It’s time for the third annual version of “iStocking Stuffers,” the holiday apps edition of my weekly column World Wide Wade. The slide show above covers 20 of my favorite apps from 2012, which makes it my longest list yet: the 2010 edition of this guide had just 10 apps, and the 2011 version had 15.
The premise this year, as before, is that a lot of people are going to be receiving tablets as gifts this season—whether they’re iPads, iPad minis, or Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 or Amazon’s Kindle Fire—and they’re going to need help figuring out what apps to put on them. The apps I’m recommending here aren’t all truly “must have” apps in the sense of being essential utilities—I’m leaving out a bunch of those, from weather apps to e-book apps to social networking apps. Rather, these are apps that show off the capabilities of today’s tablets and will help you get the most out of your new device in areas like games, news, shopping, video discovery, and photo editing.
Here’s an alphabetical list of the apps featured above, with price information, links to app store pages where you can download the apps, and links to past Xconomy coverage of these apps or app makers. There’s a bit of a bias here toward iPad apps, since that’s the tablet I have, but I’ve included links to Android versions of the apps where available. As for Microsoft Surface / Windows tablet apps? Maybe next year.
123D Catch | free | iOS | Autodesk Labs Builds Tools for Capturing Reality
Evernote | free | iOS | Android | Evernote Wants to Make Your Memories More Magical
Fayve | free | iOS
Google Earth | free | iOS | Android | The Case of the Tilted Clubhouse: A Geographical Detective Story
Google Search | free | iOS | Android | Inside Google’s Age of Augmented Humanity, Part 3
Habu Music | $0.99 | iOS | Android
iPhoto | $4.99 | iOS
Madefire | free | iOS | Madefire’s Comics Bring a New Visual Grammar to the iPad
NextGuide | free | iOS | With NextGuide, Dijit Continues the Search for Perfect TV App
The Orchestra | $13.99 | iOS | Touch Press, the iPad, and the New Golden Age of Multimedia
The Room | $1.99 | iOS
Paper by FiftyThree | free | iOS | Notepaper App Showdown: Bamboo, FiftyThree, and Noteshelf
Path | free | iOS | Android | Why the World Will Beat a Path to Path
Pocket | free | iOS | Android | Can Pocket Become the TiVo of the Web?
Robots for iPad | $1.99 | iOS
Showyou | free | iOS | Android | ShowYou—The Social Browser That’s Taking on TV
Snapseed | free | iOS | Android
Stitcher Radio | free | iOS | Android
Wantful | free | iOS | Wantful’s Customized Catalogs Aim to Bring Back Thoughtful Gift Giving
Zite | free | iOS | Android | How Zite’s News App Altered the Zeitgeist in Personalized Publishing
Wade Roush is Xconomy's chief correspondent and editor of Xconomy San Francisco. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at email@example.com.