There’s a lot of talk about the death of the PC (personal computer). Desktop and laptop sales aren’t growing while mobile devices have exploded. I don’t think that means the personal computer is dying, it’s just gotten much smaller. I mean, what’s more personal than a computer you can carry with you everywhere?
Can a smartphone completely replace a computer? For most of us, the answer is no. But I do think they have the potential to become your primary device. By primary, I mean the device you look at the most and the device you can use to complete most of your daily computing tasks. Now, I still use a desktop PC at work. It’s got two big screens, which are necessary for the type of work I do. But for home use, I have a Surface Pro, a Kindle Fire and a Galaxy S4 phone. I use the Surface Pro for tasks that require a keyboard or a slightly larger screen. My Kindle gets used for viewing Amazon Prime videos and some, but not all reading. But it’s my GS 4 that gets the most action on a daily basis.
Here are the apps that make it possible for me:
I use Office 365 Mobile on my device. I’ve written a more extensive review about this app here. It allows me to open, edit and create Microsoft Office documents that work not only on my phone, but also on my PC. I’ve learned to love the OneDrive cloud storage and can instantly access my documents anywhere at anytime. If I make a change on my work or home computer and save it there, I can pull it up and see it on my phone just like that. I also enjoy the freedom of being able to create new documents. If I have an idea, I can get something started in an instant. Those items can also be shared with work contacts or with family members. I detail here, how I used Office Mobile to plan Thanksgiving dinner.
Office3 365 has a subscription fee, which I am willing to pay since I like Office a lot. But there are plenty of other Office Suites available for your Smartphone, some cost and some are free. Google Quickoffice offers the same cross-platform access as Microsoft Office. OfficeSuite Pro and Kingsoft Office are also good options. You can even find versions of Open Office. If your office suite doesn’t include a PDF reader, you’ll want to make sure there’s one on your phone. That shouldn’t be a problem since there are plenty to find in the app store including Adobe Reader.
You have two e-mail options on most phones. One is to set up an e-mail client app on your phone much in the same way you set one up on a PC. The other is to see if your particular e-mail provider offers a stand-alone app that lets you access your mail. The advantage of using the e-mail client app on the phone is that you can view mail from multiple addresses on your phone. My phone has become the primary place that I check, read and respond to e-mail. With an Office Suite and PDF reader on your phone, you should also be able to open up pretty much any attachment. If you have Office 365, you can even look at PowerPoint presentations.
The Android calendar that came standard with my phone is an amazing little tool. Not only can I plan out my day and share it with others, I can have multiple calendars. I have imported my Gmail, Outlook.com and Facebook calendars, so all of my dates are in one place.
I have a shared calendar with my husband that we can both add appointments to.
Once upon a time you could only find first-class photo editors on PCs or Macs. But that’s changed recently. I did a full review of Snapseed here.
This nifty little app lets you make the kind of adjustments previously reserved for expensive programs. But it’s certainly not the only photo editing app available. Adobe even offers Photoshop Express.
Did you know you can turn your Smartphone into a scanner. This is a great way to take advantage of the good camera on most of these phones. An app like CamScanner allows you to use your phone as a portable scanner and share the scanned documents with others.
These types of apps help me accomplish some of the more productive tasks on my daily list. In Part 2, I’ll talk about the apps I use for fun.