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Maybe you're getting an Android for Christmas, or maybe you've traded in your iPhone. Whatever the case might be, there's a wealth of Android apps now in the market, and it's easy to get carried away with all the choices you have. Here are some of the best Android apps for first-time users, running the gamut from playtime to work time.
Social and entertainment
doubleTwist is a useful app, particularly if you're accustomed to the iPhone, as it brings an iTunes-like experience to your Android. Sync your computer's media files with your phone and take music, photos and videos with you on the go. The media player is rich in features, with a clean interface, easy navigation and even album art.
Pandora turns your Android into an on-demand radio, playing stations that are custom-built just for you. Stream music based on a genre, artist or song, and you'll get recommendations that are fine-tuned to your tastes. Get info on artists and songs, as well as options for purchasing and downloading a tune to your computer or phone. Pandora's app is free.
The Kindle book reader is a great app for on-the-go users, taking your entire library (and a bookstore) with you wherever you are. Search and preview titles, download entire books, and read them on-demand. Amazon's Kindle for Android comes with a tweakable reader, so you can change font size, background color, bookmarks and everything else to make for a comfortable reading experience.
Jewels has been a popular game for as long as it's been around, and the mobile version is no different. Swap gems on the board to get three in a row, and see how many chains you can break without skipping a beat. This free Android game has multiple game modes for varied challenges, high-score keepers and more.
Angry Birds is newer to the Android audience, but it's quickly become one of the most downloaded apps of all time. Don't miss out on the fun, as you battle greedy pigs in this ongoing game of defense. Each bird on your team has its own powers, which you'll need to use to your advantage. There are nearly 200 levels of fun here, thanks to a recent update.
Facebook is probably your most-used social network, and it's Android app is becoming an indispensable one. See updates, photos and videos from your friends, share media on your wall, create and view events, and get local deals. A recent update included Facebook chat, too. Best of all, Facebook is integrated with most Androids, for contact info and ID photos.
Twitter's Android app is also quite handy, with an easy way to share updates with friends. Get mobile alerts for new tweets, mentions and DMs, view lists, and easily correspond with other Twitter users. Free, this socially aware app also lets you share your location and media, so your current experience can be spread to all your followers.
Utility and productivity
Better Android has a slew of apps worth checking out, like Better Keyboard. It's an improvement on most keyboards that come with Android phones, so you can type more efficiently on emails, text messages or even mobile blogging. The developers have other apps for home screen skins, profiles and more, all of which aim to enhance your Android experience.
Google Maps has been a top app for Android from the very beginning. Constant updates ensure its relevance for users, with local search, reviews, voice navigation and layers for things like traffic information. Get location updates on friends, contact a local venue directly from the app, and drill all the way down to street views. This amazing tool is free.
Astrid Task is a must-have for busybodies. Free, this Android app keeps track of your to-do lists, with deep customization for helping you manage everything you need to do. Mark settings for each task, set reminders, sync with third-party services, like Google Tasks, and see items at a glance with the home screen widget. Astrid has premium add-ons for power users, too.