Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Must-have iOS, Android apps for your new device

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If you're hoping to unwrap a new smartphone or tablet this holiday season, you're not alone: Mobile connected devices are the most wanted gifts this year, according to a Consumer Electronics Association survey issued in October. A follow-up CEA study issued late last month reveals that mobile devices topped all other consumer electronics product categories over Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2012 with 26 percent of shoppers making consumer electronics purchases buying smartphones and another 22 percent scooping up tablets. (Consumers still looking for the perfect device to sew up their shopping list should consult FierceWireless' annual holiday smartphone gift guide, published last week.)

So let's say you receive that new mobile device you've been clamoring for. Now what? You know you want to trick it out with apps and games, but with more than 700,000 iOS apps in Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and another 700,000 for Android in the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront, the sheer volume of options can be overwhelming.

FierceMobileContent is here to help. We've shortlisted recommended iOS and Android downloads spanning 10 different categories, helping you populate your new device with some of the most innovative and engaging apps on the market. Even if Santa is bringing the first smartphone or tablet you've ever owned, chances are you already know about mobile applications and games like Instagram, Shazam, Evernote and Angry Birds, so each list bypasses those mainstream blockbusters to dig a little deeper, spotlighting critical favorites, cult classics and up-and-comers that deserve a spot on even the most discerning device. Each app is a gift that keeps giving all year round.--Jason

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