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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 Things You Can Do with a $100 TouchPad

The TouchPad may not be the perfect tablet, but it is selling for $100 right now, but it's going fast. Actually, it's pretty much gone. But if you did manage to snag one, here are ten good uses for it.

1. E-book Reader

The TouchPad has a mighty fine Kindle app, but at only $99 it's cheaper than even the Wi-Fi only Kindle (at $140), and it does a lot more. Sure, the screen may not be as easy on the eyes as E-ink, but you can read it in the dark, so there's that.

2. Music Player

Guess what? The TouchPad, with its speakers from Beats By Dre, has the best speakers on any tablet we've ever tested. With so many music-streaming services out there and tons of good cloud music options, you could set this up somewhere in your house as a dedicated music streamer. Or just load up the internal storage with your own music and head out the door.

3. News Reader

My morning routine: I load up a bunch of my RSS feeds on my phone while I'm walking to the train, and then I read these feeds while underground on my way to Gizmodo HQ. The TouchPad has a sweet read-it-later app called Paper Mache(basically webOS's answer to Instapaper), and it should get you up to speed during your morning commute without cramping your eyeballs.

4. Airplane Movie Viewer

Unless I'm absolutely desperate, I refuse to pay for a movie on an airplane. $5 to $10 to watch a movie on a 5 inch screen on the seat in front of me? Pass. Instead, load up your TouchPad with a flick or two, and you're ready to fly the friendly skies.

5. Recipe Book

As Matt suggested earlier, load up Epicurious, bring that baby into the kitchen, and get cookin'. Spill a little sauce on it? Whatever! You only paid 99 bucks for it. You would cry the tears of a thousand lonely grandmas if you got tahini on your iPad 2.

6. Put Android On It

This will make Matt Buchanan scream in ring-wraith-like rage, but it must be said: development is underway to port Android (first 2.3 and then 3.x) over to the TouchPad. I'm fairly certain that Matt would argue that WebOS on tablets is better than Android on tablets, and in many ways I'd agree, but Android has the distinct advantage of having a pulse, whereas WebOS is pushing up the daisies. If it's important to you that you keep getting software updates to keep up with the Joneses, then this might be something to consider (once it's ready). If not, I wouldn't worry about it.

7. Tablet For Your Toddler

Do you bristle every time you kid goes near your fancy, expensive tablet? Instead, take your cheapo TouchPad and bookmark a ton of kids websites. It doesn't matter if there aren't a ton of native kids apps, because it plays Flash games! Just go to Kongregate or some such site and bookmark a ton of kid-appropriate games. It'll save you a headache during car trips and you won't care if he bashes it with his plastic hammer.

8. Dedicated Toilet Tablet

I may lose you here. I'm okay with that. Nobody likes to talk about it, but everybody uses their phones while they're taking a crap. Wouldn't you rather have a larger display while evacuating your bowels? Yes, it's kinda gross, but your touchscreen is already supposedly more bacteria-covered than most public toilet seats. Just keep a bottle of hand sanitizer next to it. And hide it when you have company.

9. Dedicated Couch Tablet

I have a certain friend who comes over a lot and while we're watching TV, he grabs my laptop to check his Facebook and read up on his favorite blogs, and I will not be able to get my hands on it again for the rest of the night. It's habitual, and it sucks because I want to be dicking around on it. If I kept a cheapo tablet by the couch then he could do his thing, I could do mine, and there need be no bloodshed.

10. Vacation Connectivity

I like traveling to rough n' tumble, out of the way, maybe not the safest places. Sometimes I want to bring my laptop, but I don't dare ruining it. I wouldn't want to ruin an expensive tablet, either. Bringing a $100 TouchPad could be a great solution. Connect whenever you have Wi-Fi to figure out what you're going to do while traveling, and you can avoid internet cafes and such. And if it's stolen by guerillas, well, it's not the end of the world.