Using A New Tablet in 2013?

(Originally posted on 01 JAN 13 on my "Cup of Joe with the CTO blog")

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Did the end of 2012 find you with a new iPad, iPad Mini, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Asus Transformer or other shiny new toy for you to consume information or create content? If so, you probably spent a little time getting it setup and exploring apps for that new device. Regardless of the kind of tablet you received you have to think about "how am I going to use this device? Am I playing games? Do I want to get the latest news and check email? Will it replace my laptop when at home or on the road?" Regardless of how you want to use the device I came across good read fromHarvard Business Review titled "New Year, New Tablet, New Apps" that addresses just these questions while breaking down apps into categories. The categories, listed below, include my own recommendations for each area. For the full list of recommended apps you'll have to check out the article.

  • I want to stay up-to-date on the latest news
    • There are several in this category but for me the best is Pulse. It allows you to have various top level categories, i.e., Business, Tech, Sports, Food, etc. and then choose sources for each of those areas. You also have a home area which can pull in a smattering of all your interests.
  • I want to strengthen my relationships with friends and colleagues
    • The main players are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +. This section is not about the apps but how you use them to categorize people with whom you are connected. If you are not making use of lists in Facebook, Groups in LinkedIn, Lists in Twitter, or Circles in Google + you should start. All of them have ways to cut down on what you see and from whom especially as you become more connected.
  • I want to be entertained
    • The article covers all the major players but I would add that you'll want to determine what best serves your needs. Netflix's streaming service is good for older movies but newer ones are sometimes hard to come by. And the interface is a little clunky. HuluPlus is better for TV shows. For those of you that are TimeWarner subscribers they have an app that will allow you to watch shows. As a TimeWarner subscriber you can also access to ESPN's WatchESPN app as well as HBO GO is you pay for that channel. If you are a sports fan there is no better app for tracking games than ScoreMobile.
  • I want to make better use of my time on the road
    • HBR says that TripIt is their app of choice but I am a big fan of WorldMate for keeping up to date with all your business travel. When you get email confirmations from airlines, hotels, and rental car services you just forward it on to WorldMate and it tracks it all for you. I also find OpenTable great for making restaurant reservations in cities to which I am traveling as it lets me know exactly which restaurants near me have tables available. In fact, during a trip to Salt Lake City last summer the app was able to get me a coveted spot at a highly popular restaurant with little to no tables available. Finally, of all the available airline apps Delta's is the best with Southwest's a close second.

Do you have a favorite app for the categories above that neither the article nor I covered? Then drop a note in the comments to share.

Sources

Samuel, Alexandra. "New Year, New Tablet, New Apps." Harvard Business Review. N.p., 28 2012. Web. 1 Jan 2013. <http://blogs.hbr.org/samuel/2012/12/new-year-new-tablet-new-apps.html>.