iPads, Droid Tablets and Cloud services

So, I’ve had the iPad for a few months now … and all the previous annoyances have not gone away. Though, the killer app (Goodreader) is still the primary reason I haven’t handed it to Ingrid and moved onto a Droid tablet.

A friend of mine did get the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet I was considering. Using it, I did have envy. It feels solid. It has a wacom tablet screen and stylus that has pinpoint accurate drawing and writing recognition that is beyond expalnation to someone who has not had the pleasure of using the cintiq. It also has your “standard” finger and gesture abilities but with the added benefits of smarts like palm recognition. I can’t rave on about it enough! Add Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and it really is something worth considering.

In looking at both the iPad and Android platforms again it was time to reconsider applications and services. This led us to the http://alternativeto.net/ site to search for cross platform versions and services.

I also started thinking about the cloud based services I use and just wanted to put them down for posterity.

  • Google App Services : why I use these is a no brainer really – with integrated Gmail, Google Talk, Calendar, Google Docs (now Drive) and other Collaboration apps all available at a touch.
  • Cloud Storage :
    • SugarSync : I was a huge fan of Dropbox, but SugarSync has stolen my heart. It offers more initial space (5G vs 2G) and has w configurable syncing, sharing and search options. This means that I can specify which files or folders are synced From and to my phone automatically, while still being able to access those files I choose to sync with other computers.
    • Dropbox : I still use dropbox, but admittedly it is primarily for applications and camera related requirements
    • Box.com : While it is possible to use box in the same way as sugarsync, it requires ugrading to the premium version, and i simply cannot justify the monthly cost. That said, having been lucky to gain a 50GB account, I tend to use it as a content distribution system, and in that function, it shines above the others.
  • Evernote : the next best solution for keeping all your ‘business’ in one place is Evernote. It is a simple app with the help of which you can record quick video clips, take pictures and make text notes taking advantage of the handset’s camera. It looks like a digital memory box and you can access it on the web or via a desktop client as well. I have also started keeping an eye on Clearly – an evernote extension to the Chrome browser on desktop platforms — it could potentially replace “read later” applications if it goes cross-platform.
  • The Chrome browser : A few years ago, I was using the Chrome to Phone and  Phone to Chrome apps between my windows desktop and my Android phone. Today, simply installing Chrome on all of my devices allows me to synchronise bookmarks, form data, tabs and even push pages to a specific mobile device. It has all but become a cloud based browser.
  • XMARKS : Until recently, there just weren’t any other simple way of syncing bookmarks across browsers and desktops. Xmarks makes it pretty damned easy across platforms. However, even after paying for a premium service, the mobile offerings have been lacking and with the advent of chrome’s bookmarks synchronisation … if a new update doesn’t offer something new soon, it will be another relic.
  • LastPass : The “last password you need to remember” password managment system that integrates across devices, browsers and is cloud accessible.
  • CloudOn : I only recently discovered this – a cloud based MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint service that is not a “compatible” but an actual MS Office environment. It can also access google docs and a variety of cloud based storage.
  • Pocket : Previously known simply as “read it later”, it is very similar to instapaper or readability, but has the added advantage of being cross platform and free.
  • ZeroPC Cloud Navigator. Another recent discovery that was initially part of the ZeroPC cloud based desktop service, it’s become a really useful multiple-cloud service connector and (perhaps more importnantly) cross-cloud-service search engine, allowing you to search your services and find where that file you are seeking is held.

So, that’s my list for now … what else is out there that you’d recommend? Why do you like it/use it/recommend it?

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