Congrats to all the new thousands of buyers of HP's TouchPad. So you have a new toy for $99 plus sales tax. The big question now is: what do you do with it?
It's got a nice, big screen, and its touch operating system works just fine. But the TouchPad flopped after just seven weeks on the market because unlike Apple's iPad, there aren't nearly as many good apps to run on the TouchPad.
One journalist went so far as calling the TouchPad's app store anemic, with just a handful of programs built for the tablet. Also, it's heavy -- weighing 1.6 pounds more than the original Apple iPad.
But since you went for the fire sale, grabbing up available TouchPads that previously sat on store shelves, you might as well make the best of it.
Once you get warmed up, you might be ready for an Apple iPad. Or, maybe you'll just find you like it, especially at the bargain price. Regardless, here are 10 top TouchPad apps to try:
1) Kindle. Amazon's e-reader program works on most all main platforms, and the TouchPad is no different. If you haven't tried Kindle yet, now is the time. It's an excellent program. If you already use it, make use of your new tablet, of course. Besides, Amazon is coming out with its own tablet soon, and since you are a non-iPad user, you are just the customer the company will be looking for.
2) Angry Birds. The popular puzzle video games developed by Rovio Mobile works well on the TouchPad. No more discussion required. Download and play. You can get Angry Birds HD, and it runs smoothly and nicely on the TouchPad. If you get jealous of your iPad friends with more apps, just play Angry Birds. You will feel better.
3) HP App Catalog. The HP App Catalog is sparse compared with Apple's App Store, but it's better than nothing, and in some ways all you've got. You can look at the most popular apps, read reviews, and find some gigs for your new $99 gadget.
4) Facebook. The world's largest social media network cared about being on the TouchPad. It is only the second tablet with a dedicated Facebook app. Reviews of HP's Facebook app are among the best among all apps. So start Facebook'ing now, as if you haven't already.
5) Localscope. The TouchPad is Wi-Fi, and lacks GPS like Apple's iPad 2. Thus, there aren't many location-based apps available. That's one big advantage Apple's iPad has. But don't be discouraged, there is one program, Localscope, that gives your nearby results from various search engines for restaurants, banks, cafes and other destinations. It's not great, but it's something to use -- better than nothing at all.
6) TuneIn Radio. With a slim offerings of streaming music apps for the TouchPad, the best choice among few options may be TuneIn Radio, a free app. TuneIn automatically gathers all streams from radio stations in your area, arranging them like a virtual AM/FM spectrum. You can also browse a global directory of streams by topic.
7) Weatherbug. Even a $99 TouchPad special buyer needs to go outside every now and then and play with other toys. The free WeatherBug app is one of the few weather apps designed especially for the TouchPad, so that's one reason to download it. Also, it provides traffic information, wind speed data, temperatures, and a virtual window showing you a recent picture of your current location to match up with the weather facts of the moment.
8) Time Magazine. The TIME app gives the ability to purchase each week's digital issue. The app also features live updates from TIME. Each week's digital issue includes the print edition currently on newsstands as well as additional content, including extra photos and videos.
9) Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for HP TouchPad. You can't play Angry Birds all day. Well, some have proven that theory wrong. But it's probably not advised. This game let's you choose from 20 super-charged cars in 20 different events for tablet-style racing that's said to play well on the TouchPad. The game comes with HD-quality graphics.
10) HP MovieStore. Powered by RoxioNow, this app let's you order movies and shows from your TouchPad and watch multiple times on your tablet or PC without paying again. The TouchPad is arguably at its best when playing movies, from a tablet standpoint, so give it a try. You won't have regrets -- unless you find you regret spending $99 for the tablet.