Posted by mikeymo1741

I understand that iPads are awesome.  I get it.  But there is a lot of awesomeness packed into an Android tab as well, and in some cases, the ‘droid does stuff better than the iPad.   So then, here are ten cool things you can do with your Android tablet.   (I am using an Acer A500 running 3.2 Honeycomb 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich.  I also know that the iPad can do a lot of this stuff.)

So if you are on the fence about stepping up to a tablet, here are some reasons why.

1. Google Earth  – Google Earth is way, way cooler on a multi-touch than it is on a desktop.   Using your fingers, you can soar over landscapes, rotate orientation, and change altitude and angle.  It really feels like on of those CSI-like displays you see on TV.
2. Use it as a music stand – If you are a musician, there is a great app called MobileSheets which is like an electronic songbook.  Using the companion desktop application, or natively from the app itself, you can load pdf or image files of chord charts, lyric sheets, sheet music, lead sheets… whatever.  They can be organized many ways, and sorted into setlists.  You can use your finger or a bluetooth page turner to flip through the charts, and there is a built in media player and metronome.
3. Watch HD TV – The A500 has an HDMI port built into it.  When connected to an HDTV, it streams video at 720p effortlessly.   No Netflix device, no problem.  Just hook this puppy up and watch away.  I was watching for a few hours the other day on battery with no issues.  The tab detects the TV as soon as you plug it in, changes the orientation and begins streaming audio and video. Now if I could just figure out how Netflix makes its “suggestions.” ( Buy the cable on Amazon – I only paid 3 bucks!)
4. Read a good book – All tablets, including the iPad, have built in e book apps, and there are dozens more available on the various markets.  My favorite is the Nook app, but there are many others.  While it is not, obviously, like turning pages in a real book, there is a convenience to it.  Plus, I can read in the dark. The Nook app can go from black on white to white on black, as can most of them.  Using a tablet is not as comfortable as using an e-ink reader if you read a lot, but it is great for the occasional to moderate reader.  The Nook app works well, and you can easily side-load your own books, including Adobe Digital Editions DRM-protected books (using the desktop app to authorize your tab.)
5. Draw a picture – I just found the Autodesk Sketchbook Express app, and I love it.  It’s great for doodling or serious sketching, depending on your level of talent.  The controls seem quite intuitive and easy to use, and the free version is quite powerful.  I can’t imagine what the paid version does.
6. Read a Feed – There are several RSS readers available, but my current favorite is Google Currents.  The app organized your selected feeds into virtual magazines, complete with tables of contents and shortcuts. To be honest, my blog looks better on currents than it does on the desktop.
7. Write this Blog! – Tablets – whether an iPad, an Android, a Playbook, whatever – are really much better tools for consumption than creation.  That doesn’t mean you can’t create on them, though.  A tab can be a handy way to blog on the go, and I use both the Blogger and WordPress apps all the time.  The A500 has a full-sized USB 2.0 port, so plugging in a cheapo keyboard is a snap, if you don’t feel like using the onscreen keyboard or springing for a bluetooth one.  There is even a nifty case that has a small keyboard built into it.
8. Listen to tunes – While the built in media player is fine, there are a lot of better ones on the market.  I use Google Music for most of my listening, so I use that for my regular player as well, although I really like 3 as well.  The A500 has Dolby sound, and it sounds great through decent earbuds or headphones.  Organizing music is a lot easier on the 10in screen then on my ‘droid phone!
9. Edit some video – Ever take some video on your smartphone, and think that it’s too long or that it needs some music, but your desktop is nowhere near?   No problem.  Just load up Movie Editor and get editing.  You’re not going to render The Empire Strikes Back into 3D or anything, but you can do quite a bit of “quick and dirty” editing without needing a desktop.  And then off it goes to Youtube.
10. Play a game – Duh!   Gaming is the high point of owning a tab.  Full motion racing, high-def aerial dogfighting, physics-based puzzles, Angry Birds…  whatever it is, tabs do it better than phones!  So go have fun! Try the ridiculously addictive Apparatus.

10 Responses to Ten Cool Things to Do With Your Android Tab

  1. Ami says:

    I really enjoyed your article and read it and am now typing out a response to it on my brand new Acer a500 (running Android 4).

  2. Matt says:

    Was pretty disappointed with this list. Basically half of the list are things that come pre installed on most tablets. The rest are things I think most ppl know about already. Nice try but next time try to put more apps that everyone hasn’t already downloaded!

    • mikeymo1741 says:

      Well, in truth, only 4 of the apps mentioned came pre-installed.

      I suppose that I wrote this more for the non-Android user or the non-tablet owner who is considering a purchase. It is far and away the most popular post this year. And a surprisingly high number of readers are Mac users. (as are you, I believe.)

      But I appreciate the feedback. Maybe I do need to make things a little deeper.

      • Matt says:

        Nope actually posting this from my moto xoom :)

        I think the popularity of this list may come from people googling ‘cool things to do with android tab’ and your article appears first.

        not really a bad article i just think most ppl already know or would know about these apps.

        • jim says:

          I would have to agree. The title is slighting misleading and this doesn’t really help someone that already owns a tablet. Title should be “10 most COMMON things people do on a android”. I’ve only had my tablet for 1 week and can already think of a few things that are cooler and not on this list. I found this searching for “Cool things to on tablet” in Google, hoping I would find things that everyday users don’t know about and this came up first. I feel this is more in the realm of “Common” things to do but maybe others would disagree? Either way, thanks for taking the time to write the article and it is good info for people that don’t know much about android devices.

          • mikeymo1741 says:

            Thanks for the comment. This post was written with the idea it would help people who are new to Android, or who are considering a move.

          • John Turner says:

            Hi Jim. I don’t find your comment helpful at all. Since you are already an expert and have found “cooler” things to do with your tablet then why not share them instead of wasting space.

  3. Devona Beckes says:

    There are other options out there; Windows 8 tablets such as the Surface, Ativ Tab and VivoTab Smart are starting to creep out, plus the BlackBerry PlayBook is still somehow on sale – but Android Jelly Bean is currently the main OS rival to the iPad 4 and iPad mini.`

    Please do browse our favorite web site

    • mikeymo1741 says:

      Yea, you are correct. This was written before Windows 8 was out, but the new Surface tabs are excellent. No matter your ecosystem, there is plenty of choice these days.

  4. JBPA says:

    Something else cool you can do is download A emulator app and then some roms from a site like emu roms onto your micro sd and play old snes,nes, sega, Gameboy advance basically games from every system ever created and this also by passes the not being able to store games on your sd card you can store the roms on your sd and play them through the emulator apps.

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