What do cooking New Orleans-style food, piloting airplanes, playing piano, and making investor relations presentations have in common? For me, they're all better due to tablet computers.
While early tablets like my first-generation iPad provided a great experience, I wasn't blown away initially ' it was essentially a larger iPod Touch. After using many different devices over time, however, I came to realize that much of my professional life and many of my personal interests could seriously improve thanks to tablets.
I currently own and use seven different tablets now, and four of them have become specific devices to help in personal and work life.
My Google Nexus 7 tablet contains all the charts I need ' no paper required.
A tablet is my co-pilot.
People are always surprised how paper-intensive planning airplane flights used to be. Navigation calculations were formerly done by hand, but even with the advent of computers you'd still print them out.
Sectional charts for each airport area and maps of each airport terminal were also a must. With my flight bag in hand, I'd head to my plane with a thick stack of paper sectional charts stuffed in it.
Now I plan my flights on a Google Nexus 7 tablet that I keep in my flight bag. It contains all the charts I need ' no paper required ' and it's always up to date. While in flight, I can track my progress, examine charts and find out the latest weather conditions at my destination. With a long battery life, keeping it charged up during flights is not an issue.
Tegra-assisted sous chef.
Cooking New Orleans-style food is one of my passions, and working in my kitchen has become a lot easier since I mounted a Tegra-powered 10-inch tablet under a cupboard. Previously, I would have a number of cookbooks open, with printouts and papers scattered around the counters. Now, I have easy access to roughly 20 cookbooks and quicklinks to my favorite cooking websites, like LouisianaCooking.com.
The 10-inch screen is large enough that I don't have to peer at it. I can conveniently tend the stove or work from a prep area while following a recipe. And so far the screen and seals have held up well to sauce-covered fingers flipping through recipe pages!
A Tegra-powered tablet contains my sheet music, and a quick swipe turns the page.
Swiping to the next page of music.
I've been playing piano since I was seven and one constant in all those years is the enormous stacks of sheet music that you need to have on hand. Plus, when you get to the end of the page, you need to free up a hand to turn it, which can be hit or miss if you don't get a good hold of the page.
I now have a dedicated Tegra tablet
with an Android app called MusicNotes that stores all my sheet music in the cloud. I can access it from any device, anywhere. And turning the page is now a fast swipe of the finger.
Laptop on leave.
The PC I now carry around with me on business trips is no longer an x86 notebook PC. It's the Lenovo Yoga 11, powered by a Tegra 3 processor
. With its light weight and back-bending display, I can pass it around a meeting room like a tablet or orient it like a laptop or for working on a desk. It runs Windows RT and, most importantly for my job, Microsoft Office.
Many of the things I need for my job as head of investor relations at NVIDIA have become apps on tablets. With Office loaded and a battery life that typically lasts longer than a day, it has become the PC I take with me, instead of my notebook.
I'm on the road a lot and the Lenovo Yoga 11 is also my entertainment hub. I used to stuff a large stack of magazines and books into my bag, but now it's all on my tablet. Plus, I download at least two movies and I can play my favorite games while on the road.
Back at the house the Lenovo Yoga 11 is perfect for consuming information. It's by my bedside so I can check the stock market and latest financial news as soon as I wake up. During the day, I check email for work. In the evening, it's got all my books and magazines for winding down.
It's becoming obvious to me that consumers would rather have a great touch tablet
than a cheap PC. Industry analysts project that tablets will overtake notebook PCs this year, but I have discovered firsthand how tablets make both my professional and personal life easier. With prices coming down, they're becoming affordable and practical to have in many places in the home, as well as serving the role of a PC taken on the road.
Can tablets or Android devices that are optimized for specific interests or functions be far behind? I don't think so. Just like an iPad was an iPod Touch made easier for reading, and NVIDIA's own Project SHIELD
is an Android device that makes Android gaming better, I think you're already seeing the start of specialty Android devices changing the way we work and play.