While the Kindle Fire HDX doesn't come with the Google Play store and its nearly 1 million apps, it does offer Amazon's selection of almost as many useful programs. Whether you're looking for an awesome game, planning an evening out or a streaming radio service, you'll be overwhelmed by all the choices in the Kindle Store. Fortunately, you don't have to go it alone. Here are our top 25 picks.
Angry Birds Star Wars II (Free)
In this epic gaming sequel, you can wield Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber as you join the "Pork Federation." Other villains you can play as include Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and General Grievous. On the Jedi side of Rovio's "Angry Birds Star Wars II," your birds may take the visage of Yoda, Anakin, Mace Windu, Jango Fett or many others. With tons of new levels to unlock, this free puzzle game is sure to make the universe of birds and pigs just like new.
Alarm Clock Plus (Free)
Quit relying on your tablet's stock clock to get you up in the morning. Alarm Clock Plus offers an unlimited number of alarms, with the option to do math when you awaken, or set your alarm to music, playlists or even apps such as Pandora. You can shake to snooze and tweak snooze duration. The interface is supereasy to use, and we like that you can set the alarms to gently fade in. A $0.99 premium version is also available, if you prefer to avoid ads.
Create, manage and share to-do lists with your entire team using the free app Wunderlist. This app is a must-have for any small business owner or large family. Imagine sharing your shopping list with the whole group, or game planning your company's next conference with your co-workers. You could even plan the best surprise party ever — with the proper planning. You can set recurring to-dos, break big tasks into smaller goals, add notes on various items and set reminders, as well as print out your lists and set due dates.
Pulse News (Free)
Do your eyes glaze over as you gaze upon headline after headline on your traditional RSS reader? Pulse News offers a tidy alternative, slurping up your favorite feeds and reorganizing them into a layout of neat boxes arranged by source. Tap the refresh icon in the upper right corner of each row to get new content, or scroll through the list of stories by panning to the right. Pulse curates your news by prepackaged topic (Art & Design, News & Analysis, Science, Sports, etc.), or you can choose from the directory of sources to add your favorite sites to this visual mini-reader. Consider the wealth of sharing options and the ability to beam longer pieces to Read It Later—and you’ll realize that this app is a must-download.
The full-featured WeatherBug app by Earth Networks offers lots of helpful info in an easy-to-read format, making it our top weather app for Kindle Fire HDX users. The app uses data and live images culled from monitoring stations at schools across the country in addition to data from the National Weather Service. Because there are more than 35,000 monitoring stations worldwide, WeatherBug is able to provide hyperlocal weather updates —including station images — that include not just the current conditions and forecast but also historical data.
More: WeatherBug: Full Review
Whether you're looking for the latest Lorde single or some obscure techno-pop ditty, you'll be able to find and play it with Spotify. The music service offers an extensive library of millions of songs, and allows you to download your custom playlists for offline listening (if you’re a subscriber). The app is free, but a subscription costs $9.99 per month. However, the company's online, ad-supported radio channels are always free.
More: 5 Helpful Spotify Tips
Despicable Me: Minion Rush (Free)
An endless runner along the lines of "Temple Run," Gameloft’s "Minion Rush" sends Gru's adorable yellow friends running for their lives, and racing to become worker of the year. You can share your progress with friends as you jump and slide your way to success. We love the rocket-propelled booster and other power-ups. Plus, costumes, such as surfer and dancer, add to the fun.
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Quickoffice Pro ($9.99)
Nothing is more straightforward than Quickoffice Pro, which lets you create, view and edit Microsoft Office files—Word, Excel and PowerPoint—or view PDFs with an integrated viewer. You can also access files remotely from any number of cloud services including Dropbox, Box.net, Huddle and SugarSync; or straight from your SD Card with the app’s Connected File Manager.
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Lookout Security & Antivirus (Free)
A major name in mobile security, Lookout Security & Antivirus offers top-notch protection and an easy-to-use interface. Not only will this tool scan downloaded apps for hidden dangers, but it can also help you keep tabs on your Kindle Fire HDX. That's because Lookout can be set to sound a screaming alarm if your tablet goes missing. You can also use this app to back up contacts and schedule scans for when it's most convenient for you.
DoggCatcher Podcast Player ($2.99)
Podcast junkies need this app now. Whether you're commuting to work, working out or just relaxing, DoggCatcher collects all of your favorite podcasts in one simple place. The app supports audio and video, as well as offline playback. You can vary playback speeds and set it to download over Wi-Fi or even during the hours you're snoozing.
Riptide GP2 ($2.99)
Vector Unit's sequel to the water-based racing game adds a new career mode, with more than 50 events to make your way through. There are also more than 25 new stunts to learn and master, as well as new upgradable jets. The graphics in "Riptide GP2" are simply stunning, including realistic HD water effects and brilliant colors, making the $2.99 cost easy to swallow.
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The Netflix app allows users to watch on-demand video, assuming you have streaming enabled through your Netflix account (starting at $7.99). The new interface displays twice as many movies and TV shows as its previous app. You can swipe through rows of titles, which feature larger thumbnails.
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Never miss out on that precious item when you can take eBay with you on your Kindle Fire HDX. You can use this app to bid, but also to browse or sell. The text or voice-activated search box can help with both tasks. Or, you can use the front camera to scan bar codes to get instant results. Best of all, the app will notify you when an auction you're following is about to close so you can place that winning bid.
Formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket allows you to save Web articles, videos and images to view them later on, even when you're offline. You can easily filter your saved content by type and organize it with tools for archiving, tagging and favoriting. More than 500 different apps can save to Pocket, including Chrome, Twitter, Flipboard and gReader. Plus, it's free.
FIFA 14 (Free)
EA Sports brings realistic soccer to your Kindle Fire HDX with the free "FIFA 14" app. Gamers tap into the stats of 16,000 real players from 600 real teams to create the magic. New touch controls make it easier to pass, shoot and tackle. You can even listen to commentaries in Spanish or Italian to get a more international feel.
ESPN ScoreCenter (Free)
This app lets you access the latest sports news, scores and stats from your Kindle Fire. ESPN ScoreCenter personalizes scoreboards and follows your favorite teams. The links to videos on ESPN's mobile website also can come in handy for the sports fanatic who needs to see that buzzer shot for himself.
Mint.com Personal Finance (Free)
Finance giant Intuit's app, Mint.com, keeps the focus on your cash flow for free. You can load all of your accounts (credit cards, checking account, retirement funds) into a single, colorful dashboard so that your transactions get pulled in automatically. Then, the app will make you a budget, based on your actual spending habits. Users enjoy email and SMS updates on all sorts of important topics, including due dates, low balances, unusual activity, fees, etc.
Short video is all the rage, and although the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX lacks a back camera, you can still use the front shooter to make yourself the next Internet sensation in 6 seconds or less. You can easily share your short, looping films to Twitter and Facebook with Vine. And like any other social network, you can find, follow and comment with others. Some will find the Editor's Picks particularly entertaining, but the Trending Posts are really what's hot.
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Minecraft Pocket Edition ($6.99)
It seems like just a simple building game. In reality, Mojang's "Minecraft" is a hugely popular, fully immersive and addictive fantasy world that you build yourself. The Pocket Edition version ($6.99) is very similar to the PC edition, which has attracted more than 12 million gamers around the world. Using the app you can create almost anything with your friends; cook food; fight with swords, bows or TNT; and even paint works of art. Once you start, we dare you to put it down.
HBO Go (Free)
HBO Go's official streaming service lets you watch the full catalog of HBO features -- from movies and documentaries to TV shows and comedy specials -- from the convenience of your slate. You'll have to be a cable subscriber who gets HBO on their account, but assuming you fit these requirements, you've now got no excuse not to jump in on that Monday office chat about the latest episode of "Game of Thrones" or "Veep."
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By instantly connecting you with reservations at more than 15,000 restaurants, OpenTable is among the most useful apps around. Never call and wait on hold again — simply log in, reserve and earn dining points that can be put toward a free meal later on. You can even use OpenTable to suggest restaurants based on cuisine, price, location, number of people and what time you want to eat.
It's probably true that your Pinterest boards could easily be turned into a Wish List, so it only makes sense to use this free app on your Kindle Fire HDX. That way, you can browse other people's boards and quickly add those items to your Amazon account. Pinterest is also a great place to find inspiration for travel ideas, do-it-yourself projects, recipes and tons of other cool stuff. With the app, you can add pins with your front-facing camera, and pin images you find while searching the Silk browser.
Exchange By TouchDown Key ($19.99)
Put your Kindle Fire to work with Exchange By TouchDown Key, which connects your company Exchange email account (complete with contacts, calendar and tasks) to your tablet. This way you get your messages immediately through the push technology. By syncing up with your work account you can also edit contact lists, accept meeting requests and manage notes, all while keeping data encrypted.
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Lose It! (Free)
The free Lose It! app helps keep you healthy and motivated by setting goals and keeping you on track. You can use it to keep track of your food/calorie intake and exercise regimen, while integrating with a Withings scale, Fitbit tracker, Jawbone Up or even a Nike+ Fuelband. The app also features recipes with nutrition information and downloadable weekly reports on your progress, and connects with your friends for added support. The app maker FitNow even goes so far as to claim that the average active user lost more than 12 lbs.
Using Skype is a great way to use the front camera on the Kindle Fire HDX. You can make video calls, as well as leave video messages for friends and family. That means no more tethering to your laptop's webcam. Other features include free photo messaging and instant messaging.