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Now What Do I Do With This New Tablet I Got for Christmas?

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So, you got your wish and got a Tablet for Christmas. Perhaps it’s an iPad, or maybe a Samsung Galaxy Tab, or maybe some other Tablet/Slate. No matter, I’m sure you’re already up and running. You’ve pinched and zoomed, you browsed the web, you’ve probably listened to a bit of music and watched some video, checked out your contacts and sent an email or two. Now you’re hungry for some App action. After all Apps are what make Tablets so much fun and turn them into what you want them to be. One of the great things about adding software to a Tablet is you’re not spending nearly as much as in year’s gone by to add Applications to a new computer. Maybe that’s why we’ve made Apps the shortcut lingo for Applications.

This is a list of Apps that I use regularly on my iPad. I don’t have an Android Tablet at the moment so I can’t speak to that platform, but many of these titles can be found on that platform as well. If not, similar kind of Apps also exist.

So, let’s get started.

Productivity Apps.

Yeah, I know the iPad is a consumption device or so conventional wisdom says. But I actually get quite a bit of work done on mine. Here are the tools I use. Some are indispensable and for some there are alternatives.

  • Dropbox: This file syncing and cloud storage service is a must. This is how I move documents back and forth between my machines and keep every thing in sync. You can get 2GB of cloud storage free or pay for larger amounts. The latest update allows for selective folder syncing which means you don’t have to put every file on every computer you want to sync with. Dropbox has become the file system that Apple didn’t include thanks to allowing many other developers access to its API.
  • Evernote: I use this for many different functions, but mostly for hanging onto things I want to remember. Make a note and it is synced with your Evernote in the cloud and any other machine you have Evernote installed on. Using voice to record a quick note is a great feature. For Inkers, you can see Ink Notes created in other Apps and on other machines. Great tool and a must have.
  • Pocket Informant HD: Hands down the best calendar and task manager I have used. It syncs up with Google calendar and does the job.
  • QuickOffice and Documents to Go: I still have both Apps on my iPad and I use QuickOffice most of the time. These Apps let you view and edit Microsoft Office documents on your Tablet/Slate.
  • iThoughtsHD: A great mind mapping App. Working with this on an iPad is a joy and there’s something quite zen about it.
  • MediaPad: I used to use Keynote, Apple’s version of Powerpoint on the iPad to create presentations to show off when I’m fundraising for the theatre. Just recently I’ve been experimenting with MediaPad. It is essentially a portfolio App designed for photographers to show off their stuff. It works very, very well.
  • Simplenote: It simply lets you jot down a note. Simple and effective.

Entertainment and Leisure

Tablets and Slates are devices that you can relax with. Reading, browsing the web, checking out video are all pleasures I enjoy on my iPad.

  • Netflix: If you’ve got an account with Netflix, this is a great way to watch streaming video of movies and TV.
  • Soundhound: A great music discovery App.
  • Flipboard: Turn Twitter or Facebook (and now RSS feeds) into a magazine like experience on the iPad. i really enjoy relaxing with Flipboard.
  • PBS: Watch PBS programming on your iPad. Wonderful.
  • Reeder: The best RSS reading experience I have found for the iPad.
  • Instapaper: This app is a catch all for me. Using bookmarklets in browsers on any of my machines I can save long articles to my Instapaper account (it’s free). Then I can read them at my leisure on the iPad. In some ways this App defines the iPad for me.

Games.

Yeah, I’ll give this a separate category because the iPad is a great gaming platform. I don’t play many but the ones I do play can suck up lots of time. The iPad (and Apple’s iOS) leads the way over other Tablet operating systems at the moment, but you can find the first title I’ve listed below on Android.

  • Angry Birds: It’s a sensation and a sensational time waster, but I love it.
  • Infinity Blade: The first game to use the Unreal engine on the iPad and iPhone and it is stunning to look at. Essentially a hack until you die or win kind of game, it is surpassingly addictive in the same way Angry Birds is.
  • Strategery: No, George Bush didn’t name this. It is like Risk and I actually prefer it to other Risk-like clones.
  • Fruit Ninja HD: If I need to go mindless and just hack and lash, this is it.

Inking Apps.

I don’t think you’ll find these on other platforms just yet. The Apps I list below all share a common feature. The have some form of Palm Rejection or Wrist Protection.

  • PhatPad: Great note taking App that allows for handwriting recognition and plain old digital note taking.
  • Penultimate: If all you want to do is Ink some notes, this one works great.
  • Noteshelf: Another great note taking App for digital Inkers.


Social Networking
.

Face it, these kinds of devices are made for social networking platforms and I’ve tried out many of the Apps especially those for Twitter. Lots of folks love the official Twitter App but on the iPad I prefer Osfoora HD.

eBook Reading
.

Here you have quite a choice. You can use Apple’s iBooks or you can load Apps for reading books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Google. Take your pick. Bottom line it all depends on where you want to buy your books from and Amazon is in the lead here on that score.

News Reading.

I’m a news junkie and I have the New York Times and Washington Post Apps on my iPad. Both are free at the moment but promise a pay scheme sometime after the first of the year. I also have a relatively new App from CNN that is growing on me.

There’s plenty more where these came from and that’s the beauty of having an iPad or any Tablet. It can become what you want it to based on your preferences.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

4 Comments

  1. Jeff

    12/26/2010 at 11:55 pm

    Warren – Shouldn’t the title be changed to I recieved a new Ipad?

  2. harv

    12/27/2010 at 11:17 pm

    I agree with Jeff…this is a very thinly veiled (blatant) advertisment for Apple. I hope they paid you well….

  3. harv

    12/27/2010 at 11:17 pm

    I agree with Jeff…this is a very thinly veiled (blatant) advertisment for Apple. I hope they paid you well….

  4. Anonymous

    12/28/2010 at 9:15 am

    ahaa, Do you recieve a new ipad ????
    and don’t know how to do with it???
    I have some idea:
    check it
    Best free Christmas iPad Apps for download
    Great Christmas Gifts for iPad Lovers

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