Mobility and the use of mobile devices for our work, social, and personal lives has become nearly commonplace in every industry and social-strata. It’s amazing to realize that just one year ago, Apple announced the coming iPad. Since its release in April 2010, more than 14 million devices have been sold. Its release has also spawned the development of many similar devices with various features and at different price points. This "new" innovation has rocked the world and presents us with new challenges of access to data and information. In addition to these challenges, many are finding it difficult in determining how these devices can be integrated into daily life and be used beyond just basic communications, web browsing, and an occasional e-book.

There are many Apps which are helping to close the gap between these new devices and our desk and laptop computers. We’ll deal with two of them here:

  • Documents to Go (DocsToGo) by DataViz gives the ability to access and edit documents (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others)
  • Instapaper gives the ability to easily save interesting web articles for reading later.

Documents to Go is available for nearly every mobile platform. It allows the creation and editing of MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It can also read PDF and display many graphic formats. The App provides 2-way file synchronization and support for Google Docs, Dropbox, iDisk, and Sugarsync. What makes this App so powerful is that work can be started in the office or at home and easily continued using your mobile device (i.e. iPhone, iPad, Android, or Blackberry) – a broadband (3G/4G) or Wi-Fi connection is needed. The basic version is $9.99 and the premium version is $16.99. NOTE: Confidential or sensitive data should not be stored on unauthorized storage platforms. Consult Northeastern policies for appropriate storage platforms.

Instapaper is a tool that makes it easy to quickly save interesting web articles to read later on an iPad/iPhone, Kindle, or devices that support ePub. It creates a button on the tool bar of the web browser. The content of the page is instantly saved to the Instapaper account. Articles can be easily downloaded to the device so that they can be read in places where there is no network connection. It’s a simple App that enhances the mobile experience. The cost is free, but requires an Instapaper account for synchronization.

These, and many other tools, are helping to bridge the gap between the office and the road – without the need to pull out the heavy and bulky laptop. As we learn to integrate these devices into our daily lives, we’ll grasp the power of having nearly everything we need, in this light-weight device, to satisfy our personal, social, and work needs.

Posted in 2011 February IS Newsletter and tagged .