So, you have a new Android tablet, and you're anxious to download a bunch of cool apps. Naturally, you go to the Google Play Store and start searching, but there are thousands of applications, and you have no idea which ones are best suited for tablets. What do you do?
Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect solution. Outside of scouring through ever app in the Play Store, you're best bet is to take a look at these tips and tools that will make the process far easier.
Here are some helpful tips for finding tablet-specific apps.
If you don't want to install an app to help with your search, you can always refine your searches. Of course, the Google Play Store doesn't have an advanced search feature built-in, so you have to refine your search string. I have found two particular searches helpful when trying to locate tablet-specific apps:
- HD: Adding the string "hd" (no quotes) to your search will result in tablet applications. The caveat to this string is that it will only report back applications with "HD" in the title. The "HD" means High Definition, and so these apps are optimized for the screen size and resolution of tablets.
- Tablet Apps: This is another search string I'll use when I want to expand my search a bit. This isn't as refined as using the "HD" string, but it will include those tablet apps that do not have "HD" in the title.
- For Tablets: If you go to the Google Play Store, you should notice a "For Tablets" tab that lists the Staff Picks for tablet apps.
Apps to aid in searching
There are applications that were created specifically to help you search for tablet-optimized applications. The following two applications do a fairly good job.
The Tablet Market app has a fairly simple interface. The only differences between the free version and the paid version are that the free version includes advertisements and the paid version ($1.49 USD) claims to enjoy faster search results and unlimited updates.Once it's installed, this app is quick and easy to use. Open the tool, and from the main window (Figure A), tap on the icon that will best refine your search. Figure A
Tablet Market as seen on the Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.
From the main window, you can refine a search into the following categories:
- Recently Added: New tablet-optimized apps
- Tablet Tools: These are apps that can be considered "tools," such as Wi-Fi tools, text editors, password managers, etc
- Tablet Games: Games optimized for tablets
- Tablet Entertainment: Multimedia-centric apps
- Tablet News and Weather: Various news and weather apps
- Tablet social and communication: Social networking, Skype, email, etc
- Tablet wallpapers: Wallpapers (live and static) optimized for tablets
- Tablet widgets: Android widgets optimized for tablets
There is also an easy-to-use (and basic) search tool. Enter your search string, click Search, and the results will appear in the Google Play Store.
There are no settings for Tablet Market — it's just straight-forward searching goodness. When you tap on an app entry, the Google Play Store will open to the app you've found within Tablet Market, ready for installation.
- No ads
- Faster load times (than previous versions)
- Sort each category by free or paid apps
- Increase font size
- Favorite an app/game for later installation
- One-click shortcut to the Google Play Store (just tap the app price)
- Advanced search filtering by: Free & Paid, Rating, and App or Game
This is as close to the Google Play Store for Tablets Only as you'll get.What I really like about this app is that when you go into a category, the listing (Figure C) makes it quite easy to find the apps you're searching for. Figure C
Recently added listings show quick descriptions and prices of apps.
Between the two apps, I prefer Tablified Market HD. Not only does it enjoy a stronger, more appealing interface, but I find the search tool and inclusion of a filtering system gives this application a huge advantage over Tablet Market.
No matter which route you take, these apps will help you pick through the multitude of apps on the Google Play Store. By filtering out all the smartphone-centric apps, you won't have such a hard time finding apps for your tablet. How do you search for tablet-specific applications? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.