As powerful as modern smartphones and tablets are, it’s now totally feasible to convert them into fully-functional workstations to do the majority of the tasks you’d normally use a desktop machine for. Below I’m going to introduce you all to a series of programs you can use to convert your portable device into a pocket-size PC, as well as offer a couple of hardware-related tips on how to connect a mouse, keyboard, or even view your screen on a television or external monitor.
Touchscreen keyboards might be able to get you out of a tight spot when it comes to writing an email or a short message, but aren’t terribly suitable for any more intensive uses. There are several ways to connect an external keyboard, with the easiest of them being by using a bluetooth connection. There are loads of different models, and in the case of tablets there are even covers that can integrate the keyboard with the tablet to make a faux-laptop. In fact, the keyboard for Microsoft’s Surface tablet takes this concept to a whole new level.
The other option is to use the mini-USB cable included with most Android devices with a USB adapter to physically connect the keyboard or mouse in question. The only requirement is that your device have a USB On the Go (OTG) connection, which is nothing more than a USB extension that you plug into a power source, normally of 5V, so your device can function. The converter cable itself is not expensive, and can be easily found in shops.
If your device doesn’t have that capability, you’ll need to connect a HUB or USB multiplier to the cable in question, so that you can plug into a single connector the keyboard or hardware element in question as well as some sort of power source.
Source: El Android Libre
But let’s move along now. Many smartphones and tablets have a mini-HDMI connector, meaning that by using the appropriate converter you can connect a monitor or a TV screen. This, together with the aforementioned keyboard and mouse, make it possible for you to use all the peripherals you’d normally use on a desktop machine. Mission accomplished!
Indispensable apps for working on a mobile device
- A file manager: If you’re going to work from your mobile or use it to store and intensively read documents, you’re going to need a program to browse through your file tree. Luckily, we’ve already mentioned before five of the best file managers for Android, which also allow you to associate programs to open files directly.
- An office IT suite: Ever since QuickOffice was acquired by Google and distributed for free, it has become the star example in this field. With it, you can read and create text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- A cloud file-hosting service: You already know which ones are the standard-setters in this domain—Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive—although because of its integration with other Android features, the latter undoubtedly gives the best results. It’s the ideal complement for the aforementioned QuickOffice, allowing you to view and edit documents directly from their cloud location.
- An image editor: One of the most popular alternatives is Pixlr Express, whose virtues we have discussed in this space before as a versatile and comprehensive image retouching tool. Another alternative with tools more like those you’d expect from a desktop paint tool is PicsArt, which offers the option to draw “by hand.”
- A video player: If you’ve connected your tablet to a TV, it will be a gift from God to use a heavy-duty video player that can handle everything, since the possibilities are infinite. Imagine a smartphone connected to a TV via a Micro-HDMI running both XBMC and at the same time an external hard disk hooked up by a micro-USB. A mega-powerful Media Center that fits in your pocket! On the other hand, if you’re more of a classicist and prefer a less avant-garde interface, you can always turn to trusty old VLC.
That said, if you’re such a classicist that you don’t want to abandon your beloved Windows operating system at all, you can always bring that to your mobile device as well using a streaming software. In fact, we were just talking about that not long ago, when we compare two excellent alternatives for this task, Splashtop Remote and Team Viewer. See? No more excuses!