The tech world is abuzz about the news of the new Nexus 7 tablet. And while there has been a lot of discussion around the amazing screen (323 pixels per inch!) and other hardware specs, many people are focused on apps for their Nexus 7 tablets. If you’ve ordered an N7, you’re probably wondering what sorts of social apps to install besides Facebook. Here’s our short list of the 5 best social apps for the new Nexus 7 running Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean”.
You may think Instagram is little more than a free photo app that lets you jazz up your smartphone pictures with filters and other neat photo effects. But there’s a lot more to Instagram than just pretty pictures. The app also comes with many social features. Some of the features are basic, such as the ability to friend and follow people. But the more advanced social features are worth mentioning. The big one is integration with other social networks. After taking a photo and applying a filter, you can distribute it to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, or Foursquare (location services have to be turned on). Photos also get play on Instagram’s Home view, which shows the most recent pictures of the people you are following. They will look absolutely gorgeous on the beautiful N7 screen. You can heart the photos, or leave comments.
Path is a free journaling app, and includes features that let you document your life. By tapping the minimalist icons on Path, you can quickly post where you are and what you are doing, as well as what time you got up, and when you’re ready to go to sleep. Using the Nexus 7 camera, you can add photos to these “moments”, and apply Instagram-like filters, too. The social features let you share who you are with — for instance, if you check into a restaurant, you can add people you are eating with or see (as long as you are friends with them on Path). You can also distribute your moments to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.
Did you ever want to post the same message to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? Hootsuite lets you do this, without copying and pasting between the different social networks. The app is basically an interface for your social media accounts. Besides posting, you can also monitor your various feeds (Facebook newsfeed, Facebook pages, Twitter, Twitter lists, Twitter mentions, Google+, LinkedIn posts, etc.) and even set up feeds based on search terms in Twitter. You can also monitor and post to multiple Twitter accounts, although the free version of Hootsuite limits you to 5 accounts total. On the 7″ Nexus 7 screen, the extra screen real estate lets you set up more feeds to monitor, which is particularly useful for hard-core Twitter users.
The Line app is huge in Asia, and is rapidly spreading to other parts of the world. And no wonder: It brings together group chat, live calls, photos, and stickers in a playful manner that anyone will find a delight. People are often attracted by the free messaging and calls (which bypass your carrier’s limits on voice calls and SMS) and stick around for the social and visual features. The group chat feature is surprisingly addictive — it lets you set up a private chat amongst groups of friends (say, former coworkers or classmates) and then share photos, comments, and stickies (sticker-like graphics that take the place of emoticons) over a long period of time. You don’t have to be in the chat at the same time, which means people can be checking in from different timezones throughout the day. I’ve seen some group chats persist for months. The Line app is free, but certain sticker collections and features cost extra. The advantage of using Line on an N7 vs. an Android phone — longer chat threads, and better photo editing and design options.
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? Tablet Talk is a great complement to the other apps listed above, because it basically covers the one social area that’s often overlooked in social media apps – SMS. Tablet Talk pairs an Android tablet, such as the Nexus 7, to an Android phone using Bluetooth or WiFi. An incoming text to your Android phone number generates a notification on your tablet. This allows you to continue the SMS conversation using the tablet’s larger keyboard, while the phone stays in your pocket or in its charging cradle! The interface (see screenshot below) also threads conversations, which gives it the feel of a social network as opposed to plain old texting. Other features include MMS support, custom themes, DashClock Extensions, emoticons/smilies, and even the ability to make Nexus 7 voice calls (Bluetooth headset required). Pay once for Tablet Talk on your N7, and Google Play will make the app available for free on your phone.