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Turning your tablet into a productivity demon

Having the right tool for the job is something that differentiates you from being close to useless or highly efficient. GAVIN MOFFAT highlights a few tools for your iPad or Android tablet that turns it into a productivity tool instead of just a device to keep you entertained.

I have always been a firm believer in having the right tools for the job. It is the difference between being close to useless or hyper efficient.

Picture trying to take great shots for National Geographic using a two megapixel point-and-shoot camera. Whilst it is certainly possible to do, as someone proved by taking pics on an iPhone at the 2012 London Olympics for the UK’s Guardian newspaper (Google: iphone pics AND Guardian AND Olympics), it is not ideal. The less than optimal tool has gaps in its ability to perform the task at hand with sufficient ease. The right tool allows you to expend a greater deal of your efforts on producing an excellent result as opposed to focusing on the process.

So here are a couple of tools that will make your iPad or Android-based tablet the productivity tool that you need and want.

Dropbox (iPad and Android = Free). Cloud-based data storage and synchronization for files, photos, and documents. Accessible to whomever you want (or not).

QuickOffice Pro (iPad and Android = USD14.99). An office productivity tool that allows you to create and edit all Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations as well as view PDF files. You can also access, transfer and manage files from a variety of sources including Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote and SugarSync.

Air Display (iPad = USD9.99). Turns your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch into a wireless display, to extend or mirror your computer screen.

Two obvious ones are Kindle (iPad and Android = Free) for reading all those ebooks and the official Gmail app (iPad and Android = Free) for a neat interface for your email.

Apps like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype dovetail perfectly with their website counterparts. These are the apps that you should download the day that you get your tablet. They’re handy and easy enough for everyday use.

For in-depth analysis, news and opinion you can do no better than the local iMaverick (R490 per year). Other apps like Zinio, Pulse News and FlipBoard allow access to a large variety of international news sources with most of the content being free or the apps have a freemium model (a little for free and pay for more). The paid subscriptions are generally worth it though.

For general excellence the TED app brings you ‚”Ideas worth spreading‚”. Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has everything you need about movies, TV series and the like, for office hours research purposes of course.

The Harvard Business Reviews app HBR Tips gives trusted tips for business while Oblique Strategies from Brian Eno and the late artist Peter Schmidt is a unique way of approaching your daily decisions and should entertain and intrigue you with the seemingly random outputs.

Others include Splashtop (remote PC and Mac access tool), Qik Video (live video streaming from your iPad, Dragon Dictation (excellent and free dictation to document app), The Weather Channel (relatively obvious purpose) and lastly Unstuck which the makers call a new in-the-moment approach to personal growth for anyone who wants to live better every day. Doesn’t have all the answers but it is amazing what some clever minds can come up with.

So your tablet does not have to be a haven for Angry Birds. It can do so much more than just amuse.

* Follow Gavin Moffat on Twitter on @GavinMoffat

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