Top Nexus 7 Apps & Widgets

The Nexus 7 has quickly become my go to tablet, and a big part of that is the great Nexus 7 apps that are finally available.

While not every Android tablet app or phone app is compatible with the Nexus 7, most of my favorite apps work on the Nexus 7.

The easiest way to share my favorite Nexus 7 apps is to share my Nexus 7 home screen with apps, widgets and folders.

This is my current Nexus 7 setup. While the apps will change from time to time these are the best Nexus 7 apps I could find.

Nexus 7 Home Screen

I moved the Google Play widget with purchased content to a different home screen so that my main home screen contains the apps and widgets I use most often. Because it is my main home screen I can press the home button from any other screen to return to it, just like the iPad.

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Nexus 7 HomeScreen 1

My Nexus 7 home screen with my favorite apps and widgets.

The Nexus 7 home screen is where I keep most of the apps I use. Thanks to the ability to create folders one screen holds 90%of the apps I use.

The dock at the bottom of the device is where I keep the most used apps, so let’s start with those.

Google Apps

The Google Apps folder contains all the official Google Apps. I don’t need to keep Gmail within one tap because I can use it from a widget on my second home screen or from the notification bar.

Nexus 7 Apps - Google Apps

The Google apps experience is a major plus for the Nexus 7.

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Chrome – Chrome is the default browser in Jelly Bean, and it’s the best mobile browser I’ve used so far. In addition to tabs that work just right, I can open up the tabs from any Chrome session on my Mac Mini, iPad or MacBook Air.

Maps – Google Maps works great on the Nexus 7 thanks to built in GPS and the ability to download a region of maps for use offline. Google Now integrates to help plan trips according to traffic.

Google+ – I don’t use Google+ as often sa Twitter, but it is quickly becoming a go to place to share tech stories and catch up on what’s happening with friends and other tech writers.

Gmail – I keep the Gmail app here even though I can access it many different ways. Why? Because it makes sense to me. I still pick up my Nexus 7 to check and respond to emails before any other device — including my computer.

YouTube – I use the YouTube app to follow tech channels so I can catch up on tech news, new ads and product announcements. I like that I can quickly copy the URL of a video to share with our team.

Google Talk – Because Yammer isn’t available on the Nexus 7 I rely on Google Talk to keep in touch with coworkers. It connects to chat in Google and works with multiple accounts.

People – The contacts app for the Nexus 7 offers quick access to contacts with shortcuts to start a conversation and send a message with Google Voice and other apps.

Calendar – The calendar view on the Nexus 7 is great. I can see this week and still view the month overall and my various calendars to the side.

Voice Google Voice lets me send text messages from the Nexus 7. The messages show up as coming from my Google Voice number which means replies go to all my phones as well.

Analytics – The Google Analytics Android app is a great tool for checking who is visiting GottaBeMobile. While it isn’t as full featured as the website it is perfect for tracking important stats on the run.

Dock Apps

Nexus 7 dock apps

Apps on the nexus 7 dock.

Zite – I love the Zite app for finding news that matters to me. After setting up a few topics, Zite learns what I read and starts tailoring content similar to the way Pandora finds music you like. I’m waiting for a tablet optimized version, but this one works.

Plume – Plume, and the Plume Widget, give fast access to Twitter. I’m still not sold on any of the Android tablet Twitter apps, but Plume is the best I have found. It offers a multi list view in landscape mode and a single list in portrait. Sadly no swiping between lists in portrait.

Google Play – I am in the Play Store at least once a day looking for new apps, and have already used most of the $25 Nexus 7 app credit picking up games and other apps for the tablet.

Entertainment Apps

Nexus 7 Apps - Entertainment

Popular apps work out of the box.

I’m still waiting for HBO Go to release a Jelly Bean compatible app, but most of my favorite entertainment apps work on the Nexus 7.

Hulu Plus – I use my Hulu Plus membership to keep on top of several TV shows including The Daily Show and Bones.

Netflix – Netflix isn’t my go to place for movies, but I am working my way through Doctor Who and several other TV seasons.

Watch ESPN – With my Time Warner subscription I can watch several channels of ESPN anywhere I have an internet connection. This is an awesome way to catch up on sports. Video isn’t incredibly sharp, but it’s a start.

Play Movies & TV – I’m starting to rent more movies on all my tablets as it gets harder to use Netflix and other subscription services to watch movies released in the last few years.

Music Apps

Nexus 7 Apps - Music

Rhapsody takes my music with me.

Because the Nexus 7 has no 3G or 4G LTE connection It important to have at least one music app that will work on the go without an internet connection.

Pandora – Pandora is my preferred music listening app at home. I’ve used it long enough that the stations are just right and I have a Pandora One subscription so there are no ads.

Rhapsody – Rhapsody is my go to app for music on the go. I can listen to specific albums right when they are released and download music to playback offline. I use it on Nexus 7, my iPhone and my iPad. Sadly there is a 3 device limit.

Stitcher – Stitcher is a new addition I am testing out to catch up on radio broadcasts.

Play Music – All of the tunes I uploaded to Google Music are available in the Play Music app.

Strategy Games

Nexus 7 Apps - Strategy

Strategy games on the Nexus 7.

There’s no shortage of strategy games, and I still need to purchase a few highly recommended games, but this is my current go to list of games where some strategy is needed.

Anomaly Warzone Earth HD – Anomaly HD is a reverse tower defense game that offers one of the most addictive gaming experiences on Android. Instead of building to keep the enemy from approaching, you get to destroy the towers!

Canabalt HD – While not strictly a strategy game, Canabalt HD is all about timing. It’s easy to spend an hour trying to jump just right as you run through an 8-bit world of destruction.

Fieldrunners HD – My favorite tower defense game for Android. Sadly I will have to wait a while for Fieldrunners 2.

World of Goo – World of Goo is part physics, part strategy as you build structures to get goo from one point to the next. frustrating and addictive.

Strikefleet Omega – This is a new strategy game that is part fighting, part Flight Control HD and all fun. I Highly recommend this game.

Osmos HD – Try to absorb the other orbs and grow to take on additional challenging levels. An awesome game that’s won many awards.

Puzzle Games

Nexus 7 Apps - Puzzles and Fun

Nexus 7 Apps – Puzzles and Fun

Puzzles and fast action games are perfect for wasting a few minutes. This group includes traditional puzzlers as well as games that are jut plain fun.

Burn the Rope – Twist and turn the Nexus 7 to force the flame to burn in the right direction, just don’t leave any rope unburnt.

Fruit Ninja – This flick and slash game is tons of fun and the larger screen on the Nexus 7 is well suited to the fast action. If you haven’t already purchased, pick up the Tegra Version.

Angry Birds – I stick to the original Angry Birds on my Nexus 7, but mainly because I’ve already played through the sequels on my iPhone and iPad.

Diner Dash 2 – There’s something oddly fun about delivering orders, clearing tables and customers on my phone, though I’m not ready to go back to serving food.

Edge and Edge EX – Find the quickest path across a level filled with drops, climbs and moving parts. This is a fun game.

Shooter Games

Nexus 7 Apps - Shooters

Nexus 7 Apps – Shooters

Shoot-em up games are tons of fun on the Nexus 7. The graphics look great and you can use an Xbox 360 controller for many games.

Dead Trigger – Dead Trigger is now free thanks to a high rate of piracy, which is a shame because this game is easily worth the 99 cents developers used to charge. Zombies, Survival, Guns. Enough said.

Max Payne – The classic Max Payne game is now on the Nexus 7, complete with creepy dream sequences and bullet time.

The Dark Knight Rises – This movie tie in game isn’t just there to make money. It’s a fun game that manages to work pretty well with touchscreen only controls.

ShadowGun THD – ShadowGun looks beautiful and the levels are fun to play through. Default controller support for the Xbox 360 and good touch screen controls make this a must have.

GTA III – I played too much GTA II when it was released on consoles, but I’m still having fun playing it on the Nexus 7.

TegraZone – TegraZone is a great place to find games that take advantage of the Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 processor to deliver great visuals.

Gears & Guts – this fun new zombie game tasks drivers with mowing down zombies on post apocalyptic streets.

Onlive – While not fully compatible the Nexus 7, I’m keeping this one installed until official support arrives.

Classic Games

Nexus 7 Apps - NES and SNES

Nexus 7 Apps – NES and SNES

Classic games like Mario aren’t in the app store, but emulators allow you to play ROMS of classic games. Now I can leve the NES cartridges at home and take Super Mario Bros. 3 with me.

Nes.emu – This app allows me to play my favorite Mario games and to pair a WiiMote with the Nexus to use as a controller. Classic gaming never had it so good on a tablet.

SNesoid – This app offers support for Super Nintendo games, and can work with a WiiMote with the right app and some luck. No longer in the app store, try Super GNES instead.

Writing Apps

Nexus 7 Apps - Writing and Notes

Nexus 7 Apps – Writing and Notes

Despite the small size i can get a lot done on the Nexus 7 thanks to the SwiftKey keyboard and the following apps.

WordPress – I use the WordPress app to edit posts from our writers after I leave my computer in the evening and also to start posts. Paired with a Nexus 7 keyboard I can even write up a longer post.

Google Drive – I do spend a decent amount of time prepping drafts with SwiftKey and Google Drive.

Evernote – My favorite app for taking notes is awesome on the Nexus 7 and doubles as a place to catch ideas or drafts and to store stories to look at later.

Storage Apps

Nexus 7 Apps - StorageThese apps make it easy to move documents between the Nexus 7 and to access data on my Nexus and a WiFi hard drive.

ES File Explorer – If you need to explore the Nexus 7 to look for downloads or other files, or to use a USB drive with the Nexus 7, this is the perfect app to have.

GoFlex Media – Storage is an issue with the Nexus 7, but with the Seagate GoFlex Satellite Wireless I have 500GB of content.

Dropbox – I keep all my screenshots and other must have on hand files in Dropbox. This app lets me access and upload to Dropbox and is more flexible than the iPhone and iPad apps.

App Stores

Nexus 7 Apps - App Stores

Nexus 7 Apps – App Stores

The Google Play Store isn’t the only place to find apps. I prefer the curated Android tablet app store and often check for free apps on Amazon.

Tablified Market HD – This is my preferred place to find new tablet ready Android apps, and possibly the best way to find Nexus 7 apps.

Amazon App Store – While I get most of my apps from the Google Play store, Amazon offers a free app of the day that’s worth checking out from time to time.

Home Screen Apps and Widgets

Nexus 7 HomeScreen apps

Frequently used apps on my Nexus 7

Beautiful Widgets – The Beautiful Widgets pack offers a number of great looking widgets to show the time and weather at a glance.

Plume Widget – The Plume widget lets me quickly see any mentions on Twitter.

Slice – Slice connects to Gmail and automatically tracks purchases and deliveries. It even sends a notification when I have a package out for delivery.

Gallery – I’m not taking photos on the Nexus 7, but I do take a lot of screenshots, so I keep this handy to send them to Dropbox.

Facebook – The Facebook app isn’t perfect, but I still keep it on the Nexus 7 to see what’s happening with friends and family.

xda – The xda app is the best way to read the forums and see what the talented developers are cooking up for my favorite Android devices. These people are responsible for putting Jelly Bean on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus. I recommend the premium version.

Nexus 7 Home Screen 2

Nexus 7 HomeScreen 2 - Widgets

My 2nd Nexus home screen is dedicated to widgets.

My second home screen is dedicated to widgets. This is the screen to the right of the main home screen.

Pandora Widget – I use the Pandora widget for quick access to playback controls.

Gmail Widget – A quick look at my Priority Inbox.

Google Voice Widget – I can see messages, quickly start a new message or respond to messages.

Weather Channel Widget – So I can see the three-day forecast without tapping on anything.

Nexus 7 Home Screen 3

Nexus 7 Home Screen 3

More widgets take up the Nexus 7 home screen to the left.

To the left of my main home screen I keep the Google Play widget to see content I have on my device. I am tempted to remove it as it seems less useful every day.

I also use the Google+ widget to keep track of the what’s trending on Google+ without opening the app.

My Google Nexus 7 setup is always changing, and I know I there are redundancies in the setup, but they exist to make it easy to get the apps and information I need no matter what I am doing.

What does your Nexus 7 setup look like?