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10 apps for your new (or old) Android tablet

Free and paid apps for working from home, media sharing, e-reading, music making and news aggregating

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Dolphin Browser Dolphin is a replacement browser for the simple built-in that comes with most Android tablets. The library of optional add-on features includes Dolphin Webzine, which reformats ugly web pages to make a more attractive, readable page, and Dolphin Gesture, which assigns shortcuts to your favourite sites or browser actions. For example, you can teach Dolphin to launch the Google home page when you draw a “G” on the screen. Create your own gestures by drawing any symbol, then associate that gesture with an action. (free; www.dolphin-browser.com/)

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Caustic Electronic Music Rack Caustic is a labour of love from a software developer who was disappointed by the audio apps he found for Android. The app includes eight built-in machines: one virtual analog subsyth, two PCM synths, two BassLine synths, one sampling drum machine, one mixer deck with delay/reverb and insert effects, and one song sequencer. Free to download and install, but loading and saving are disabled until you buy the full version. (Full version: $4, causticapp.blogspot.com/)

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Quickoffice Pro HD is a tool for Android tablets that makes it possible to open and edit Microsoft Office documents from anywhere, right on the tablet. Create, view and edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations in the file manager. Open and save files from Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, Huddle, SugarSync, or from your SD card. Quickoffice also works with PDF and Zip files, so you can open and work with files that might not otherwise be accessible. Download Quickoffice for free to try it out. When you're ready, upgrade to Quickoffice Pro HD for $19.99. (www.quickoffice.com/)

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Comics Comics by comiXology is a free digital comic book reader and bookstore. Browse through thousands of comics from dozens of publishers, tap to buy or download for free. You can read a full page at a time or use “guided view” to zoom panel by panel. Note it does not support the cbr, cbz, and rar file formats that are often used to share comics on the internet illegally. (Free to install, in-app comic purchases vary, comixology.com/)

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Kindle Useful if you own a Kindle device or even if you don't own an Amazon reader. Books and magazines purchased for the Kindle reader can also be read on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or BlackBerry. Kindle “Whispersync” technology syncs your last page read, notes, bookmarks, and highlights across devices, so you can pick up where you left off. Kindle also offers instant dictionary word lookup with 250,000 entries and definitions. Tap and hold a word to view the definition, or use the Google and Wikipedia links to get more information. (Free, in-app purchases extra, www.kindle.com)

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Evernote This free app helps you remember everything and keep your stuff organized. Use Evernote to store all your ideas, photos, To Do lists and voice memos. Synchronize your stuff with all the computers, mobile devices and web browsers you use. The powerful search feature can find anything in Evernote based on keywords, tags and even printed or handwritten text inside images. Evernote is great for projects, and for filing things like tax receipts or business expenses. Available on almost any mobile or browser platform you can think of. (Free, www.evernote.com)

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Apparatus Part game, part construction toy, the object of the physics-based game Apparatus is to build a simple mechanical structure that will guide one or more marbles to a destination. You can build a pathway, a bridge, or a vehicle to transport the marbles. You can also play in the physics sandbox and upload and share your levels with other players. ($2.79, bithack.se/)

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Netflix By now you've seen the ads: Netflix Canada offers video on demand, streamed over the internet, for about eight bucks per month. As its catalog of movies and TV shows grows, the question is not so much whether to get Netflix but how best to access the service. Android’s free Netflix app lets you search the Netflix library, then touch the screen to start watching instantly, whenever and wherever you are. (App is free, but Netflix account needed to watch, www.netflix.ca/)

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Plex for Android makes it easy to transfer files between your computer and your Android tablet. App can handle most audio, video, and photo formats without any file conversion or video plugins, so you can just browse and stream the content from your computer to your tablet. You’ll need to install the Plex Media Server software on your Mac, PC, or compatible network storage device. That serves your media to all of your Plex clients, including Plex-enabled mobile devices and 2011 LG Smart TVs. Note that Plex does not support VIDEO_TS, ISO or IMG files. If you want to watch video ripped from your DVDs you must convert the files to mkv, mp4, or another format that Plex supports. ($4.95, plexapp.com/)

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StumbleUpon is a searchable “discovery engine” that finds the best news, photos and videos of the Web based on your preferences. It can help you find sites recommended by friends and people who share your interests. With the Android app, you can discover interesting content no matter where you are. StumbleUpon even has an App Discovery option, so you can use it to find even more Android apps, based on your preferences. (free, www.stumbleupon.com)

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