today’s age, few of us are actively subscribing to print magazines and newspapers, instead opting to get our news the digital way. Listing a bunch of major news publications is pointless here because it will likely come down to taste.
That said, if you want good socially-driven news that is constantly updated with new information and presented with a convenient and friendly layout, you should check out FlipBoard. The magazine-style app looks great on your tablet and has easy social sharing tools that work with Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for an RSS reader for your news and information needs instead? The free EasyRSS app is probably one of your best bets. The UI is simple and works great, and the app itself is highly rated as one of the best you’ll find for Kindle Fire devices.
While there are several different messenger programs for Kindle Fire users, I’ve found that imo Messenger is one of the best and works great with the Kindle Fire. There is a wide range of support for services here as well: Facebook Chat, Skype, ICQ/AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Steam, Jabber and more.
Another highly recommended messaging app would be the official Skype app, which is highly polished and great for your voice/vid calling needs for Android devices including the Kindle Fire line.
Weather apps are probably one of the most commonly downloaded apps for any type of mobile device. For the Kindle Fire line, one of the best out there is AccuWeather for Android. With radar overlays on Google Maps, severe weather notices, and hour-by-hour forecasts– you are covered with this app. There is also a platinium version on sale right now for $.99.
Games are pretty much one of the top reasons families buy tablets. Pointing out the ‘best’ games for the Kindle Fire tablet line is pretty difficult for a number of reasons, the biggest being that everyone has different tastes when it comes to games.
That said, here are a few from different genres that we highly recommend:
Where’s My Water: This physics-based game is all about trying to direct streams of water into an alligator’s shower. Sounds odd, but it is very fun, and equally addictive. Whether you have young ones around or not, this Disney game is quite worth the play.
Minecraft Pocket Edition: Minecraft has become a cult classic in the gaming world, and the Pocket Edition is no different. The Fire version of the game is just like the regular, allowing you to build a functioning world out of nothing but blocks. The game is on the expensive side for a Kindle Fire game at $6.99 but is worth it if you are into the series at all.
Diner Dash: This is a time-management game, which basically puts you in charge of a restaurant. You control the owner/server as she fetches order tickets, delivers food, clears tables and more. Essentially this game is simulating work, which might not sound fun but somehow is nonetheless.
Angry Birds Star Wars: There are many great Angry Birds games out there, and this is the latest one. Combining the best of Angry Birds with concepts from Star Wars, this game looks beautiful and is very addictive and fun to play as well.
There are tons of Android music players out there. Some are simple and let you just play songs you’ve uploaded to your tablets, others are about streaming. This list is getting massive enough so we’ll recommend just two if you’ve just picked up that Kindle Fire for the first time and aren’t sure what to download.
Spotify: While this requires a subscription to make the most of it, it is probably worth it if you really love listening to music. This streaming service has a massive library of songs available for play on demand.
Pandora: Pandora is all about adding songs and genre types you like, and letting it generate a list of similar sounding tunes. This is a great app if you are looking to discover new songs you’ve never heard of before.
Amazon has some very good services of its own here, especially if you are a Prime owner. That said, you will also want to pick up the standard video apps like Hulu Plus and Netflix, though both do require monthly fees.
There are many, many more great apps out there but you should at least have a rough idea now of a few good apps to help you get started. After checking some of these out, it never hurts to keep exploring and finding others that suite your needs.
Did we miss an app that you feel is one of the best that the Kindle has to offer? Let us know about the app in the comments!