In addition to important mobile news coverage, here on Mobile News you also get hands-on reviews of important gadgets and the technologies powering them. This approach includes real-world usage accounts to give you an idea how a particular device will fit into your own lifestyle. A popular method of sharing usage is by giving a "Day in the LIfe" with a device, showing how I use it in my regular work. Here is a day in the life of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The alarm sounds insistently at 5:30 sharp. Yes, I am a home worker and could sleep to a more appropriate hour, but my wife works across town and when her alarm sounds it's lights on for me. I grab the Galaxy Tab from the nightstand where I left it the night before and head for the coffee maker.
First cup of coffee of the day in hand, I settle into the comfy chair to catch the news and fire up the Galaxy Tab. The Tab is nestled in its Scosche FoldIO case (reviewed by Matt Miller) as usual, which adds little weight and bulk to the device. I check for email that has come in overnight, using the Email app Samsung has included on the Tab that is optimized for the tablet. I respond to email as needed, and flag others for attending to later.
Email done, I fire up Plume to see what it happening in the Twitterverse. Plume (formerly Touiteur) has become my Twitter app of choice for Android, having dethroned Tweetdeck for that honor. I like the way Plume displays the timeline on the big Tab screen, and especially like swiping back and forth to move between columns for the timeline, replies and direct messages. The ability to long-press any tweet and have the appropriate action triggered is a real time-saver.
I follow hundreds of RSS feeds as part of my work, and gReader Pro handles that task with aplomb. I can go through hundreds of news items in a short time, and I do that next. It is more efficient doing this with gReader on the Tab than using Google Reader on the desktop, which is impressive.
After my shower I make the 15 second commute to Mobile News Manor, my home office. Traffic was unusually heavy this morning, as I had to avoid the dog's toy in the path to the office. It's going to be one of those days. Once settled in my office, I pop the Galaxy Tab into the special stand that sits below the big monitor on my desk. You may have seen one of these stands before, it's a business card holder I picked up at Staples. It serves as a good stand for the Tab, for the price of $5.
The Tab sits on the stand in the Scosche case with the flap folded behind it. I plug the power cable into the Tab so it can charge while I am doing work on the desktop (which is really a notebook and external monitor/keyboard/mouse). Tab sitting in the stand, first I check the day's schedule using the Calendar app that Samsung optimized for the Tab in landscape orientation. Seeing no pressing meetings, I fire up Thinking Space on the Tab.
This is a great mind mapping tool for the Tab and one of my most-used programs. I use Thinking Space as a visual outliner for articles I am writing and for keeping track of articles I want to write in the future. It lets me capture the major points for the current article, and easily move the topics around as needed. I find it stimulates the creative process, as opposed to simple outlining which seems to bog me down.
The mind map for the article I'm writing displays on the Tab just beneath the big monitor used for writing the article. This keeps my outline a simple glance away, which keeps it from distracting me during the actual writing. This system has proven to be a very effective method for my work.
My morning is spent productively working on a number of articles, and researching on the web for others. I interact with the Tab as needed without removing it from the stand. It is a convenient way for me to work. Once the morning winds down, I decide to head out to the local sandwich shop for lunch.
I grab the Galaxy Tab off the stand, unplug it and close the case. I head out to the lunch break with the Tab in tow. The place I choose for lunch has no Wi-Fi, but that's not a concern. I bought the Tab from Sprint for $399 with a 2-year data contract. I opted for the 2GB data plan which is $25/monthly. This provides connectivity no matter where I take the Tab. I leave Wi-Fi activated all the time, so it uses that while at home. Samsung has done a good job with handling the various connection options, and if Wi-Fi is not available it seamlessly switches over to 3G.
At the sandwich shop I settle in at the table with my lunch and fire up the Tab for some e-book reading. I am a voracious reader, and the Tab has become my reader of choice. The 7-inch display is the perfect size for showing a page at a time, while keeping the device light enough for handling comfortably. I read the entire lunch break.
Before heading back to the Manor I catch up with email sitting at the table. I find I can process email faster on the Tab than on the desktop using the Samsung Email app.
Back to Work
The afternoon is spent working much like the morning, Tab in its little stand again. I break at one point to have a video chat with a colleague, and I use the Tab with Qik just because I can. It has a front-facing camera, and the big screen makes the chat session enjoyable. Otherwise the afternoon work session is uneventful, but productive.
I did work for a couple of hours in the afternoon at a local independent coffee shop to remind myself there are other people in the world. I carried both a laptop and the Tab for the remote session. I prefer independent coffee shops, but they are not without compromises. The free Wi-Fi network in the shop was out this day, yielding me unable to connect the laptop for normal work. Not a problem as the Tab can function as a mobile hotspot.
There are two methods for using the Galaxy Tab as a mobile hotspot. Sprint offers a mobile hotspot service for $30/month that allows 5 devices to share the 3G connection, or for rooted devices a free Google Wireless Tether app is available in the Android Market for sharing the connection. I used one of these methods to get my laptop online using the Tab's 3G connection. The Tab works well as a MiFi; I have seen a report of someone using it for 11 hours for connection sharing.
I used the Tab in the Scosche case next to the laptop in the coffee shop.. The case serves as an easel stand, so I can use it remotely much as I do in the office. I keep the mind map open next to me for reference. It's a nice auxiliary display for a laptop work session.
End of Day
I realized the work day was over when my wife texted me that she was stuck in traffic and would be late. She realizes the Tab is always with me, so she has a better chance for me to see her texts quicker by sending them to the Tab. The Sprint model has full MMS/SMS capability, which comes in handy on the Tab.
Once the work day is done, the Tab becomes a leisure device for the rest of the evening. When not playing Angry Birds, which works well on the big screen, I alternate between Plume, email and web browsing as desired. I use the Dolphin Browser HD on the Tab, which functions as a full desktop-equivalent browser. I typically use the Tab in portrait orientation in the hand for this type of activity. There is really nothing I can't do with the Tab, making it a full web appliance.
My daughter brought our granddaughter over for a visit in the evening and I used the back camera on the Tab to snap some photos of the little dear. Samsung has done a good job with the camera optics, and I find this camera to be far better than that on my EVO 4G phone. It's also cool to have a 7-inch viewfinder on the Tab's camera. The texting ability comes in very handy with the camera, as it is the easiest way to send photos to my daughter when one I snap catches her eye.
When it is time to retire for the day, I use the Tab to read in bed. The backlit display makes this possible, where a Kindle or equivalent device fails. I read using the Kindle app so I'm losing nothing using the Tab over a dedicated reader. When done for the day I power off the Tab and set it on the nightstand, ready for the next day. The Tab has such good battery life that I do not worry about keeping it charged. I plug it in while at the desk where the charger is located, otherwise I never think about it. It can go two days without charging based on actual experience.
Last week the CES in Vegas was full of tablets, Android and other platforms. This segment of mobile tech is about to explode and my experience with the Galaxy Tab indicates this is a good thing. Google's Honeycomb version of Android that is coming will be optimized for the tablet class of device, but I can attest that Froyo handles them well enough for the time being to be very useful. I personally wouldn't wait for a Honeycomb device if there's a need for a tablet now. To help with that personal decision, my list of the 10 apps I use daily on the Tab may be worth checking out.