Tablets are marvelous and versatile devices, but chances are that you are not using yours to its full potential. Playing Angry Birds, surfing the Internet, checking your emails and listening to music are all valid and entertaining ways to use your device, of course…. BUT it is capable of doing so much more. All you need to do to use the right apps and apply some imagination. If you lack the imagination, we came up with a couple of ideas for you:
Control Your Environment
Ever watched one of those science fiction movies where people control everything around them using a touch screen device? Well, with the right applications that could be you. Although you can achieve similar results with your smart phone, it is just more convenient with the large display offered by your tablet. Just think of all the money you will save by not having to recharge the batteries for all your remotes all the time, plus you don’t have to hunt for the right remote down the back of the sofa either.
Applications such as the One For All NEVO Tablet Remote or Smart IR Remote aren’t free, but come with a bewildering array of supported devices and features (we are talking 800 000 devices and growing.) You can even combine remotes for the ultimate in customization, so controlling the BluRay player, amplifier and air conditioner from a single touch screen is no longer the stuff of science fiction novels. All that is required is a tablet with an IR Blaster and devices that can receive InfraRed commands (which is just about anything these days.)
If you are averse to spending money, or you are still rocking a tablet without IR blaster functionally, you can still root around the Play store for product specific apps to control your devices. Most of the big name brands have something to offer and typically at the very reasonable price of free. Once you start connecting your tablet to everything in your house, it can become addictive figuring out what else you are able to control. Some people even connect their tablets to their dSLR cameras (albeit with a USB OTG adapter) to unlock its full potential. Once again, if you have the money to throw around, paid apps such as DSLR Controller can take you further. Fans of free, on the other hand, can get pretty far with apps such as DslrDashboard.
Beef up Your Security
To feel like the star of your own spy thriller use your tablet to keep tabs on your home security setup. Once again, you could monitor the video feeds of your home using a smart phone, but thanks to the larger display size of your tablet you get to check out multiple streams on one screen. You can set up a few webcams and use an app for a cheap solution, but many security cameras have their own apps tailor made for monitoring the feeds on your tablet.
Functionality obviously differs depending on the app or service you use, but being able to check out what is happening at your home or business when you are not around is undeniably cool. Checking in on your cameras using your tablet isn’t just for the security conscious either, it also works great as a baby or pet monitor.
Try Out Some Augmented Reality Apps
Nothing screams “Science-Fiction” louder than augmented reality apps and, thanks to your tablet, you don’t have to be wearing Google Glass to experience it. For a taste of what is possible, download the free Google Goggles app to your tablet and point it at something interesting such as a painting, product or famous landmark. For extra entertainment value you can make Star Trek tricorder noises yourself while doing so and then check out the information that Google is able to pull out of its database.
Marketing people have also caught on to the fact that augmented reality is cool and many stores, posters and magazines now feature all kinds of scannable objects such as QR codes that produce interesting results on your tablet. Layer has been one of the pioneering apps in this area and can be grabbed for free from the Google Play store. If you don’t just want to observe all the possibilities of AR you can jump in and create some of your own with the Aurasma application.
Forget all the practical applications though, sometimes you just want to use your tablet to hunt down some pesky ghosts. The answer? SpecTrek, an augmented reality location game where you set your playing field radius and duration before getting on with hunting down the ghosts. The game tracks how much calories you burn, so you can justify the fun by using the “exercise” excuse, but brace yourself for some strange looks if you go ghost busting in a public area such as a park. For added fun you might even be able to convince unsuspecting friends, family or innocent bystanders that the ghosts are real and you are performing a public service. Unfortunately, SpecTrek doesn’t come with a proton pack, but there is a “Lite” version to trial if you don’t’ want to pay for the full version.
The Sky Is The Limit
The three examples listed here are just the tip of the iceberg of what your tablet can do. The best part is that you don’t even have to hack or root the tablet either as you’ll be able to find apps for just about anything.