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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Not all apps are created equal

Check the Google Play/Market app

Staff Picks for tablets

Append searches

Try the Web store

Search filters

User reviews

Tablified Market HD

Tegra Zone

Finding great apps for an Android tablet can be a little hit or miss. With any luck you'll get a game or app that's clearly optimized for a large screen. But there's an equally good chance you'll end up with an awkwardly stretched out app (Yelp's app shown here as an example) that was clearly designed for the smaller screen of a smartphone.

So, how do you find just the cool tablet-optimized apps? Here are a few tricks to help.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
First stop, open up the Google Play store and head over to Apps. On some tablets, this app is still referred to as Market. In many cases, Google will recognize that you're using an Android tablet to browse the store and will offer you an option for "Staff Picks for Tablets" (shown here in the upper-right corner).
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
This Staff Picks section offers a long list of apps and games, and you're bound to find a few show-off apps worth downloading. It would be great if you could perform searches within the list, or filter by category, but you can't.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
It's also worth noting that if you're searching the app store for something specific, like, say, a photo editor, including the word "tablet" in your search tends to help narrow the results to something more useful.

To distinguish between phone and tablet apps, many software developers include the word "tablet" in the title of their tablet-optimized apps. In the example shown here, the BeFunky Photo Editor has both a tablet version (shown here), and a phone-optimized version referenced in the lower-left corner.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Another trick is to use the tablet's browser to access the Web-based version of the Play store, which offers some more-advanced search and sort functionality.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The same search for photo editor can be filtered by device compatibility and ordered by popularity or relevance.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Once you get to an app page within the Web store, you can look at user reviews and filter them down to just reviews by those using your specific tablet.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
A more elegant way to search for and discover apps designed for tablets is to use a different front end for Google's store.

One of the best we've seen is called Tablified Market HD.

You can browse new content or sort by category, but everything you see has been hand-picked for how well it performs on a tablet. The Google Play store still handles the purchase and download; this app just manages the shopping experience much better.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
If your tablet runs on a Nvidia Tegra processor, there's a similar app out there called Tegra Zone that does a great job tracking all the latest tablet-optimized games. It's a free app, and there's a good chance that it's already on your tablet.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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