New phone or tablet for Christmas? The 10 apps you must get!

KXAN News app promo

AUSTIN (KXAN) – So, you just unwrapped a new phone or a new tablet and immediately turned it on. Assuming you did, you’re now on and want to know what to download first.

Research shows the first apps people tend download on to new devices are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But, you’re probably a longtime user and know those ones.

This is a list of 10 things you may consider checking out. Some of them are popular, some are obscure – but they’re all extremely useful.

1. One of the first things you may want to do is change out that keyboard. Stock keyboards can be clunky and may not be suited to your fingers or typing style. Check out SwiftKey (Apple/Android.) It adapts to your typing style, can predict your words and even auto-corrects, saving you some embarrassing situations. It will continue to learn while you use it, making it an invaluable tool.

Swiftkey - KXAN file photo
Swiftkey – KXAN file photo

2. Next, you want something to capture those thoughts and inspirations that come to you on a whim. Sure, you could use your device’s built-in voice recorder, but why not try OneNote (Apple/Android.) It’s a Microsoft product that lets you take notes, create to-do lists, organize Powerpoints or PDFs, and take pictures of your handwritten scribbles. You can then sync them across all your devices. Oh, and you can still record your thoughts verbally.

OneNote - KXAN file photo
OneNote – KXAN file photo

3. Our own Robert Hadlock suggests you check out NewsOn (Apple/Android); “You can search another city and choose a newscast in that market to watch,” Robert says. “It’s really handy when there is breaking news in another city that you would like to view.” It could be a perfect way to stay in the loop with your home city if you aren’t an Austin-native.

NewsOn - KXAN file photo
NewsOn – KXAN file photo

4. & 5. For those that are or those want to know what’s going on in the Austin area, you really should load that new device up with the KXAN News app (Apple/Android) and the KXAN Weather app (Apple/Android.) Both are free and deliver breaking news, weather and traffic alerts. The News app lets you watch our daily broadcasts and the Weather app lets you keep an eye on the radar and seven day forecast.


6. You’ve probably heard Austin has a minor issue with its roadways. If only we could come together as a community and make them better. The Waze app (Apple/Android) is a nice, easy way to do just that. It offers live routing based on community driven, real-time traffic & road info with the ability to mark crashes, hazards and closures.

Waze - KXAN file photo
Waze – KXAN file photo

7. You likely have a large collection of files, be they videos, photos or music, all sitting on your computer. Why not use Plex (Apple/Android) to organize them and stream them to all your screens? Once you organize the collection on your computer, use the app to browse and play the media on any television, computer, phone or tablet in your house. You can even view your files on the road or at work.

Plex - KXAN file photo
Plex – KXAN file photo

8. You also likely have a large collection of websites and blogs your check everyday. Check out Feedly (Apple/Android) for an easy way to setup a one-stop destination for all your favorites. It even integrates easily with all your social media to make re-sharing favorite article or videos easy as pie.

Feedly - KXAN file photo
Feedly – KXAN file photo

9. Speaking of pie, ’tis the season to overindulge. Why not get a head-start on that New Years Resolution and download the MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter (Apple/Android?) It allows you to log your exercise and counts the calories of over five million foods. It also connects to over 50 fitness trackers, which you may also have on your Christmas list. You can set goals and see charts of your progress.

MyFitnessPal - KXAN file photo
MyFitnessPal – KXAN file photo

10. Want a cute time-killer for when your just sitting on the couch watching TV or snuggling down for bed? Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector (Apple/Android) is the game for you. Put out tuna and toys and watch the cats come to eat and play. Take pictures of them. That’s all you do! It’s simple and addicting. There are more than 40 cats to lure in, and some of them are harder than others.

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector - KXAN file photo
Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector – KXAN file photo

Have your own favorite? Share it in the comments. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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