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Got a New Tablet or Smartphone? Check Out These 5 Must-Have Apps

Tablets

Tablets like the Google Nexus, Kindle Fire and iPad Mini topped Christmas wish lists in 2012. Over 17 million mobile devices came online on Christmas Day alone, according to Flurry, a mobile and online analytics company. So chances are you or someone you know is the proud owner of one of these tablets.

To help you start the new year off right and get the most from your new tablet, here’s my list of recommended apps every user should download from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store.

Pick Healthier Foods Using Fooducate

Eating more nutritious and wholesome foods is a popular new year’s resolution. It’s not so easy to simply read the label on a food product and know how healthy it really is. That’s where the Fooducate app can help.

Simply scan the barcode on the food’s packaging and all the pertinent information you need appears on your screen – from calories per serving to a letter grade that helps you determine the overall health value of the item. You can also view suggested recipes incorporating the food you’re considering.

Get Fit, Stay Fit with Fitness Buddy

Hopefully by the time you read this you haven’t given up on your exercise and fitness goals for 2013. If you have, well, here’s some hope and help.

Fitness Buddy is a comprehensive exercise planner and personal trainer built into your tablet. The paid app boasts over 1700 exercises with 1000 video demonstrations and 75 workout routines. It comes complete with detailed descriptions of all the exercises, ability to search for exercises using certain equipment, and so much more. You can create your own custom workouts, and most importantly, keep track of your progress.

Stay Organized with Evernote.

Ever write something important on a piece of paper only to not be able to find it later?

Evernote is, in my opinion, the best note keeping app available. It allows you to create text, image, and audio notes, organize them into folders, easily search all notes, bookmark favorite websites, and more. Even better – you can install Evernote on all your electronic gadgets (smartphones, tablets and computers) and sync all your notes – making them available to you no matter where you’re at.

Plan the Perfect Trip with TripAdvisor

Getting advice and opinions from someone who’s been there, done that can prevent much frustration and disappointment. TripAdvisor offers over 75 million reviews from travelers who have ventured to the world’s most popular (and not-so-popular) destinations.

For your next vacation or weekend getaway, use TripAdvisor to help you find the best hotels, restaurants and activities.

Listen to Your Favorite Tunes on Slacker Radio

Although I’m still a fan of Pandora Internet Radio, the Slacker Radio app is becoming my favorite on-demand music app on my Google Nexus.

The Slacker Radio app comes with over 100 genre stations built-in, but also allows you to create your own custom station based on the songs and artists you like. Purchasing a Plus or Premium subscription (which is dirt cheap) allows you to play songs on demand, store favorite stations on your tablet so you can listen to music without an Internet connection, and much more.

Just For the iPad and iPad Mini Users

Many of my clients ask for training on how to use their mobile devices. I recently discovered this excellent online training for the iPad device, which I would highly recommend to all new iPad owners.

This online training contains over 100 videos that teach you everything you need to know to use and have fun with your iPad. You can learn at your own pace and even watch videos over and over again if you need clarification.

To check out this stellar iPad training and to watch a sample video, sit down at your computer and go to: http://bit.ly/VXBYjf

I’m still researching an excellent training series for owners of the Google Nexus or Kindle Fire, so if you have one of those devices, stay tuned!

Please share with me your favorite tablet apps and why you like them. Simply send me an email at info@calibre-cs.com.

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So Many Choices! Which Tablet Should I Buy?

Tablets

Gift-buying is in full swing with Christmas arriving exactly two weeks from today. Tech gadgets are one again a very popular present, especially portable tablet devices like the Apple iPad, Kindle Fire, or Google Nexus.

Whether shopping online or in-store, you’re faced with an overwhelming number of different tablets to choose from. I’ve had numerous individuals call over the past two weeks seeking advice and guidance about which one they should purchase. Here’s some of what I shared with them.

First, tablets are not just mini computers. So if you’re looking to replace a desktop or laptop computer with a tablet, you’ll be seriously disappointed.

Tablets are designed mostly for checking e-mail, light Internet browsing, playing simple games, and reading e-books. You can do some simple word processing tasks, like writing a letter, on them, but many users find it more difficult due to the tablet’s smaller size and on-screen keyboard.

Second, you need to decide your preference of an operating system that runs your tablet: Apple’s iOS or Android. This is where the decision becomes a bit more difficult and really boils down to price.

Only Apple iPad and iPad Mini run the Apple iOS. Apple’s tablets are very user-friendly and easy to use. You also have access to a very large selection of programs (called apps) in the iTunes Store. If you use an iPhone, you will have no problem using an iPad.

The iPad and iPad Mini are at the higher end of the price spectrum – starting at $329 for the iPad Mini to as much as $829 for the iPad.

Apple’s tablets do have one significant drawback – they do not include built-in support for Adobe Flash. This can prevent you from viewing certain – and a growing number of – websites that use Adobe Flash to display portions of the site’s content. There are hacks and workarounds to resolve the issue, but not ideal to have to do this out of the box.

The Android operating system runs all other tablet devices. This includes Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Google Nexus, Asus Transformer, Samsung Galaxy, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and a long list of others.

Most Android tablets are comparable to each other. Just like the iPad, the Android devices are very user-friendly and easy to use. A sizeable selection of games and other apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

Android tablets are more affordable than the iPad – starting at around $150. You can find some cheaper tablets, but these are typically off-brand. I would strongly recommend staying away from them.

If you’re looking at purchasing an affordable, easy-to-use tablet, my choice is the Google Nexus. You can choose either the smaller 7-inch device or the larger 10-inch device. The Kindle Fire is a close runner-up, but the Google Nexus offers a better user experience, especially when it comes to the number of available apps that can be installed on the device.

The Android operating system is now being developed by Google, so its own devices are going to have the latest updates first.

I personally own a Google Nexus 7 and absolutely love it. It’s fast, easy to use, and is very lightweight.

To purchase the Google Nexus, you can order it directly from Google at http://www.google.com/nexus.

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Should You Buy An iPad or Laptop?

iPad

“Scott, I’m thinking about buying an iPad and doing some research. I know very little about them, except that they are very handy,” Janet wrote me in an email a few weeks ago. “I’m curious. What are the benefits of an iPad over a laptop?”

With the advent of numerous mobile computing devices like iPad, the Kindle Fire, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the new Google Nexus 7, many computer users – maybe even you – are asking the same question.

Which is better – a laptop or a tablet?

There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. As with all technology purchasing decisions, it comes down to you answering two important questions: 1) What do you need or expect the device to do?  2) How much are you willing to invest?


What Will You Be Using The Device For?

This is the most important question when purchasing any technology device – or anything for that matter. For example, you need transportation. You can choose between a bicycle, a moped, a motorcycle, a car, and a truck. You have to answer certain questions to determine which of those vehicles will meet your specific needs.

It’s the exact same when choosing between a laptop and a tablet. What will you want or need to do on the device?  Are you only checking email?  Will you do a lot of typing?  Will the size of the screen affect what you will be doing?  Do you need a device that offers plenty of storage for files and pictures?  Will you need to edit pictures?  Will the device be used for business or pleasure?  Do you prefer a traditional keyboard with real keys or an on-screen keyboard?

The list of questions could be quite lengthy. But taking time to answer questions like these will help you make the right purchasing decision. After all, no one likes to buy something only to find out that it doesn’t work like they had hoped.

Tablet vs. Laptop Comparison Chart

Once you’ve decided on either a laptop or a tablet, your work isn’t done. You then have to select among the variety of options available for the product you chose.

For example, if you determined a tablet would meet your needs, you now have to decide between iPad and one of the dozens of Android-based devices. Each of them has its own pros and cons.

 

How Much Are You Willing To Invest?

Once you’ve determined the right device that meets your needs, then it’s appropriate to consider the cost. You may find the perfect device that fits right in your budget. Or you may find that to get exactly what you need may cost a little more than you had expected. Then you have to decide whether to pay the extra or scale back on what you need.

I personally own both a laptop and a Google Nexus 7 tablet. For most things, I find myself using the laptop because it’s much easier for me to use – a full-size keyboard that’s easier to type on, a larger screen to be able to view documents and websites in their entirety, and the availability of all the software programs that I need to use.

I generally only use my Nexus 7 tablet for checking email, reading Kindle books, checking Facebook and Twitter, and tracking my vehicle mileage.

So many options make it challenging to determine the perfect device for your needs. As always, I’m here to offer advice and help you navigate the ever-changing world of technology.