Sturgie sounds like your use/needs are similar to mine, so I'll try and break it down for you.
For the record, I'm just stating what I use to do the things I want to do.....this isn't about whether or not these things should have been included natively....free...etc.
I'll begin by stating I've never owned anything Palm prior to Jan 2010 when I got my Pre. It's been a rollercoaster of a ride, a real love/hate/love/hate...(and so on)..relationship. I've had several Pre's, some my own fault, and some hardware. I've had Chuck Norris Pre's and I've also had spineless jellyfish Pre's (Pres just doesn't look right, even though grammatically correct )
My current Pre isn't one of the better ones I've had, so buying the TouchPad has been a welcome relief. About the only thing I use my Pre for now are:
Phone Calls, Text Messaging, phnx here and there, PreCentral here and there, freeTether and that's about it.
My TouchPad has the following patches: Advanced Reset Options, Faster Card Animations HYPER, Muffle System Logging, Unset CFQ IO Scheduler, Unthrottle D/L Mgr.
Overclocked to 1.728GHz ondemandctl running on webOS v3.0.2 (of course)
What won me over to buy one was the 2 weeks I had to wait while reading all the testimonials from those south of the 49th. By the end of the first week I had decided I HAD to get one....funny because a month or two before I still wasn't even sure what the hoopla was all about, and I have a pretty decent PC ... I wasn't sure if I even needed one. (moving on..)
Start with the basics
I use Advanced Browser (got it free with SecuStore2 (password manager)). It's decent, and better than the native one. Very similar interface as Opera Speed Dial, which I use at home. I don't have that many bookmarks in yet but have a half dozen or so, and it works well for me. The tabs are great, I like them far better than having a few different web cards open. I opened 5 tabs one time and when I was done opening the last tab, went back to the first and it was open.
Combine the two, and it isn't that hard to copy/paste your saved passwords from Secu to the password field in the browser. Total price for the 2 with the deal $9.99, not sure when the price is going up but Secu will be $14.99 and AB will be $1.99.
Native Email works for me, some don't like it...mine opens in 2 seconds, period. You can save Photos sent directly to photos, or just open and look. Prior to 3.0.2 I tried sending myself ringtones from my PC via email, it would just stream them before, now I can save them directly. Speaking of which, I was trying to avoid using cables to exchange files from PC to TouchPad. I forgot about Wifi Media Sync which I had on my Pre, had to replace my Pre and couldn't re-download due to not being available <2.0 I found it in the catalog thanks to some genius ( ) and although not a full screen size version, accomplishes the same thing (dev is working on HD)
Can't say anything about the Calendar...I use it to see the date and that's about it. I have Facebook that reminds me of birthdays, if I remember to check. Speaking of, one good thing about the Facebook app, it will give you the whole month of birthdays in advance, maybe I missed that on the normal web version, but I hardly even use Facebook anymore...tired of Free Gifts, and Poker Chips, and Free Farm Animals, and Free Tokens for yadayadayada... So that being said, I don't use the app much, but it is kinda cool, and has a neat magazine style, I don't even know what you call it, lol.
The Maps for me is hit and miss....sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't know why, I've asked around and nobody seems to know. Oh well, good thing I know my city well, the whole province and the ones on either side as well
Music app...my main squeeze. Could be better, I'm not going to lie. It's a shame @hedami isn't redoing MPR for TouchPad, that would have been SWEET, but he told me the scenario....I don't really blame him. It's pretty bare bones but being that I'm on the road all the time, nice to have 20 GB music on hand for the 7 hours of driving I do every night.
Photo/Video app....is a little better than when I first got it. Video playback in proper format is good, good enough for the size of the screen if you have a decent copy. Some people don't like having all their Facebook albums sync to the device, I like it and thought it was a cool feature. To each their own.
There's your basics. Out of all the apps on my Pre 49 of them scaled to size.
Some of my fav apps: Epicurious (30,000+ recipes, from Hot Dogs to Fricassee of Game Hen with Creamy Leeks and Vadoum) (easy to hard ) Glow Hockey HD... the demo was ok on the Pre, this is actually playable with 2 people and fun. KalemSoft MediaPlayer, I can stream movies without conversion on my home wifi or through freeTether...works great, TorrentTouch ProHD controls uTorrent on my PC start/stop torrents or search new ones also works great. Where To Go? ....need to find something...anything....you can....fast. Quaker HD...fun app lets you know where every earthquake is in the world. ScreamagerHD ...want to stand on the street corner and beg for change with style? This app is it Calgary Herald...might not apply to you...but for me, a great electronic copy (and free) of the local rag. How could I not mention Angry Birds...mybad.. nice on the JumboTron.
That's my rundown, take it as you will. I bought it at full price (-$70 instant rebate, Canada) and not looking back. I use it all the time, take it everywhere, I'm getting my money's worth, the apps although not a whole lot, have been coming in steady, hopefully more to come. Even if they were to stop tomorrow, HP pulls out and abandons...I'll still be using my TouchPad