We’ve already had our fun with Honeycomb tablets and games, but now it’s time to get down to business with some serious productivity. Mobile tablets like the Galaxy Tab and IdeaPad K1 have a reputation as being consumption devices suitable for watching, but not creating content. However, that reputation is taking a hit thanks to the addition of Honeycomb USB hosting, where users can plug in any old USB keyboard as an input device, and these five productivity apps.
Quickoffice Pro HD ($19.99)
It may be a bit costly, but this productivity app blows the doors off all other Office wannabes. Quickoffice Pro HD (the “HD” reference being what makes it a Honeycomb-optimized app and differentiates it from its slightly cheaper Android-optimized cousin) lets you create, view, and edit files in Microsoft’s “Big Three” programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Essentially, this is the app that marks the evolution of tablets from fun gadgets to viable remote workstations.
Quickoffice Pro HD also comes equipped with some nifty bonus features, like clipboard access that lets you cut and paste between apps, and voice input dictation (otherwise known as text to speech) that brings with it a “gee-whiz-the-future-is-now” vibe.
If you’re thinking that the price tag of $19.99 is a bit steep, you’d be partly right. For purposes of simply having the app on your tablet, it’s far too much to appeal to the sensibilities of impulse buyers – but you see, that’s exactly the point. Quickoffice Pro HD is serious business, and when viewed in that light, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s appropriately priced.
DualWeb Browser ($0.99)
Heavy tablet usage reveals the platform’s flaws. For example, if your activities require you to maneuver back and forth between browser tabs at high frequency in order to get your work done, you will be driven insane because today’s Honeycomb tablets and the iPad do not display more than one web page at any given time. DualWeb Browser, as you might imagine, solves that problem handily by splitting your tablet screen in half (or stacking browser windows in a top-to-bottom orientation for vertical viewing) and giving you two fully operational web browsers.
Needless to say, it’s an app far more suited for Honeycomb tablet screens that have the available real estate to split up, although it can be used for the much smaller screens inherent in Android smart phones – it’s just not nearly as cool when you have to squint. A relatively simplistic, no-frills app that brings multi-task browsing to the next level, plunking down a measly 99 cents will upgrade you from the free version of the app to the paid version, where the only difference between the two is the absence of ads. Well worth the cost, even if your motives aren’t all business and the only reason you’re looking forward to using it is so you can track this week’s playoff scores while replying to your business email, all under the guise of multi-tasking.
Thinking Space Pro ($4.86)
It’s always interesting to discover a productivity app whose purpose is difficult to put down in words. In the case of Thinking Space Pro, it signifies the potential for limitless usefulness.
In a nutshell, what Thinking Space Pro does is give the user a platform on which to create an on-the-fly visual mind map that can be used to create a workflow for complex projects. The application’s usability across various platforms including computer desktop, smartphone, and tablet make it something of an indispensible tool for the thought leader on the go, and the high functionality that allows a user to add file hyperlinks for things like images, PDF files, or even audio make it well worth the reasonable – and some might say ultra-cheap – download cost.
There’s a bit of a learning curve involved though, especially for those that aren’t familiar with this type of visual mapping, but once you get the hang of it you’ll start to ask yourself how you ever got along without it. A killer productivity app with a full screen mode that seems to have been made for use in a tablet environment, this isn’t just for executive-level users, but can also be used by students to amp up their level of academic performance.
Dropbox stands out among others of its ilk by having what’s quite possibly the most appropriately descriptive name for its purpose. In this case, you don’t even have to put any brain activity into the operation of the app, which is so intuitive that you’ll probably find yourself skipping right past the “Getting Started” PDF tutorial.
Dropbox is a cloud storage app that’s free to download and brings with it 2GB of space, complements of the house. That’s not too shabby for casual purposes, but if you think you’re the type who’ll get a lot of mileage out of it, you can upgrade to 50GB for $9.99/month ($99 per year), 100GB for $19.99/month ($199 per year), or 350GB+ plans that’ll run you even more. All you have to do is set up a user ID and password and you’ve got immediate access to a dedicated cloud storage folder where you can drag and drop all manner of filetypes including documents, photos, videos, and audio files. All can be accessed using separate computers and mobile devices, and you can even share your content with other users in other locations.
Adobe Reader (Free)
Although it’s not likely that you’ll ever buy a Honeycomb tablet that doesn’t already come equipped with some sort of pre-loaded PDF reader, where a free app like Adobe Reader comes in handy is in the area of familiarity and comfort. You might even go so far as to say that Adobe Reader works better on a tablet, if for no other reason than the fact it eliminates the use of a mouse, which has always seemed a bit intrusive and counter-productive, in favor of its touch-based functionality.
Adobe Reader is also easily upgradable. If you develop the need to start creating your own PDF files, you can switch up from Adobe Reader to Adobe CreatePDF for a relatively reasonable $9.99 download fee. Once you’ve got the expanded capabilities installed, you can easily convert existing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, RTF, and text files (among others) to PDF format for easier shareability across different platforms and devices.