The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s first multimedia tablet, which hit stores on November 16th, 2011. We gave the tablet a full review here, noting that if you like Android, love your Amazon account and don’t want to shell out $500 for an iPad 2, the Amazon Kindle Fire would be a great tablet for you. While reviews have been just short of stellar, the tablet’s appealing price point of $199 will make it a hot item for holiday shoppers.
Through the Amazon Store, Kindle Fire users have access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines and games, all with free storage in the Amazon Cloud. Since you’ll likely be playing with your new tablet more than actually using it as an e-reader tablet, we’ve rounded up a slew of apps to try out that have been approved by Amazon for quality and reliability on its new Kindle Fire, which runs on a customized Android OS.
“We started talking to app developers everywhere the day we introduced Kindle Fire, and the response has been overwhelming,” Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “In addition to over 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, and magazines from Amazon, we are excited to offer customers thousands of apps and games to choose from on the Kindle Fire – from Pandora and Rhapsody to Facebook and Twitter to Netflix, as well as popular games from EA, Zynga and many other top game developers. And this is only the beginning – we’re adding more apps and games every day across all categories.”
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While you can always use the Kindle Fire just to play Angry Birds, we’ve rounded up 9 more great apps that you’re sure to enjoy.
1. Pulse (Free)
The Pulse app curates your favorite websites into a colorful mosaic. Just tap on an article, and you will see a clean and elegant view of the story. Pulse has had a banner year with 7 million total subscribers and 250 publishing partners. It is also the only app that comes pre-loaded on the Amazon Kindle Fire and expects to reach 10 million users by the holiday season.
2. Dictionary (Free)
If you’re a total word nerd, Dictionary is a nice app that works even when you’re offline. Not only does the app give you the meaning of word, but it doubles as a Thesaurus. When you’re connected to the Internet you can enjoy the Word of the Day and access voice search. Feeling fancy? Change the app’s background image in settings. (N.B. The Kindle Fire comes powered with a dictionary for easy lookup while you’re reading just like the standard e-reading Kindles before it).
3. Plants vs. Zombies ($1.49)
Credit to Twilio’s Rob Spectre for turning me on to the game Plants vs. Zombies, one of the top-selling products from PopCap Games. I’ve never been much of a gamer; I think Angry Birds is meh. But when it comes to battling off a mob of zombies with an arsenal of 49 zombie-zapping plants, I’m hooked. The game requires you to use peashooters, wall-nuts, cherry bombs, and more to slow down, confuse, weaken and mulchify 26 types of zombies before they reach your front door.
“We’re excited to be bringing our massively popular games to Kindle Fire,” said Andrew Stein, Director of Mobile Product Management at PopCap Games. “Kindle Fire is a great gaming device, and consumers will love the touch-screen optimized adaptations of top titles such as Plants vs. Zombies.”
4. Drawing Pad ($.99)
The Drawing Pad app by Darren Murtha Design was recently optimized for the Kindle Fire. It’s the #4 app on the Nook App store and #50 (out of 140,000) on the iPad. Essentially, the app turns your Kindle Fire into a mobile art studio. Have fun with crayons, markers, paint brushes, colored pencils, stickers and roller pens. You can save your artwork to your album and reload it later to keep working on it. You can also share your artwork via email, Twitter or Facebook.
5. Fruit Ninja ($.99)
My roommate once fell off a treadmill while playing Fruit Ninja on her iPad. True story. And the fruit slicing game is just as addicting and fun on the Kindle Fire. Just watch out for the bombs.
6. Wikidroid (Free)
Use this app to view all of Wikipedia’s entries in all Wikipedia languages. The app features text copying from articles, full-screen mode, quick language swap button and unobtrusive advertising. N.B. you’ll need an Internet connection to access the app.
7. Evernote (Free)
If you’re an Evernote user, you have to download it on the Kindle Fire! I just fell a little bit more in love. Anyone with a less than perfect memory who uses a computer, smartphone or tablet can appreciate Evernote. Check out our feature story on The Future of Evernote.
8. Songza HD (Free)
Songza is a sweet music app that’s even easier to use than Pandora. The app comes loaded with playlists for everything from lifting weights to barbequing to curing road rage to hosting a cocktail party and it’s outrageously easy to use. Songza announced a new Facebook integration at the recent f8 conference, and logging into the ‘Songza for Kindle’ app via your Facebook account will enable you to see and share the music you and your friends are listening to.
9. Netflix (Free)
If you have a Netflix account, definitely download this free app, which lets you browse and instantly watch unlimited TV shows and movies. Fell asleep while watching a film? You can resume watching where you left off on your TV or computer. I highly recommend the television show Breaking Bad.
“We’re excited to team up with Amazon to give what we think will be a huge community of Kindle Fire owners the opportunity experience all that Netflix has to offer,” said Bill Holmes, Vice President of Business Development at Netflix. “We’re certain that our members will have a great viewing experience on Kindle Fire.”