October 11, 2011


Too much to lugYou’ll boost your business productivity by using separate devices to
  1. create content: workhorse PC or Mac
  2. view content: smartphone
  3. show content: tablet
Yes there is overlap. A tablet might be able to create much of your content too.

You could use one device for multiple purposes but as with a Swiss army knife, there are compromises. wouldn't you rather have the blade, spoon and screwdriver separate when you really want to use them?

View Content: Smartphone

Your smartphone is probably the gadget that's with you most of all. It's ideal for checking your calendar and phoning contacts. It's reasonable for taking photos and skimming email. It’s not so good for sending emails or web browsing.

Mistake: I wanted to read and compose email but the screen and keyboard are miniscule. They're usable but you waste time compared with a tablet.

Show Content: Tablet with 10+" screen

This may be all you need for business travel. You can now read and compose email easily. You can view websites too. You can do much more but you can't stuff an iPad sized-tablet into your pocket.

Mistake: I tried taking notes with my iPad. Paper and pen is much faster and easier.

Create Content: Computer

When you're creating content, a powerful computer with a large screen helps. This isn't needed if you're writing a blog post (an iPad is excellent for focus).

If you're working on a spreadsheet or editing video, you'll benefit from a large display, fast processor, spacious hard drive and lots of memory. Yet lug this machine around and you'll soon wish for something smaller and lighter.

Mistake: For the last two years, I was using a 12" ThinkPad X200 Tablet which is wonderfully portable but not ideal for creating content.


New computer: To create content, I upgraded to a powerful ThinkPad W520 workstation with a 15.6" screen and 1600x900 resolution. This workhorse usually stays in the stable ... I mean, office.

New smartphone: I replaced my Blackberry Bold 9700 with a Motorola Droid 3 (Bell XT860) for the larger slide out keyboard and 4" screen. The battery life is short, which means I'm recharging while in the car. I might start taking a wall adapter with me too.

I ditched my MiFi cellular hotspot since the Droid 3 allows wireless tethering. That's one less device to carry and one less monthly plan to pay.

Old tablet: I still use my Wi-Fi iPad most of all. It's with me when I have my briefcase, which is most of the time. Depending on where I'm going, I may leave the Bluetooth keyboard at the office. The battery lasts all day, which provides peace of mind and freedom from electrical outlets.

The smartphone/tablet combination is portable and versatile. There's also redundancy since the Droid and iPad both have calendars, email, contacts, passwords and the ability to show presentations. They both turn on instantly. During a phone call, I can check my calendar on my iPad. While creating a mind map on my iPad, I can do a Google search on my Droid.

More screens means more productivity. Which screens are right for you?


PS You can get gadgets from the same family (e.g., Mac, iPhone and iPad). I prefer the learning curve that comes from diversity: PC (Windows), smartphone (Android), tablet (iOS). Each platform has strengths/weaknesses and different apps.

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