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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.

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.

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?



  1. Hunter

    08/02/2012 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the great app suggestions for my new Nexus 7, Josh. Since getting the Nexus 7 I rushed to download my favorite app called DISH Remote Access. Working for DISH I travel A LOT and it is nice to be able to bring all of my live channels and DVR recordings with me anywhere I am needed. Of course man cannot live on TV alone so I think I will be checking out some of your suggestions. I will be adding Pandora Radio shortly and Max Payne later today as I have enjoyed versions of those in the past. Finally, I do need a note app for class so I think I will be giving Evernote a shot too.

  2. Chris

    08/03/2012 at 3:00 am

    Have you tried to use Google voice actions to send a text message using Google Voice? For some reason it says that the Nexus 7 can not perform this action. It works on my cell phone. Anyone else run into that?

    • Dude

      08/03/2012 at 3:33 am

      Erm … the Nexus 7 isn’t a phone, therefore cannont send SMS messages

      • Chris

        08/03/2012 at 3:35 am

        But the data works just fine and Google voice only uses data. Seems like it should he able to work over wifi with gv.

        • Patrick

          08/03/2012 at 7:00 am

          the Nexus 7 doesnt have a built in SMS client… I downloaded tablet talk and have it on my nexus 7 and my galaxy S2 LTE, and I can send an SMS message just fine using Google Voice from my Nexus.

      • Johnnyhookup2000

        08/03/2012 at 5:18 pm

        Get text plus app let’s you send sms

      • Thomas

        09/24/2012 at 1:32 am

        Yes u can make n 7 a phone there are apps to do it in play store. You use a Google number. Not sure Bout voice text but I don’t see why it would not be possible if not now at least in the near future.

        • kwlasvegas

          03/17/2013 at 12:09 pm

          TALKATONE is a great one, it works with a gmail account, and I send texts from it. It even gave me a local phone # and my sister calls me for free with any wifi connection. You can send and receive sms and it comes up as a conversation in your gmail inbox. You can forward it to your cell, so if you dont answer your tablet, it rings your cell. AMAZING! also free :)

    • rdawes26

      08/07/2012 at 7:21 pm

      Works fine for me. I do ave a Google Voice number associated though. At work I get very poor cell and use my N7 with GV for all of my texting.

  3. Tushar Agarwal

    08/06/2012 at 7:32 pm

    Thats a lot of android apps and widgets to play with, thanks for sharing these excellent hand picked apps.

  4. Alex

    08/11/2012 at 7:03 pm

    What is the name of the widget with the clock and weather on the home screen?

    • Iain

      08/27/2012 at 5:54 am

      Beautiful Widget pack. The author refers to it in the ‘Home Screen Apps And Widgets’ section.

  5. Ian

    08/13/2012 at 5:36 am

    how did you get diner dash 2 on the Nexus when it isnt available in store ? and supposedly isnt supported ?

  6. Chris

    08/15/2012 at 11:46 am

    Thinking of getting a Nexus 7 for my 12 yr old daughter…she still enjoyed the Mario games and good to see you’ve listed above but are you able to comment on user experience? I’d rather she had a Nexus 7 than an upgrade DS….what are your thoughts on this?

  7. tamica

    09/01/2012 at 7:06 am

    I am still figuring out my Nexus 7, what app is compatible with adobe flash player11 in this device? I can’t watch my TV shows on ABC without it. Along with other stations, especially if you don’t have a cable provider that other sites require you to have now to watch shows online which is driving me bananas… Anyone have any suggestions for those cabel-less TV show fans? Thanks

  8. kosta

    09/04/2012 at 5:11 pm

    HEY TAMICA this will tell u how to install flash with a browser that uses it to watch tv shows on abc :) and metacafe and more requires rooting but the same channel has a how to video that is very easy to do

    • tamica

      09/04/2012 at 5:55 pm

      OK thank you I will try that:-)

      • kosta

        09/04/2012 at 7:23 pm

        remember you have to root the device it is really easy also theres a app called ultimated rotation control that needs your device to be rooted but it fixes the lack of rotating on the lock and main screen :) just give me a reply if you have issues but its pretty straight forward if you follow the tutorial

  9. HeartStrong07

    09/10/2012 at 3:39 am

    Nicely done …

  10. Gazza

    09/10/2012 at 10:48 am

    Anyone know if an app exists for IM across different platforms. We have just bought our daughter the Nexus 7 and she would like to IM her friend who as an i-pad….is this possible?

  11. Angela Lauren

    09/18/2012 at 8:18 pm

    Without difficulty, the post is really a great on this deserving topic. And very comprehensive! As I just get a limited nice list of apps from Enolsoft blog.
    Now, there are many apps wait me~

  12. Don

    09/19/2012 at 9:21 am

    I’ve only had my Nexus 7 for one week. Right away I installed the HuluPlus app and it has worked perfectly until yesterday. Now I get a streaming error 91. Any hints or solutions for me?

  13. Marisah

    09/24/2012 at 5:14 pm

    Im getting a Nexus 7, hope i like it:) leave me a reply if you think ill like it:):)

  14. Ame

    10/05/2012 at 9:17 am

    Is there any way to download apps on the nexus 7 through an internet stick … really cant find wifi near my place .. !

  15. Tony

    10/10/2012 at 7:20 am

    Just bought N7 in Canada. My first experience with Android. So far quite confusing, in some ways. Lucked out when I found this site. Thank You for your efforts. Can you recommend site to learn Android techniques from? Headed to USA next week, hope to be able to use some of the “restricted” apps down there.

    • Bernie

      03/13/2013 at 7:11 pm

      Try Android Central and check out the Nexus 7 forums

  16. Chris

    11/05/2012 at 5:05 am

    I want to get a N7 for my 10 yr old but I am afraid that most of the android apps/games will require him to be connected to wifi all the time to play them. Can anyone help me out here? I wish the Android App Store was more straight forward as to what apps require a constant wifi connection. With is ipod we could install the app and disconnect from wifi and he could play them any where. Thanks

  17. Nan

    01/22/2013 at 6:52 am

    I am having an problem getting my nexus 7 to read my monthly budget that I have set up using numbers with my Mac.I have it in drop box. It shows perfectly on my phone, but the tablet is saying I need an app. I have quick office loaded, es file explorer and nexus media importer. What am I missing? I like this tablet, but being a apple user, I find it a little frustrating that its not easier

  18. ralph

    03/27/2014 at 3:02 am

    I have got one and it is a super tablet

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