10 Best Android Tablet Apps for News Junkies

CIO.com's gadget guru Al Sacco spotlights 10 great applications for your Android tablet that will keep you up to date on news, sports, entertainment, stocks and much more. These apps look great and perform even better--and most are free.

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The technology world is wild for tablets these days. Personally, I'm not quite as enthusiastic about them as everyone else. (Read my reasons why here.) I will say that tablets are particularly well suited for two purposes: leisurely surfing the Web; and e-reading. So I made it a point to find the best applications that combine these two functionalities.

Here are my favorite news and information applications for Google Android tablets, the majority of which are designed specifically for tablets and optimized for the slate experience. Even better: Most of these Android tablet apps are freethough you may have to subscribe to some publications for unlimited access to content.

(Note: I downloaded and tested all of these applications on Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 running Google's Honeycomb OS v3.1. Check the Android Market links provided with each app for device-compatibility listings.)

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USA TODAY for Tablets

The tablet-optimized USA TODAY for Android app brings the latest news, sports scores, weather, stocks and financial data, and much more to your slate in glorious form. All USA TODAY content is free, and the application receives constant updates, to ensure you've got the latest info. Inline images and video make it simple to quickly click a picture or clip for a closer look. And you can download stories for offline reading when you don't have Internet access.

Download USA TODAY for Tablets for free from the Android Market

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CNN App for Android Tablet

The CNN App for Android Tablet provides users with all of CNN's latest news content, in text and video form, in a great looking package that's designed specifically for tablets, and all for free. The app isn't just meant for news consumption; readers can easily share and comment on posts and even submit their own stories and media via CNN's iReport section.

Download the CNN app for tablets for free from the Android Market

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NYTimes app for tablet

The NYTimes app for Android tablet is best suited for Times subscribers, since the majority of the newspaper's online content is "locked" to non-subscribers. (After a four-week $0.99 trial period, digital subscriptions cost $5 a week) Anyone can download the app and view the Top News section for free. But subscribers get access to all of the Times sections, along with video and slideshows and breaking news alerts. And the app makes it simple to share stories via your favorite social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Download NYTimes app for tablet for free from the Android Market

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Pulse News for Android

Unlike the first few apps in this post, Pulse News isn't designed to provide content from just one publication. Pulse is a glorified RSS reader/news aggregator that pulls in content from a wide variety of online sources, in an interface that's perfect for consumption via tablet. Pulse "takes your favorite websites and transforms them into a colorful and interactive mosaic," according to the developer. Surf content from recommended Pulse sources or search your favorite sites. Save stories for offline reading and quickly share content via Facebook and Twitter. Pulse News integrates with Google Reader, so you can quickly import your feeds.

Download Pulse News for free from the Android Market

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Read It Later for Android

Read It Later is a "digital bookmarking" service of sorts, or a "DVR for the Web," as one New York Times scribe put it. Unlike the other apps spotlighted here, it's not tablet specific, either—and that's a good thing. The value in Read It Later is that you can use it on any computer or mobile device, even some apps—including Pulse News—to save online content for future reading. The app works without a Web connection, it's easy to use, and Read It Later remembers your scroll position in stories so you can pick up reading wherever you left off.

Download Read It Later Free from the Android Market

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Bloomberg for Tablet

The Bloomberg for Tablet app is a must-have for all business- and finance-news junkies and stock-traders. The free software delivers a variety of business-related news and market data in a tablet-optimized interface, along with a unique set of portfolio tracking tools. The app also features numerous graphics and charts to help traders quickly and effectively analyze global markets and market-trends.

Download Bloomberg for Tablet for free from the Android Market

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Sports Illustrated — Tablet

If you're not a Sports Illustrated (SI) print or digital subscriber, you may want to skip this app, since no content is available to non-subscribers. However, SI is offering a four-week risk free trial, so you can check out its digital content via tablet without actually paying—it's $4 a month after the trial. The slick-looking app offers tons of photos, slideshows and video clips from your favorite sporting events, along with live scores and news feeds and commentary from SI writers.

Download Sports Illustrated -- Tablet for free from the Android Market

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News360 for Tablets

News360 for Tablets is a Honeycomb-tablet-optimized, free news aggregator that culls stories from more than 5,000 online sources. The app is unique in that it not only provides current news, but also in-depth background information on the people and things involved in current events. And the software can "learn" your behavior on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and services including Google Reader, to serve up news based on your specific interests. It's not tablet specific, either, so you can login to your account from various devices to access your news.

Download News360 for Honeycomb tablets for free from the Android Market

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TIME Mobile for Android

The free TIME Mobile app for Android isn't just for tablets, but it delivers all of TIME.com's digital news and opinion content in easy-to-read form, from site and magazine sections including U.S., World, Healthland, Techland, Newsfeed, Politics, Swampland, The Page, Business, Arts, Quotes of the Day, Tuned In, and Travel. And users also have access to TIME's blogs, photo galleries and the popular "top 100" and best and worst "Lists."

Download TIME Mobile for free from the Android Market

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Financial Times for Android Tablets

Financial Times (FT) subscribers will surely appreciate the free FT Android app, since it offers up a majority of the publication's digital content in a great-looking package meant specifically for tablets. Non-subscribers get access to three free articles a monthand seven more (if you register an e-mail address), for a total of ten free pieces of content a month. The software gives subscribers access to FT global news, video, commentary and analysis. And "premium" subscribers can also read FT's popular "LEX" column. (Find more information on subscription rates here.)

Download Financial Times for free from the Android Market