Featured: Week 1 – 30 days with an Android tablet

| April 5, 2012 | 2 Replies

There were some things that I knew would be pain points for me going into this 30 day challenge, but my first few days on this challenge have been, well, challenging.

I knew that I was going to miss HBO Go on my iPad, but I have access to it on my Google TV. This hasn’t been a good TV watching week for me, so that hasn’t really been much of an issue just yet. My frustrations all involved things that I knew were issues, but were magnified when I had no other device to turn to.

First up, even with a Bluetooth keyboard it’s difficult to use a tablet like a computer. Don’t anybody start with the Transformer thing, I want a 7 – 8” tablet and the Transformer just isn’t going to do it for me. Sitting at my desk or at a table there really aren’t any issues, other than the fact that I rarely sit at my desk these days. Typing in bed or or out on the deck? Yeah, not so much. Typing has been an issue.

Getting things done
Next up, the Google Docs app can be really frustrating. Google has decided that 7” tablets, even those that are running ICS can’t use the tablet interface for the Docs app. I can live with that. The more difficult part are the rudimentary editing tools and the lack of a customizable view.

When the Google Docs app was essentially just a viewer app I bought Quickoffice Pro for my phone. Amazon had it on sale for $2.99 and I had grown very tired of dealing with Documents To Go. I was using the phone version of Quickoffice on my tablet, then Google had the HD version on sale for $14.99, so I bought it. That was all great and good when my tablet was running Honeycomb, but after my factory reset and ICS update, Quickoffice isn’t showing for my tablet.

I asked for some help from Quickoffice and four or five days later they asked for my transaction number and wanted to know which version of the HD app I was running, even though I can’t download it. I submitted the info with 10 minutes of getting the request and now, four or five days later I’ve heard nothing.

I settled on Office Suite Pro, which I apparently got as a free app from Amazon. It offers me the tablet interface and it doesn’t suffer from any of the well known issues that Quickoffice has with Excel files. So, all things considered, that’s been a real win for me.

Not all bad after all
My issues with adjusting to the disconnected keyboard and document editors aside, it was a very positive week for me. I really like the Gmail app, and I write much shorter emails now than I do when I’m using my MacBook.

I’ve also become very good at getting appointments and meetings entered into my calendar in a more timely fashion. Because of the layout of the calendar app on my phone I would constantly write appointments and meetings in a notebook or on a sheet of paper, then hoped that I would remember to enter into my calendar from my MacBook. Well, the layout on my tablet is much better and I didn’t carry a pen with me all week.

I was also thrilled to find Cortado Workplace in the instruction manual for my new Brother WiFi laser printer. Cortado Workplace is a Dropbox like online storage provider, but their application also includes drivers for a number of printers. You can print a document from any application by sharing it to Cortado Workplace. I have been able to print my files directly to my new printer and that saved me a number of cheats this week.

The last real bright spot for me has been using my tablet as a gigantic 7” GPS device in my truck. I haven’t given up my phone as a part of this challenge, but I really am trying to do as much as I can without it. I got a suction cup window mount and charger from Amazon and I’ve been tethering to my Palm Pre all week. It’s a really, really great display to use as a GPS and I’m loving it.

That’s the good and the bad for this week. It was a short week, and I had a lot of things going on that have kept me from getting much done. Oh, and I now have this new word game that is absolutely killing my productivity. Next week’s update will no doubt include more productivity ups and downs as well as some entertainment topics as well as things are hopefully more normal for me over the next week.

Oh, and yes, I did cheat. Not once but twice.
First, I had to print my Radiohead tickets and I just couldn’t make it work with my tablet and Cortado Workplace, so I broke out the MacBook for that. I also had some documents that I had to scan for an upcoming project and I had no other way to do it than to fire up my desktop.

You can follow along as I post short updates to my Twitter account and Google+ page.

Category: Android News

About Randy Arrowood ()

I'm a 40 something early adopter of all things technology. I was first in line to buy both my original Verizon Droid and my Apple iPad 1. I don't hate your phone or tablet choice, but I've probably got an opinion about it. Aside from my family, the only things that I love more than a new gadget are fly fishing and going to the ballpark. Ocassionaly I find a way to blog about both. Though I'm only one more Foxconn story away from being fired, I've been writing for Android Headlines since March 2011.
  • Felix

    Hi Randy, nice article, I also use a tablet as my mobile companion (galaxy tab 7″), an app that i’m using for scan documents from my tablet is camscanner.

    • Randy Arrowood

      I have CamScanner, or at least something similar. I needed higher resolution, PDF and one continuous document. It would have been impossible to do without using my all-in-one printer and a computer to do the job.