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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tablets The Ultimate Travel Companion

The iPad and other tablet computers are essential accessories for photographers on the go

Labels: ComputersGear

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Running Android 2.2, the 16 GB Dell Streak 7 tablet with a 7-inch multi-touch screen lets you chat face-to-face online via the 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera; it also has a 5-megapixel camera on the back with a flash for taking high-resolution pictures. The Streak 7 is compatible with Kindle eBooks, and as of press time, a 10-inch Streak 10 is rumored to be available from Dell this summer. List Price: Begins at $399 (Dell Streak 7 WiFi).

Available in 16 GB or 32 GB capacities, HP's 9.7-inch TouchPad shares Apple's interactive concept in its workflow, allowing you to easily sync between devices like the Palm Pre 3 that run the webOS operating system. Users can answer calls, receive texts and share websites between the tablet and the smartphone just by touching them together. Like Android, webOS (HP's operating system, developed by Palm) is also compatible with Adobe Flash. The front-facing camera is a 1.3-megapixel webcam that allows live video calling, and there are a few neat accessories available, including a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and the Touchstone stand that automatically launches image slideshows when the TouchPad is connected. Price to be announced.


What makes tablets so exciting to photographers is the variety of applications available for storing, enhancing, uploading and sharing photos. There's an extensive amount of inexpensive—or even free—yet powerful applications available for tablets that will make your images shine and your travel fun. Here are a few of our favorites.

KAYAK compares and contrasts the pricing for flights and hotels from a variety of travel websites. KAYAK also includes rental car information, flight status and itinerary management, as well as a business- and first-class airfare search. An ad-supported version of KAYAK is free; KAYAK PRO, which ditches the ads, is only $0.99.

For the iPad, Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences combines their favorite travel destinations with recommended activities, sights and adventures. The app acts as a guide, with ideas for enhancing your travels that are highlighted by photos from the area. For Android and the iPhone, Lonely Planet also has individual travel guide apps designated by location, including diverse destinations like New York, Rome, Paris, Los Angeles and many, many more. Price varies by location and application, with a few available at no charge.

Apple's MobileMe Gallery app lets you browse and showcase images and files that are stored on your iDisk in the MobileMe cloud, also syncing emails, contacts and calendars between iPads, iPhones and your computers. The Find My iPhone/iPad app allows you to track a lost device from your MobileMe account, and you even can wipe information remotely in a worst-case scenario. The apps mentioned are all free, but a MobileMe account requires an annual fee of $99.

Pulse is a great free app for keeping up with the latest news, website updates and your favorite RSS feeds while you're on the road. You can share stories and links through email or on Facebook, Twitter and Instapaper, and Pulse loads news stories to your device, allowing you to read them even when off the grid.

For making sure that your fan base, family and friends are updated with photos from your travels, the two current kings of social media, Facebook and Twitter, both have free apps available for updating your news feeds and publishing photos. TweetDeck allows you to combine the two, with a Twitter-like interface that supports Facebook integration so you can post updates to both sites at once, including image uploading and GPS geotagging.

Wuala from LaCie provides a secure mobile app with file encryption for accessing photos, music and files stored on the Wuala site. You can upload files from your device and save them to your device before going offline. Wuala also works on computers, and you can automatically back up files, syncing them across multiple computers. The app is free, as is the first full gigabyte of storage. After that, Wuala charges annually, with rates staggered by the amount of capacity you need, starting at 10 GB for just under $30 a year up to 250 GB at a bit under $300.

The Yelp experience should be familiar to most people living in large cities. The popular website lets users post ratings and reviews for every type of service in an area, from restaurants to stores to nightlife. The Yelp free app translates it to the little screen, with information and search results that use location finders to display matches centered on your exact location.


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