9 Things You Haven’t Tried With Your Tablet, Yet

It's taken decades, but tablet computers are finally here, viable and usable. The industry has tried so many times in the last two decades to make a successful real-life version of something as seemingly fictional as the Star Trek PADD and failed pretty much every time. As with MP3 players and smartphones, it took Apple to come along and show everyone how it's done. Apple wasn’t first in any of these categories, but it sure was popular.

The overwhelming and obvious use for a tablet is as a PC alternative and media consumption device. In the arena of people who need portable computing capabilities but don't want to carry a laptop, the tablet has pretty much killed the netbook dead.

However, some very creative uses for tablets –all right, mostly iPads -- have emerged in the last few months. These new uses for tablets are mostly for information consumption, but they’ve been accomplished in ways Apple, Samsung, Motorola and other tablet makers probably hadn't expected or anticipated. We love it when gadget fans do that!

What these new tablet tasks have in common is that many of them will save a whole lot of paper, which can only be a good thing. So let's take a look at nine unique ways people are using tablets, plus one futuristic suggestion that's so darned crazy it just might work. Let us know in the comments section if you’ve tried (or tried to try) any of these tablet tricks yourself.

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  • and here I thought POS meant something ENTIRELY different .. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=POS
  • While I think tablets are replacing some people's need for a gaming device and therefore making people use their consoles less, I don't think tablets will ever become a gaming console as long as the PS3/XBOX 360s out there keep up with curent technology (hahaha). So, no I do not think I will be plugging my tablet into my TV and using that as a console anytime soon.
  • The console gaming market wont have anything to fear from tablets. Especially from games already on the market. Games for tablets have to be specially programmed for a tablets due to the lack of a controller, either 6axis or keyboard and mouse.
    It would be cool if someone could develop an app to make a tablet function as a controller though. Would be nice, especially if somehow in game action could be transmitted to the tablet while you are playing the game..
  • i will say, I use SkyCharts (another aviation chart program) and I love it. Beats the heck out of paper charts. That's actually the only reason I got the iPad
  • I wish I could afford to atleast buy one of these devices then I can try these things.

  • I would love to see real Life Cycle Assessment analysis of the highlighted potential “saving”. I think that from negative environmental impact perspective the tablets, compared to paper, would definitely lose.

    Within the LCA one has to take into consideration all - from mining of precious metals to IC and plastic casing production and final tablet recycling; plus it has to take in account also the fact a short “replacement time” of current electronic gadgets.

    I think that after LCA even the environmentally issue-prone pulp industry would most probably look extremely “green” compared to tablets.
  • Here is what I would like to see a tablet do...

    Automate my home... Roku does it now. Alarms do it now. Some AC as well. Lets's get smart lights and the garage door for Pete's sake!! And the water system would be nice!

    Manage the fridge contents using RFID in food products.

    Control all my AV gear and extend media centers etc...
  • Totally shameless ipad commercial. We already knew of the existence of all these apps, and nice job covering similar apps available for other platforms (not).
  • Quote:
    Nvidia has a quad-core ARM with next-generation graphics in the pipeline that will definitely catch up with console-level processors.

    They'll catch up to today's console-level processors. I don't think they'll competitive to the CPUs/GPUs in consoles current to the day these are finally released. (Remember how long it took tegra 2 to actually show up after it was "officially" released to manufacturing?
  • house70Totally shameless ipad commercial. We already knew of the existence of all these apps, and nice job covering similar apps available for other platforms (not).

    Hey there,
    First of all, no, not everybody knew about all of these uses. Second--if you feel we've left out something very noteworthy for the Android, Playbook, or Windows platforms....by all means point it out to us. We made every effort to research ALL platforms for this story. Tell us what we missed.

    Thanks for reading,

    Rachel Rosmarin
    Managing Editor, Tom's Guide
  • 1. Use a tablet, save a tree.
    I'm tired of "save a tree". Trees are replanted in tree farms in far greater numbers than trees being cut down, while using less space. Also, there are other sources for paper but the government has bans put in place, like cannabis. Since this seems like a ploy to make people feel better about them "saving" the environment by avoiding cutting trees down, what about the crap used into making the tablets? How much damage does that do? What about recharging the batteries of these devices?

    2. Restaurants replacing menus with tablets
    Neat but this was already done before tablets. Didn't take off because the costs were high and they were mounted to the tables.

    3. Hyundai Equus replaces the glove box manual with an iPad
    wooow an e-manual, how new. Not. I can go to most dealers and requests a pdf for the service manuals for cars even before 1990 for free. This is just Hyundai saving money by not printing a physical manual. Not interesting.

    4. Airlines replace paper charts with iPads
    Reusing the same usage as number 3 already? WOW desperately looking for something good to say about tablets aren't you?

    5. Eliminating paper documents in government
    Same as 3 and 4 AGAIN. Digital version that can go on a computer and IS on the computer.

    6. Classroom book replacement.
    SAME AS 3, 4, AND 5.

    7. Replacing the smartboard with an iPad
    OMG I'm so shy to get up infront of the class. OKAY lets have the teacher come to you. POINTLESS.

    8. Replacement for point-of-sale systems
    Okay, you got me on this one if they are indeed a cheaper alternative.

    9. Replacing in-store information kiosks.
    And you need an iPad for this why? I've seen many malls with this already.

    10. The NFL replaces playbooks.
    SAME AS 3, 4, 5, AND 6.

    11. Could your tablet replace your console?
    No. Even if they can have the same computing power, the battery life, the sound, and the controls will suck.

    Toms, I am sad about what you've become. From having 6 out of 11 reasons being "use an iPad, save paper cuz only iPad can do this" and the rest being tech uses that has been around for years before the iPad (and is still in use). Seriously? THIS was an article?? And Tomsguiderachel, you replied to someones comment but you couldn't even bother to clean up the spam right above his comment? WOW. I agree, totally shameless plug for the iPad.
  • azcoyoteHere is what I would like to see a tablet do...Automate my home... Roku does it now. Alarms do it now. Some AC as well. Lets's get smart lights and the garage door for Pete's sake!! And the water system would be nice!Manage the fridge contents using RFID in food products.Control all my AV gear and extend media centers etc...

    Then have some nut from the government tracking every part of your life.

    I love computers but hate internet connections.
  • wort of weak, replace manuals/paper for how many? there are already quite a few uses i think are 'uncommon" but potentially very useful out there already that are better ideas than the NFL replacing their play books, arent those types of things obvious?
    *How about use as a quick/easy secondary desktop/laptop monitor.
    *OBD2 Bluetooth to view/tweak car performance settings, gauges (i use one for android and its very neat!)
    *Control your home theater/tv/dvd/receiver
    *Home Automation software/hardware to control lights, locks appliances etc

    just to name a few off the top of my head.
  • If you are gonna use the iPad to replace paper you can start by using it to replace the paper in the bathroom.
  • hand held POS (piece of ....) have been out for years.
  • I think the perfect convergence would be ONLive Tablet. Cloud the game and pipe it through your tablet to to your TV that's the killer app! Now with Android rolling out ICE CREAM SANDWICH with USB Hub support you can add a mouse and keyboard and you have a true PC replacement..
  • Update this already exists: Or will http://gear.ign.com/articles/117/1174679p1.html.. So yes it can replace consoles.
  • iCrap is for people who don't know how to use computers and are too lazy to read or figure out how to use them.
    these are the same people they pit against trained monkeys in lab expirements.
    save a tree, bulldoze a rain forest to build a damn in powering these devices. that's what brazil is doing.
    books don't need unquantitive sources of energy to use
  • Seems like most of those "uses" could be done with an eReader for a lot less money!