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Summary:

Maybe you, like me, crossed over to the dark side this holiday season and picked up an Android device. I found that one of the first things I wanted to do with my new Galaxy Tab was to enable as much cross-platform communication as possible.

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Maybe you, like me, crossed over to the dark side this holiday season and picked up an Android device. I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab to help satisfy my persistent curiosity about Google’s iOS competitor, and I found that one of the first things I wanted to do was get the Tab set up so that it could communicate as much as possible with Apple’s devices, and vice versa.

Here are the apps I found essential for maintaining the link with my iPhone and iPad-toting friends, and to my Mac, when I’m in the mood for some Android moonlighting.

WhatsApp Messenger

This was one of the first BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) substitutes available for the iPhone, back before Kik came on the scene. And unlike Kik, it remains available for BlackBerry devices. Plus it just feels like a better-made product, from the UI to its actual performance. But both WhatsApp Messenger and Kik are available for Android devices, so feel free to grab whichever you prefer.

Fring

FaceTime is a great product with a lot of potential, but it has some disappointing limitations. For one, it only works over Wi-Fi. And it also only works between Macs, iPhones and iPod touches for the time being. Fring video calling doesn’t have any of those restrictions, and lets me video call from my iPhone 4 or Galaxy Tab to both Android and iOS devices on either 3G or Wi-Fi. Tango is another service that offers the same thing, but my call quality was better with Fring, so that’s the one I recommend.

doubleTwist

It’s hard to understate how essential doubleTwist is for Mac-based Android users. Josh wrote about it in November, and James created a video on the subject before that (embedded below). Combined with Air Sync, which is available to users who pay to upgrade doubleTwist to the premium version, this Mac software and its companion Android app will make you wonder why you ever felt so married to iTunes to begin with. You can sync iTunes playlists and music, but its real value comes in being able to drag and drop movie files to your Android device and have them converted and transferred — wirelessly and automatically.

Remote for iTunes

iOS device users will smirk at this one, since Remote for iTunes for Android (which is not developed by Apple, by the way) costs $4.99. The official Remote app, of course, is free. The Android clone works just as well, though, requires no additional software installation, pairs the exact same way as the iOS version, and has pretty much all the same features. As an added bonus, the Android app lets you control the volume of iTunes with your device’s hardware volume buttons, something Apple would never allow.

Any others you think belong on this list?

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

  1. the most important android-iPhone App that I look for is a versatile IM app for txting and chatting with friends who user other platform. PoKos Chat(TM) will have a Droid version out next quarter, so will be good to go

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  2. the one iPhone-Android App that everyone is looking for is a versatile text/IM App that enables one to chat with her friends who used the other platform. PoKos Chat(TM) solves that problem when it releases its Droid App next quarter

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  3. Chrome to Phone sends a url from your desktop to your phone. The right app for that url gets opened.

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  4. How long has timo been working for PoKos?

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