With Apple, Android and BlackBerry prices becoming more affordable all the time, it’s fair to say that most people can afford to own either some sort of tablet or smartphone. And it’s small wonder that so many people own such a device these days: whether you’re at university or in work, modern mobile devices have become an indispensable tool for making day-to-day jobs easier. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways a tablet or smartphone can make you more efficient.
General Productivity Suites
Word processing is something that almost everyone needs to do, and most students and business people do it daily. You might assume that you need a laptop for this, but you’d be surprised. There are a few very good office apps available for tablets, such as Office2 HD, which allows you to create and edit MS Office documents. The app may have a few bugs, but at least you know that you’re going to be able to import your files to your computer once you get back to the office, which makes using it worthwhile overall.
Perhaps the best app in this category, though, is Docs To Go, a fully functioning office suite that comes pre-installed on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Docs to Go takes advantage of the tablet’s excellent keyboard interface to provide a streamlined word-processing experience, and supports the majority of office document file types. It’s one of easiest apps for editing and formatting work documents while out and about – a reason alone to think about taking advantage of that lower BlackBerry price point.
There really are some great apps out there for organizing your data, but none of them really come close to the mighty Evernote. Wherever you are, or whatever inspires you, Evernote can record it via its intuitive interface. Save audio, photos and web clips – Evernote’s great for just jotting down ideas too. But if you’re using a smartphone, and need to get your ideas down quickly, weigh up whether a touch-screen or a physical keyboard, like that on the new Blackberry Bold 3 smartphone, is going to be right for you.
Organization, of course, is where Evernote really shines. It’s cross-platform, so you can access your files easily from whichever device you’re using. And it’s not just for ideas, either: collaborating on projects within a group, and categorising important information like itineraries, is a breeze. It’s superior in every way to every other app of its genre.
Evernote may list collaborative tools as one of its selling points, but if your job involves a lot of networking and video conferencing, there are other apps that will be better suited to the task at hand. Adobe Connect Mobile is one of these, offering file-sharing and a whiteboard feature, not to mention the ability to hold a conference with as many as 2500 people at once. Of course, these extras are more likely to suit those at the professional end of the spectrum of users; those working in small groups might find it easier to use the native video calling apps included on most mobile devices.
General Tips & Strategies
After installing the few key apps listed above and adding a small selection of the infinite number of others that perform just about every function known to man, you’ll find that – these days – it’s pretty much possible to conduct your entire working life from the comfort of a touch-screen device. If, however, your workplace offers their own version of any of this software, use it – if only to maintain the compatibility of your work with that of your colleagues’.
Finally, if you find you are increasingly relying on your tablet or smartphone when out, you should probably invest in some sort of case to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged. It’s particularly annoying if your machine starts acting up when you’re waiting for an important e-mail or when you need to access a vital file.