Tablet/ smartphone synergy: Ready for the next level

I want my tablet and smartphone to work together to make them both better. I am ready for each device to play off the strengths of the other to make a more complete package.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor on

I love tablets. I also love smartphones, you only have to take a look around this blog to see that. I love what each type of device brings to the table, but I am ready for the next step. I want my tablet and smartphone to work together to make each of them better. I am ready for each device to play off the strengths of the other to make a more complete package.

The BlackBerry PlayBook has me thinking about this synergy, as RIM has included a very basic cooperation between its new tablet and some BlackBerry phones. I don't like the reason behind RIM's vision of synergy, as the aptly named BlackBerry Bridge solution is intended to get around the lack of email, contacts and calendar apps on the PlayBook. It uses the BlackBerry Bridge to allow PlayBook owners to use those functions residing on the phone. It is a nice concept, but it doesn't go far enough in my book.

A better class of tablet/smartphone collaboration is coming with HP's TouchPad and Pre 3. The two devices will wirelessly talk to each other to provide the user with additional functionality. Using the webOS Touchstone technology designed for wireless battery charging, the owner of both devices can transfer information from one to the other by simply touching them. If you are surfing the web on the TouchPad and need to head out with the Pre 3, just touch the phone to the tablet and the web page address is instantly sent to the phone for continued browsing.

HP is not satisfied with that level of collaboration, it has even better stuff planned. The TouchPad and Pre 3 can be configured to always be talking to one another over Bluetooth. This means you can be using the tablet and with the phone tucked away in your pocket any SMS message that comes to the phone will instantly be shown on the tablet; this makes sense as the owner is using that device at the time. Calls are handled the same way on the tablet, which may not be ideal but in a pinch is better than fishing the phone out of the pocket. It's a much better way to see who's calling and reject the call.

These simple collaboration methods are a good start, but not nearly enough for me. I want my tablet and phone to always be aware of each other, and offer benefits to me accordingly. Give me the option to configure my mobile duo to always keep the browser bookmarks and history in sync without any effort on my part. When I shut down my tablet during a web browsing session, I want my phone to pick up where I left off the next time I open the phone's web browser. Keep all my local documents, photos and other files in sync between the two devices. If I take a photo with my phone I want it on my tablet without any effort. Snap, and it's there.

If I'm editing a document using an app on the tablet, I want my phone to be aware of that and act accordingly. When I turn off the tablet and pick up the phone, give me the option to access that file which is now on the phone. Do the same thing while listening to music, pick up on the other device when I switch between them. Make it configurable so I can control how much I get interrupted by this process, but give me the option.

There are many other ways the tablet/smartphone duo can be leveraged without that much work. I am willing to use devices running the same platform to make this work, and I don't care what that platform might be. I do want it to be smart enough to work with multiple devices though, so I am not restricted to one particular tablet and phone pair. Let me have choice in which devices I use, just make them work together once they are paired up.

You probably have other ways such a duo could be leveraged to make a better system. Let me know what those are in the TalkBack, I want to hear from you.

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