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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

How To Get the Most From Your Tablet



We carry our smartphones with us wherever we go, constantly checking them for e-mail and messages and flipping between those favorite apps that we can no longer live without. In contrast, tablets tend to be home-based devices, there for us when we need them but rarely accompanying us 24/7 as we go about our daily tasks.

However, the idea of a tablet as something to come home to greatly undervalues the extraordinary usefulness of these devices, and how they can enhance both our productivity at work and the quality of our entertainment experiences. Sometimes it only takes a few tweaks to turn a tablet from an occasional leisure device into a must-have everyday workhorse. Here are some suggestions:

1. Customize your home screen

If you want more from your tablet, then start by making it your own. Choose a unique wallpaper, download your favorite apps and widgets, and decorate the home page with photos of family and friends. Many tablets will let you set up slide shows or interactive backgrounds, so the images are constantly changing. Take advantage of all the available graphics to give it that personal touch!

2. Find the right keyboard style

Many people get frustrated with tablets because they are too small for the regular keyboard experience of a laptop but too big for the finger-tapping versatility of a smartphone. Because of this, tablet manufacturers have gone out of their way to come up with keyboard experiences that will suit any preferred typing style. There are on-screen keyboards, with finger-typing or Swype-style finger sliding; there are keyboards built in to the cover; or there are any number of plug-in or wireless options. Find a style you like, and your tablet will instantly become more useful!

3. Only download tablet apps

It’s easy to get frustrated when your favorite smartphone apps are either incompatible with your tablet or are not formatted for the larger screen. However, with tens of thousands of apps specifically designed for tablets, there is no excuse for not finding exactly what you want. In fact, once you start to familiarize yourself with the tablet app stores, you will uncover an amazing array of apps that are only available for tablets, including games, news magazines, video apps, and other entertainment options.

4. Watch your favorite shows

Talking of entertainment, nothing will get you to fall in love with your tablet more than having anytime, anywhere access to your favorite movies and TV shows. Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, or any of the many other options for watching movies and TV shows, a Wi-Fi or 4G LTE cellular tablet is the perfect platform for buffer-free on-the-go HD viewing.

5. Accessorize your new best friend

Once you’re up and running with your tablet, you can personalize it even more by adding an array of accessories. Along with keyboards and covers, there are tablet stands, docking stations, any number of protective cases, and even headrest mounts for watching your tablet in the back of the car.

Your tablet may never be as convenient as your smartphone, but if you invest a little time in customization and set-up, it will soon become just as valuable!



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