Honeycomb tablets continue to be a hot item in everyone’s to-buy lists. The best way to take advantage of the better tech is to install apps optimized for Android 3.0 and above. We’ve covered a bunch of these apps before but we feel that the growing ecosystem of Honeycomb apps needs a second look. Here are a few more apps you can install into your device to realize its full potential.
1. Google Earth (free)
Wow your friends (and yourself) with the updated Google Earth app, made especially for Honeycomb. What’s new you ask? Well there’s the 3D view where you can zoom in with your Xoom (pun intended) and see the surroundings of certain landmarks just as if you brought out your passport, flew to the place and begrudgingly paid the entrance fee.
It also now has layers baked in so you can browse info like establishments in an area, Panoramio photos or Wikipedia places of interest. And everything is done as smoothly as the Google Earth app on your PC from the flying in to locations to the pinch to zoom functions. All in all, it’s pretty cool and makes staycations more enjoyable.
2. NVIDIA Tegra Zone (free)
Sometimes, you just want a game that plays well with your tablet. Well, Tegra Zone is NVIDIA’s answer to your plea, somewhat. All the games in this app are optimized for devices running Tegra 2, so while it does include titles that are for smartphones like the Motorola Atrix, it does have a lot of tablet-centric offerings.
All the apps are managed and downloaded through the Market so you don’t have to worry about cluttering your system. It also offers up reviews and more information than the regular Android Market page so you can make an informed decision on what game you’d like to waste your time on. Overall, it’s a good companion app for searching great games for your tablet, whether it runs Tegra or not.
3. Dolphin Browser HD (free)
Dolphin is one of the standards in Android browsing and the new Honeycomb-optimized version maintains that standard.
The new version now takes full advantage of the graphics chips of tablets through hardware acceleration. It’s always a frustration for many folks, myself included, when a tablet browser doesn’t work as smoothly as a desktop one. While it’s not perfect, it does load faster this time around so you can spend more time ogling sites versus drumming your fingers while waiting.
It also now has a few new gesture controls, lots of bug fixes as well as new UI candy. In particular, it has a nice backlit glow to some menus as well as a cleaner settings interface. It also has a lot of support in terms of add-ons so you get a powerful, PC-worthy browser on your tablet with just a few added apps. Definitely the go-to browser for Honeycomb power users.
4. NewsR (free)
Browsing RSS feeds is one area where tablets trump smartphones. The bigger screen estate is really no contest and to truly enjoy your feeds, you need a good RSS app to go along with it. NewsR is one such reader and it brings a clean interface for you to browse your Google Reader feeds on.
Like all other readers of its kind, it features easy sharing of articles to social networks. It also has all the regular Reader functions like article starring and marking as unread. If you want a reader that doesn’t distract from the content, this is certainly a good option for you.
5. Plume (free)
While there are several Twitter clients for Android, there are only a few optimized for Honeycomb. Plume is such an app, and it’s quite well-made if I should say so. It has the popular three-column format for reading tweets and supports multiple accounts, a welcome feature for avid Twitter users.
It also has all the features you would expect from a Twitter client like URL shortening, image previews and profile viewing. It even has a mute feature so you can zone out those annoying tweets. For the tweet-happy users out there, try out Plume for yourself.
6. Columnar (free)
Armed with a nice column interface, this file manager was built solely for Android 3.0 and up. It has some nice desktop-like features such as dragging and dropping files as well as renaming files. Columnar sports a nice dark UI which jives well with Honeycomb. It’s simple and straightforward, one of the essential features of any file manager.