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For example on my galaxy Tab 7.7 plus sc_01e running ics , the phone app apk is installed but does not show up in my app drawer.

It will actually show up if it is called by a widget but there is no launched icon for it anywhere.

In the system settings it shows as running

This tablet is not rooted but I did buy it off a yahoo auction.

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It will most likely show up as soon as you plug in a dongle holding a SIM. Some apps are hidden based on provider settings: if a supporting provider is detected, the app is shown. No SIM, no provider, not shown. –  Izzy Jan 23 '13 at 12:57
    
It's unfortunate because the android phone app has some sip features that are useful whether you have voice service or not. –  Joshua Robison Mar 24 at 0:06

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Android has many apps that run either in background (such as Accuweather daemon) or only appear as widgets (for example TypoClock). Since these two apps don't need the user to open them from the launcher, they don't add an icon to it.

The same happens with Live Wallpapers. If you use a root explorer or another root app that will let you see all the installed apps, you will see that the list is higher than the apps that appear in the launcher.

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