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1 1 Tablets: Let s Get Productive

2 Contents Introduction... 5 Types of Tablet Users... 6 What s Important to You?... 7 App Ecosystem... 8 Mobility... 9 Hardware Tools... 9 Other Factors HUGOMETER Your Algorithm for Choosing a Tablet Security on a Tablet Software Infiltration Device Loss and Cloud Security Remote Wipe Online and Offline Interaction Storage vs. Cloud How Much Should You Need to Connect? Going Beyond App Stores Input on a Tablet Multi-Touch Keyboards and Devices Software Solutions SWYPE Handwriting Recognition Active Digitizing Pen Voice Recognition SnapKeys Potential Alternatives Note Taking and Voice Memos One Note vs. Evernote

3 Tips for Note Taking Speed on the Road How Fast Is Fast Enough? G G WiFi Video Chat and Conferencing File Access and Screen Sharing Phone vs. Tablet Use Connectivity between Devices Productivity Tips for Your Tablet Training Your Apps Handwriting Recognition Setting Your Flicks Voice Recognition Settings for Popular Apps Using Search Functions to Find Apps Cross Platform Input Project Management Searchable Notes and Calendar Functions on Your Tablet Mail Gmail Outlook Integrating a Universal Calendar Taking Your Work on the Road Additional Productivity Tips Case Studies in Productivity Basfoods Jon Dee Herron Todd White

4 Conclusion

5 Introduction If this is your first opportunity to sit down with the Tablet series, you picked what I feel is the most important of them all a close look at the productivity that comes with a tablet PC, how it can be optimized and more importantly, how the way we use tablets will evolve in the years to come. I ve written a lot about Tablet PCs over the years and in that time, one thing I ve come to expect is that I ll almost always be amazed by how people use technology. No matter how creative I feel I ve been with my tablets, someone else will come along and blow it all away with their ingenious use of the format either to produce a new app or software platform or simply to get work done. As per Sevda Karaca, a TEGA v2 user mentioned as part of Tegatech s array of successful case studies showing tablet integration into business, a tablet can be much more than just an ing device. As a sales manager for Basfoods Australia, Sevda spends most of her time visiting customers, processing orders and checking stock levels. Having to stop and open a notebook every time she needed to access her files just wasn t practical. Portability was the key, and a Windows 7 tablet made it possible to get everything done she needed to do while on the road. She learned how to use a tablet to make her life easier. That s the most amazing thing about tablet PCs the fact that you can do almost anything with them, no matter what you do for a living or how you normally use your home computer. There are factors to consider of course. Everyone is a different user some of us have heavy PC needs on a daily basis. We perform desktop publishing tasks, manage complicated databases, respond to hundreds of s and much more. Others simply need to stay in touch with other people. Above all else, communication is the key to success for them. Some of us do all of these things and find ourselves waffling back and forth between three or four devices to keep it all straight. But with tablet PCs, everything is changing. It hasn t happened yet there is still a lot left to happen before technology catches up to the dreams and aspirations of its users but eventually tablet PCs will be capable of replacing any of your computing devices, if not all of them. Heck, some of us might end up with multiple tablets that we carry at different times. Some of them for the airplane, others for a weekend away, and others still for a day in the office. 5

6 That s the beauty of the format you can do anything with a tablet and eventually they will be lightweight enough and specialized enough to carry with you for specific tasks. Types of Tablet Users Before we dive head first into all the ways you can use a tablet PC to make life easier, let s look at the different types of tablet PC users out there right now. Too many conversations focus on how the tablet platform will change to reach the mainstream, but I don t like to think of any market as having a mainstream. Sure, there are consumers who generally use a computer for entertainment and , but with tablets, we re on the precipice of a major boom. When that happens, there will be dozens of types of users, and each type will have different needs and different definitions of productivity. To truly understand how people use their tablet PCs and what they can use to get more out of them, you first need to know what type of user you are and what you already expect from your device. Traditional Users While I don t feel there is such a thing as a traditional user when it comes to technology, there is a mainstream consumer class; the average Joe or Jane who buys a tablet because they want to read the newspaper at a coffee shop or check at the airport. For those of you that fall into this category, super powerful devices, enterprise applications, and high end graphics are not necessities. Your focus should be on accessibility and functionality. Power Users The tech set includes everyone who enjoys these devices for the sake of what they can do. They want the biggest, flashiest new hardware, the highest capacity storage, the brightest screens, the most powerful processors. The more a device can do the better. As for how the device will be used, if you fall into this class, your imagination is the limit. Install Linux, dual boot Android, jailbreak it, install PC games do whatever makes you happy. Enterprise Users Enterprise users can include either traditional or power users. The key here is more related to the way in which the technology can be integrated into an existing platform, now how the user wants to use it. How easily can files be transferred between devices? What is the security environment like? How many apps are available for enterprise integration? How friendly is the platform for remote support? If you are researching tablets for enterprise execution, productivity is the premiere concern, but within the context of a secure environment. Gamers and Entertainment Users Early tablets, post ipad, are mostly focused on entertainment and gaming. It s the flashiest category of content and it s universally 6

7 appealing to just about anyone who s ever played Tetris or Mario, so it s not surprising. However, productivity may not be the utmost concern for someone who simply wants a device on which they can watch movies and play games. Children Right now, very few devices are built specifically for children. The few that are tend to over simplify things. While the ipad could be used effectively by a young child, most parents are a little hesitant handing a $500-$800 device to a grade schooler, but in the future, you can bet a full range of education focused tablets will hit the market, hopefully with a palate of features that offers a chance for fun and education. Specialized Professionals Enterprise is one thing, but there are countless industries in which tablet technology can be used effectively to increase productivity. The most likely right now is the health care industry. As most health care systems digitize their records and admitting processes, tablets will allow on-the-go access to records, tests, and patient information for doctors and nurses, and provided highly valuable resources at the touch of the screen. Other industries that can look forward to productivity boosts from a tablet solution in the years to come include shipping, construction, theatre and live entertainment, and government among others. The list doesn t stop there. We could easily break this down into increasingly smaller groups of people who use their tablets in completely different ways. The point, though, is that not everyone is the same. In the first year or so of the revitalized tablet market, between the release of the ipad and ipad 2, companies all jumped on the all or nothing bandwagon, trying to create a device that would compete with Apple s consumer friendly entertainment device while offering enterprise and power user functions. For some it worked; for most, it did not. We need to recognize that there are a lot of subgroups out there, just as there are for standard PCs. Users who recognize which group they fit into and what their particular needs are will do much better in optimizing their tablet PC experience. What s Important to You? Which of course brings up my next question what is most important to you in a tablet PC? By reading any of the other books in my Tablet series, you know a bit about what I hold dear. I like interconnectivity, productivity boosts, and open platforms that drive innovation. I like anything that makes my life easier and I have some issues with software that limits the uses of a product by the end user. For example, even though itunes provides an infrastructure for quality control and a unified UI, I fear it also limits freedom and ties users into their devices as portals rather than freestanding computers. 7

8 But, everyone has different priorities, so consider for a moment where you stand on each of the following factors: App Ecosystem Right now there are a handful of different ecosystems you can choose to join. The current frontrunner and the likely leader of the market for at least another year or two is Apple s ios platform. Used on both the iphone and ipad, the ios focuses on entertainment and access to content. Developer solutions are highly encouraged however for dozens of other potential uses including document editing, video conferencing, gaming, and mobile entertainment. With more than 60,000 apps in the App Store and hundreds more added every day, the Apple ecosystem is by far the most vibrant. But, size and opportunity don t necessarily make Apple the best choice for those who want full control over how they use their device. Apple puts a number of heavy restrictions on its App Store, both in how apps are approved and how they are downloaded and distributed. Enterprise use of the ipad is encouraged, but with limited latitude to change how content is distributed, it will be interesting to see how companies handle security and content issues on the platform. That s why Android is so attractive to so many developers and enterprises. The ability to control how content is used and distributed on the Android platform makes it easier to customize the experience to a particular industry. Remote access to devices in the field is not only possible, it s encouraged, and with Google s suite of apps built into the operating system, users can easily tap into cloud tools that boost productivity across all devices. Microsoft s Windows platform is probably best suited for those with productivity in mind. Unfortunately, because Windows is not yet 100% optimized for touch screen use, the platform doesn t provide nearly the support it needs to be a viable replacement to Android or ios. More importantly, Windows is not a complete ecosystem. Right now, we re moving into a new age of computing where devices are defined as much by the OS and surrounding App ecosystem they utilize as by their hardware. Microsoft s model is outdated and inefficient. Expect something to change in the near future for both Windows tablets and how they are used. 8

9 Mobility After the apps and operating system used by your device, the mobility of that device becomes a major factor in how useful it is to you. For a tablet to be ideal in productivity situations it must be mobile, and that involves three important factors: Weight There are few complaints right now about the weight of tablets with only some exceptions. Most tablets have successfully found ways to reduce weight and create slim devices that pack enough power for their compact bodies. The real question here is whether you d prefer a 7 or 10 body for your tablet. I feel that the 10 model is ideal for productivity, both in terms of screen space and how easy it is to hold. However, some might find the 7 model easier for work because it is so much lighter and easier to store. Battery Life How long your tablet lasts in the field is also very important. There are two classes of tablets today those that run on ARM processors and get 6-10 hours of battery life and those that use Intel based processors and get between 3-6 hours of battery life. The latter consists mostly of Windows tablets and admittedly, it s a major drawback for the platform right now. It s being addressed, thankfully with Windows looking into both more energy efficient Intel processors and the next generation of ARM processors. More importantly, you can expect battery life to start increasing even more in the next year or two as new processor technology is developed and components are further reduced in size. A factor you may want to consider here is the availability of replaceable batteries. Slim devices like the ipad or Xoom do not allow you to swap out batteries. Not only does this tether you to a power cord if you need the device for long periods of time, but it requires you to send the device in for servicing when your battery dies in 2-3 years. Connectivity Finally there is the issue of connectivity to the Internet. There are three options right now WiFi, 3G and 4G. All tablets come with some form of Internet connectivity and there is some degree of debate over just how much access you need. Not only do 3G and 4G connections require monthly subscription to a mobile service provider, the radios increase the price of the tablet by $100-$200. We ll cover how each of these affects your decision more in-depth in a little bit. Hardware Tools Then there is everything else. The ecosystem and mobility are vastly important, but there are some features you may decide are important to your tablet experience. These hardware 9

10 features are not universally important though. Some people don t need a camera or SD slot while others wouldn t consider buying a device without them. Cameras Since the Galaxy Tab was released in 2010, every new tablet on the market has contained at least one front facing camera for video conferencing. The rear facing camera is optional, though it can be nice, simply because it provides an additional tool when in conversation. If you decide video conferencing is a necessity for your tablet, shop for the right camera to match your needs. Keep the software options in mind as well. The ipad 2 features Facetime, which is interoperable with the iphone and Macs, but Skype is more universal across all platforms Screen Resolution Tablet screens generally look very good. It s rare for a device to release with a muddy, foggy screen. After all, the device is 95% screen, so if that screen didn t look good, it wouldn t be a very attractive option, would it? However, beyond the screen looking good, there are varying degrees of resolution. Very few tablets approach the mind-numbing clarity of the iphone 4 and its HTC competitors with their super high resolution displays, but some come close and the effect is awe-inspiring. If you do detail based work on your tablet, this may be a bigger issue to you than other factors. Expansion - Most Android and Windows based tablets come with SD slots, if only because the technology is inexpensive and the feature is useful. People like to back up their content on external storage and SD cards are incredibly cheap. However, the ipad and ipad 2 both eschew the option for external storage. To be honest, with cloud storage and constant connectivity with 3G and 4G, I don t know how much longer this will be an issue for some users, but if you re in the camp of users who need physical media support, look for expansion slots. VGA Connectivity As great as a tablet is and as definitive as the format will become, sometimes you want to plug that 7 or 10 screen into something a little bigger and share the love. That s where VGA connectivity comes in. Not all tablets provide this support, and those that do don t always make it easy. Ideally, a good tablet will have a simple HDMI or VGA out that allows you to seamlessly plug your device into a TV or computer monitor. Launch a presentation from PowerPoint, share a video you recorded or simply watch a movie this way and you ll know why it s such a great feature. Of course, wires are quickly becoming a thing of the past and developments are being made to provide VGA support over Bluetooth. With more TVs supporting Bluetooth and almost all tablets supporting the wireless format, it s only a matter of time before you can stream anything to pretty much anything else. Accessories Rounding out your next tablet are the accessories you ll use to get the most out of the device. This includes a good carrying case, car charger, port replicator 10

11 and stylus pretty much anything you need to keep your device safe and accessible while on the go. The right accessories can turn a tablet experience from good into great. Other Factors What else should you be concerned with related to your tablet? There are a lot of features on these devices and not all of them are necessarily related to each of us. Here are some other things to consider when making a choice for your next device: Speed There are a few ways to measure the speed of a tablet, so I won t get into the technical details right away. However, most of the newest tablets available feature dual core processors like the Tegra V2. These processors are faster, more energy efficient and affordable, so they are very popular. Also look for enough physical memory (RAM) usually 1GB or more is plenty for a tablet PC, though the ipad 2 has 512mb and it s a speedy little device. Speakers A tablet is more than a portable media player so it needs to have the pipes for more than one person to hear it. Low audio quality can ruin a device designed to play movies, games and music on the go. Bluetooth You ll be hard pressed to find a tablet that doesn t provide Bluetooth connectivity but they are out there, so beware. Bluetooth is great for headphones, peripherals like digitizing pens and keyboards. Weight and Thickness The average tablet weighs between 1 and 2 pounds and is roughly 12 and 25mm in thickness. That s a pretty lightweight nifty gadget. However, keep in mind that although 2 pounds sounds very light, it is significantly more than a dedicated ereader or portable media player that can be held in one hand. For most users, the weight doesn t matter, but for those who literally take it on the go while walking or working lighter is better. HUGOMETER Your Algorithm for Choosing a Tablet Over the years, the intensely personal decision of how I buy a new tablet has often been determined by a few very important factors. I love tablet PCs and have since the first day I laid eyes on my TabletKiosk i213 Sahara Slate. It was a transformative experience the kind you only have a handful of times in your life and it taught me a very important lesson. You need to think through this process very carefully. Buying a tablet isn t like buying another PC. You can t just look for processor speed and storage and call it good. Each device is made for something different one might be good for a trip to 11

12 the park and another for video conferencing across the world. Another still might be perfect as a PC replacement while a different one offers the best potential entertainment options. So, I ve taken all of these factors and crafted what I like to call the HUGOMETER, a personal process I go through every time I buy a new tablet or slate and one I want to share with you here. Here are a few of the questions I ask when I run a computer down the HUGOMETER: Desktop Replacement On a scale of 1-10 how important is it that you can use your new tablet as the primary computing device in your arsenal? The higher you score here, the more important factors like VGA connectivity, docking, battery life, and software options become. Speed and Efficiency How fast does your tablet need to be? Are we talking make a Cheetah weep fast or just I need to read the news and watch an occasional video fast. Most tablets meet the challenge of speed, but just how high do you want to set the bar? Again, I use a 1-10 scale here. Finger or Pen? Basically, how important is it that the tablet offers a pen-based interface that allows inking? Is this vital or would you prefer an attractive tablet that focuses on multi-touch input? This might change depending on the device, but you should know which camp you belong in because each device offers different solutions for inking and interface. Connectivity and Expandability On a scale of 1-10, how important is it that the tablet PC be connected all the time and how much expansion should it support? An ipad offers almost no expansion with moderate connectivity through WiFi and 3G. On the other hand, some new tablets like the Xoom or Playbook offer 4G connectivity and plenty of expansion through USB ports and SD slots. How important is it that you remain connected 100% of the time and how will it affect your purchase? Screen Quality This used to be a big time concern in my HUGOMETER measurements. Smaller screens with full scale Windows and low quality resolution made it really hard to do anything on certain tablets. Today, most devices are at least 7 and for Windows, usually 10. Plus, they re freaking gorgeous. But, nonetheless, you want to make sure the screen covers your bases it needs to look good and be easy to work with. Too small and it ll be torture trying to write on your screen. Aesthetics Don t think I d forget the importance of looking good. Today, we have slicker, cooler, and fancier looking devices than ever before and it s nice. Apple gets kudos for making tablets attractive and everyone else followed suit. For hours of the day, you ll hold that curvy device and get things done and people will gawk and watch jealously. How important is the attractiveness factor in the end. 12

13 When it s all said and done and you have five scores for what matters most on your PC, it s time to sit down and add them up and then compare them to specific devices. We do this by scoring every device on your maybe list and seeing where it stands. Here s a quick peek at the spreadsheet I use to get this done you ll notice how I create separate columns for each potential device and then breakdown my needs and desires based on what each has to offer. Put the HUGOMETER algorithm to use properly and you ll find the perfect tablet or slate for your needs. There s no guarantee you won t find a new tablet you like a few months from now (as I often do), but when that happens, you can use this process again. The important thing is that you find a tablet or slate that fits your needs and that you don t buy whatever device happens to be the coolest or most popular right now. Which of these factors matters to you will depend largely on what you want to get out of your tablet PC? There are hundreds if not thousands of little quirks that you might find more important than someone else so make sure to sit down and map out your necessities in advance. 13

14 Security on a Tablet If you re an enterprise or power user and want to transition your everyday activities onto a tablet completely, your first concern should be for the security of the device. For some reason, users have a habit of ignoring security on a mobile device where they might be much more careful on their desktop. But, Android and Windows tablets are just as susceptible to viruses, adware, and spyware as your desktop, if not more so due to the constant connectivity of a tablet and the fact that it can get lost or stolen when you re away from home or the office. So, to ensure you can get the most out of your productive hours with a tablet, you must first secure it enough to feel comfortable using it in a coffee shop or at an airport. Software Infiltration The most immediate and familiar threat to any computing device is malware and viruses. We ve been combatting infections on our PCs for decades, using anti-virus software and firewalls to protect our personal files and accounts from malicious worms and bored hackers. But, tablets are just as highly at risk. If you own an ipad, the risk here is relatively low. Apple products are generally safe because of the approval process and control they have over all software on their devices. No other manufacturer produces the hardware and software and controls every piece of software that can run on the device. If you use a factory ipad or ipad 2 and don t jailbreak it, you won t have to worry about direct security breaches. However, Android devices are different. Because the operating system is written to work on multiple hardware profiles and because the App Marketplace is open and subject to infection as easily as anything you download on the Internet, you should have a good antivirus software suite installed. Google does take a proactive stance in fighting infection, using their kill switch abilities to remove apps from infected devices and delete content remotely, but even so, you should take a proactive role in the protection of your device. Here are some options for software: Lookout Lookout is a fantastic, easy to use Antivirus application for the Android platform that works well on the tablet and phone versions of the software. It also features options like find my phone which will work with a 3G or 4G enabled tablet. AVG AVG is one of the top free antivirus options for Windows and it offers a similarly powerful and affordable option for your Android phone. If you re interested in other 14

15 commercial options on your phone, Kapersky has one on the market as well. Anti-Virus Free This simple, free antivirus software is free and runs smoothly in the background of your device. How well it captures the newest viruses is hard to tell, however, so it might be better to go with a popular name like Lookout or AVG. If you own a Windows 7 tablet, the same software you use for your desktop or laptop will work equally well for your tablet. There are paid suites like Norton or McAfee antivirus or you can download free options like AVG or Avast. It really depends on how you use your device and how secure you need your data to be. Device Loss and Cloud Security For enterprise users, a major concern is the confidential data that tends to reside on a computer. You carry work files, s, and other pieces of information that should never be read by outside eyes. It s a primary concern for all IT departments well before a device can be integrated into the enterprise. Device loss is first and foremost a concern. Since all tablets have WiFi or 3G/4G connectivity, there are tools you can use to track your device through GPS. If someone turns the device on after it s been lost, you can remotely lock it and track it. This is available on ios as well as for Android. However, for enterprise environments, a more direct way to lock down content is important. That s why cloud computing has become so popular for many enterprise platforms. It allows users to store all of their personal and secure files on a remote server only accessible with a password. If a device is stolen, all data on that device is essentially inaccessible without a login to the cloud account. Remote Wipe Technology increasingly makes it possible to maintain security on a device hundreds of miles away just as easily as one sitting right next to you. It s a must in the go, go, go world of mobile technology and it s making tablets far more viable as an enterprise solution. Remote wiping is a key selling point for Windows and their Windows Mobile platform, especially when combined with Active Directory domains. Android too has embedded a feature 15

16 that makes it possible to safeguard a device as a last resort if it gets stolen or lost when out of the office. The idea is simple if you lose your tablet or someone steals it, you can wipe the device remotely the next time it is connected to an Internet connection. If the device is 3G or 4G enabled, that will be immediate. While Remote Wipe capability is a useful tool for all tablet owners, to me it stands heads and shoulders above security tools especially for enterprise users and IT departments. If your business is still considering what will work best for your next IT implementation, you can t go wrong with a Win7 or Android device you need this feature. 16

17 Online and Offline Interaction Productivity starts with accessibility. How easy is it to access your files and use them on the go? For enterprise users, this is an especially pressing question due to the bevy of security features designed to block access to sensitive data and information if a device is lost. Additionally, connectivity between a tablet PC and a wired in desktop is incredibly important. Without that connectivity, how do you access files on your desktop or transfer work back and forth easily? While both Google and Microsoft have cloud solutions that integrate with their operating systems and Apple s MobileMe service has been expanded in 2011 to provide better service to ipad users, I still rely pretty heavily on third party apps and software to keep my data connected between devices. Storage vs. Cloud When the ipad was first announced, some people were disappointed with the 16GB size of the smallest device. Over a year later, no one mentions storage capacity other than as a note of comparison to other devices. Unless you happen to carry a lot of multimedia on your tablet or if you have a number of apps that use a lot of storage space, the issue is moot. Cloud storage is simply more efficient and boosts productivity more readily than having on board storage. The one argument I can make here is that SD storage is a nice touch, if only because it allows you to securely move files on a physical chip, especially useful if you happen to be disconnected from the Internet at any time. However, for the most part, cloud storage through Box.net, Dropbox, or any of the other rapidly growing cloud services is ideal. Why are we moving so rapidly to the cloud? Think of it this way tablet PCs use flash storage, which has a fairly low capacity maximum compared to traditional disc-based storage on your desktop or laptop. Instead of terabytes, you re storing in gigabytes and to keep the cost down, most tablets have between 16 and 32 GB of storage. Additionally, if you store anything on your tablet, when that device is lost, it s very hard to ensure it doesn t get accessed by a third party. Cloud storage is limitless. You can upload hundreds of gigabytes to a cloud server and it is immediately accessible on any device anywhere in the world. That includes your mobile phone and laptop along with your tablet PC. 17

18 Imagine you re flying overseas and forgot to transfer a sales presentation to your SD card so you can call it up on your tablet and prepare for your meeting. Simple just login to your cloud server account at the airport and download the presentation to your tablet. Just like that, you have full access to everything you need no matter where you are. Combined with cloud printing and collaborative editing, cloud storage is making productivity tasks far easier when on the go. How Much Should You Need to Connect? At a certain point, you start to wonder exactly how much you should need to connect to your desktop PC. I wrote about this not too long ago in a blog post about GoToMyPC the remote desktop app for ipad and Android from Citrix. I love the idea and it fills a much needed gap in inter device connectivity but ideally, we shouldn t need to connect to these devices at all. A tablet PC, when used properly, takes over as many of the tasks of a desktop as possible. I know it s not possible to complete a whole day s work (most days at least) on a tablet just yet, but with the right tweaks to your productivity, it will soon be possible and that s important. Connectivity to a desktop won t end anytime soon, but right now it s becoming less important for people like NSW Australian of the Year and Planet Ark Co-Founder Jon Dee. He uses the Tega V2 to complete daily tasks and reduce the need for paper in his ongoing quest to save trees and encourage conservation in everyday living. Dee owns an ipad and loves it but he also has a Tega V2 because it provides the opportunity to completely disconnect from his desktop and the environmentally questionable use of so much paper. Using two separate tablets to tackle different aspects of his daily routine, Dee is able to reach new levels of productivity while minimizing the time he spends on a sit-down PC. Going Beyond App Stores Right now, most of what our tablets can do is measured by the app store ecosystem developed by their respective operating systems. Apple s App Store, Android s App Marketplace, and Intel s Meego AppUp Center are all highly touted ways to get content without spending a ton of money to buy a new tablet or software for your device. But, not every ounce of productivity that can be squeezed from a tablet will come directly from the app stores. A certain level of ingenuity and feature integration is needed by both the manufacturer and OS developer. 18

19 Apple s whole tablet strategy is based on this idea of 60 second increments. They want users to get what they need from their device in 60 seconds or less small bite-sized chunks that they can walk away from quickly. This is a major kink in their armor. Right now, there are users out there who are still enamored with just how cool the ipad is and how much it can do compared to a smart phone or other mobile devices that we were using just a few years ago. But, as users grow accustomed to tablet computing and touch screen productivity, things are going to change. They are going to want something more than bite sized apps and 60 second increments of information. They ll want tools that actually boost productivity something that has been limited in most of the currently popular tablets. And that requires at least a partial return to the idea of the OS and hardware configuration offering a fundamentally useful experience. Apple s ios is a portal to access the content in the App Store. The device itself is fairly limited in what it can do that makes it fast and easy to use, but if you actually want to replace your laptop or netbook with a tablet, the productivity gain isn t there yet. In time, we ll see companies tackle this issue and our tablet PCs will be completely different as a result I honestly can t wait! 19

20 Input on a Tablet The single most important aspect of productivity on a tablet for me is input method. How do you input data on your tablet and how fast can you adjust to the technology as it develops? In the past, we had one method of entering data on a computer the QWERTY keyboard. Developed almost a hundred years ago, the QWERTY keyboard is outdated and for a lot of people very uncomfortable. So, tablet PCs offer an opportunity unlike anything we ve ever seen before to overhaul the input methods we ve used for so long and provide instant, intuitive methods of using our devices. Which is best? It depends largely on your preferences, but here are the options currently on the market. Multi-Touch Let s start with the default interface for all tablet PCs currently on the market multi-touch. The development of high capacitive touch screens meant that these devices could suddenly be used easily with just the swipe of a finger. It s fantastic and it s what makes them so accessible to almost anyone on the planet. Depending on how you use your tablet PC and how attached you are to traditional input devices, multi-touch has its benefits and drawbacks. To start with, QWERTY input on a touch screen is not always easy, especially on a 7 screen where your fingers are highly unlikely to fit the full length of the device. Beyond QWERTY problems, writing with your finger is a bit sloppy. There is little control and not all apps allow you to rest your hand on the screen while writing. For other things, however, multi-touch is fantastic. A lot of very cool things have been done in gaming with the interface and the act of surfing the Internet in Safari or Chrome is simply wonderful an intuitive experience that you can t beat with a mouse and keyboard. Simply put, if you don t do a lot of typing or note taking on your tablet, the default finger-focused input system will work just fine for you. However, the more data you plan on putting into your device, the more you ll need to focus on some of the other methods listed below. Keyboards and Devices First on the list is keyboard input. I know that a tablet is designed to eschew the need for a keyboard, but sometimes you need to enter a lot of text and a keyboard is still the fastest way 20

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