Traveling? Leave the Laptop^* take the Tablet

May 31, 2011 | Beth Cail
Traveling? Leave the Laptop^* take the Tablet

I have been traveling for business for 24 years.  Just like when your kids grow, or your friend loses weight, it’s hard to notice the dramatic difference when change happens bit by bit. But this time the change was so dramatic, I noticed it.  As I waited at the gate and looked around at the others waiting with me (full plane, cross country, so lots of people), there were only 2 people using a laptop. 

Every other business person was using either their smartphone or a tablet.  In fact, when I looked around a second time, I noticed that even the people who were traveling for pleasure were using tablets - some Kindles, but mostly iPads.  And who can blame them? Who wants to carry around a heavy laptop and AC adapter (ok, they’re a lot lighter than they used to be, but still)?

I have had my iPad for almost 5 months, issued by work in order to demonstrate our mobile products, which was sweet! But what is sweeter is the actual productivity gain I receive by using it – instant startup beats a Windows startup by a long shot.  I have been working toward traveling with only my iPad, for ergonomic reasons but mostly because pitching the power of mobile via a laptop is pretty lame.  

Two things prevented me from ditching the laptop:

  1. Lack of ability to view and edit Office documents in native form

  2. Lack of accessibility to my data stored on my laptop and internal network

The first challenge was met easily with a great iPad app.  There are several, but I chose QuickOffice and it works great. 

The second was a bit more perplexing… but dang if my Sales VP, Dave, didn’t have a great suggestion.  There are a couple of options for apps here too but I chose SugarSync which syncs your laptop and even multiple machines (Mac or PC) to the cloud and, via the iPad app, gives you real-time access. Pretty darn nifty.  And voilá! Challenge number 2 solved. 

So, I am now ready to take my next trip to Houston sans laptop.  The trip may reveal challenge 3, which I haven’t anticipated, but there’s no doubt there’s an app for that too!

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