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These 20 Android apps shine on the Motorola Xoom

by Brad Spirrison

Tapping into Android apps on the Motorola Xoom tablet literally introduces a new dimension to Google’s mobile operating experience.

While the distinction between apps on tablets and smartphones on Android devices is less pronounced than what exists between the iPad and iPhone (as well as the iPod touch), there are a handful of great Android apps for the Motorola Xoom that you should consider downloading right out of the box. So, what are they?

Great games on the Xoom

Shortly before the Xoom’s February 24 release date, Zynga’s immensely popular game Words With Friends debuted on Android’s devices. The Scrabble-like game, which is free, is much better suited to the tablet form factor than on any smartphone. Battle other wordsmiths in the living room or match your skills against a random stranger in another part of the globe.

If you are more of a fan of action games, than dual-stick shooter Gun Bros is a great free title to download to the Xoom. Games optimized for the Xoom like Gun Bros should inspire independent developers to invest more time and resources in the Android space.

While Angry Birds is addictive on any device, Android users will love tapping into this transformative game in tablet form on the Xoom.

Customize your Xoom with these apps

There is a reason why Beautiful Widgets, which lets users customize clock, weather date and other functions on their device, is one of the best paid Android apps of all time. Make the Xoom your own with this $2.99 application.

Androidify is a playful app officially developed by Google that lets users dress up the little green character and then share variations with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. With the Xoom, the little guy can get an extra large wardrobe.

Apps to entertain on the big screen

Before watching a flick or television show on your Xoom or a bigger screen, check out trailers, showtimes and TV listings with the iconic IMDb Movies and TV Android app.

Conan O’Brien may have been relegated to basic cable after being dismissed from The Tonight Show, but his humor translates well in interactive and mobile media environments. The free Team Coco Android app offers clips, outtakes, and behind-the-scenes footage of Conan’s steadily popular TBS show.

For the kiddies, Dr. Seuss titles on tablets beautifully reproduce his classic books and offer interactive features and compelling narration. The Lorax - Dr Seuss, at $2.99, may forever change storytime in your house.

Informative apps that offer the bigger picture

A great showcase for Honeycomb, the CNN App for Android includes live video, breaking news and the user-generated iReport feature.

The free Pulse News Reader should satisfy even the most voracious news junkie. Consuming this app on the Xoom is a qualitatively different experience than tapping into it on a smartphone. While smartphones are ideal for news on-the-go, reading articles on the tablet version of Pulse News Reader may finally motivate you to suspend subscriptions to all print publications (if you haven’t already).

Multi-tasking in the kitchen becomes a whole lot easier and enjoyable with the $4.99 Mario Batali Cooks! Android app on the Xoom.

The free Medscape app, powered by WebMD, is trusted by healthcare professionals and might be the most favored Xoom app for hypochondriacs.

Xoom apps that rock

The Xoom offers best-in-class audio fidelity for tablets and is a great home for your musical library. As far as applications are concerned, the free Soundcloud app is worth taking up to 11, while Chord! (Guitar Chord Finder) may have you permanently retire from air guitar and try on the real thing.

The app for Android app discovery

With more than 200,000 Android apps available, it’s hard to sort through which titles are best for you. The newly updated Appolicious AndroidApps.com app, which runs beautifully on the Xoom, makes finding apps easy and enjoyable. You can find out which apps your Facebook friends own, discover hot new apps that hit the market, and read reviews, compilations and industry news and analysis from our staff of professional writers. Sure, we’re biased, but the free Appolicious Android app is also favored by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Also worth downloading to your Xoom now

Google Earth: There is a reason Motorola executives were showing off this app when the Xoom was announced at CES earlier this year. You’ll know why once you download it.

Twitter: The official Twitter app for Android outperforms all independent clients on the Xoom so far.

ESPN iScore Baseball: Who needs a printed program at the ballgame anymore after downloading this $9.99 app from ESPN?

TurboTax SnapTax: While it’s nice to know that taxes can be done on a smartphone, it’s not exactly the most convenient tool to get your accounting in order by, or before, April 15. Doing taxes on the Xoom, while not fun, is a lot easier with this free application.