Okay, I get it, not everyone is like most of us here at Android Headlines – people don't always use their tablets anywhere near half as much as we do. That's fine, perhaps you're terrible with touchscreen keyboards – I know I was, maybe you don't play a lot of games, you read on your Kindle, your Tablet is getting neglected.
This doesn't matter much, if you're not the type of person that doesn't use their tablets that much, whether that be because your Kindle is the love of your life, or that you spend so much time with a computer that another screen is just simply superfluous. Well, I feel your pain – you want to use the Tablet just not really use it like you normally would. I've had days where I've spent so much time on the PC or just not really wanting to go on the net or play games that my tablet has literally just laid there – weeping like a sad puppy.
Luckily, though, Android has a number of tricks up its sleeve to let you use these Tablets without feeling like you're really using them. I'm going to explore some of the ways my Tablet gets use even if I don't really want to use it.
First of all, you're going to want to get a stand of some sort – it's not really required or anything, but having a tablet stand is fantastic. For my 7" Acer A100 I built one out of Lego before my girlfriend bought me a Griffin Arrowhead. This little gizmo is amazing and if you have a tablet you need to buy one, right now. It fits your pocket, fits most tablets and even has grippy rests to lay a tablet at a slight incline – perfect for when you actually have to use that keyboard or just want to be super lazy when playing Angry Birds. There's a whole host of stands on the market and I'm sure a lot of you already have one – as such, I'm not going to go into them here.
As with most things on mobile devices today it all starts and ends with an app. We're going to rely solely on a number of apps to use, but not really use our tablets here. To clear up my point by using without really using I basically mean how to not let them go to waste without really getting in our way too much – think of this as a rundown on how to turn your tablet into a dumb news ticker, clock or for more media consumption.
This is an app that I've been using for some time and one that I've thoroughly enjoyed, it's a fantastic app that is simple in design but, stellar in execution. It essentially becomes a nightstand sort of affair with news, time and weather. I've loved using it and whilst I don't use the alarm functionality it's certainly the best damn clock I've ever owned. It's a great desk companion, you can set the news to update as often as you like – the sources of which are, in my usage, fantastic. The weather is simple, to the point and accurate. All of this is wrapped up in a package that works nicely in portrait or landscape and well designed but understated and minimal, perfect for glanceable info. A must have for those who lose track of time and are too lazy to look out of the window – aka me.
This goes without saying, YouTube on Android tablets is a fantastic experience and at times has completely killed my productivity with the ability to get to hundreds of Minecraft videos. In all seriousness, though we all know that YouTube can be entertaining as well, almost, productive. It's great for HowTo videos and tutorials along with cooking instruction as well. With that tablet at your side you can truly watch a YouTube video without having to pause, swap tabs or apps and end up having to rewind. I use my tablet and YouTube for GIMP tutorials on Linux, whilst I enjoy my photo editing progress on my Desktop's screen unencumbered. The great thing about it is that it's as much use as you make of it, the more you get used to standing a tablet up for YouTube the better it gets. I have two tablets and at times – just because I can, I suppose – one will play YouTube as a review work on the other. It's fantastic and I love YouTube even more.
Plume for Twitter
I might be opening a can of worms here but, it's a risk I must take. Twitter is great and whilst I'm not all that active these days I still use it to get updates on News, Gadget News and to hear from my favorite writers around the web. I find that Plume is best for this with its multi-column view on tablets. Having a static display for Twitter alone is pretty great and helpful at times if you follow solid users and sources. Of course, if you don't use Twitter all that much, then this isn't for you. As always, if you've found a better app for Twitter on tablets please tell me in the comments!
Beyondpod for Honeycomb
Fear not, lucky Ice Cream Sandwich users, this works just as it should on Android 4.0. This is a brilliant app, a sort of swiss army knife, it handles your RSS and your podcatching duties as a double whammy. It's designed with tablets in mind and features everything you need in an RSS reader, including Google Reader integration, too. Its ability as a podcatcher is full-featured, too. I listen to a lot of podcasts and most of them on a tablet whilst cooking, working or playing a few games online. To be able to have them downloaded and stored in app just for them is really neat – no longer do I have to worry about downloading and organising them on my SD cards. A great app for news readers and podcast lovers alike.
Catch me next week on Tablet Tuesdays!