Archive for the
‘Tablets’ Category

It’s time to get in touch with your doctor. You don’t feel well. It’s time for an annual checkup or a follow-up visit. Or maybe you just have a medical question.

Chances are you have the family physician’s phone number on a card in your wallet, the one reminding you of your next appointment.

Or you can use the app on your smartphone or tablet to contact the office.

The ability to locate a doctor, book an appointment and attend to your personal health care needs is right in the palm of your hand, as an app for Apple or Android devices. One that comes to mind is Zoc Doc, launched in 2011 for iOS and now available on Android. Zoc Doc helps you to search for a doctor by specialty, browse doctor search results like credentials, view appointment calendars in real time and book one for an available date instantly.

If you just have a medical question and can’t wait, here’s even an app that lets you connect with a physician right on your mobile device. It’s a consultation without the waiting room.

Doctor on Demand allows a patient to speak with a licensed physician on audio or video through a smartphone, iPhone or tablet. The app is useful to people with non-emergency issues who have medical questions like seeking a referral or explaining symptoms. The participating doctors are drawn from a network affiliated with independent medical practices throughout the United States.

Doctor on Demand is a free app for iOS and Android, but the fee to speak with a doctor is $40, about the cost of a copayment to see a specialist.

If you’re a frequent air traveler, you’ve spent a fair amount of time in an airport terminal waiting on your flight. To pass the time until boarding call, you’ll likely want something to read.

Every airport has a newsstand — most likely Hudson News, which sells newspapers, magazines and books as well as other travel supplies in its terminal shops. USA Today or Wall Street Journal usually ends up on the plane as trash when your reach your destination.

There is another option for air travelers. Public libraries are a presence in several airports, offering free ebook downloads to passengers with an iPad or tablet.

These airport facilities are a perk for travelers with mobile devices. The downloaded ebooks are weightless and take up no room in a carry-on. Patrons who try out airport virtual libraries are also more likely to try ebooks at their home branches.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) recently opened a virtual library where travelers can log on to the airport’s free WiFi network to access nearly 1,200 digital content titles. The virtual library is located on the walkway between Terminals D and E.

The airport partnered with the Free Library of Philadelphia to bring the library’s electronic resources to passengers. They can download titles to their iPad or tablet in a variety of genres from classics and bestsellers to children’s books.

Other airports have set up virtual libraries in their terminals, usually in partnership with local libraries.

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) partnered with the Broward County Libraries Division to establish the first ebook lending program for passengers in 2011.
  • Kansas State Library makes titles available through its “Books on the Fly” program to passengers at Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK).
  • Michigan’s Traverse Area District Library offers passengers at Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) access to 30,000 digital ebook titles through its Books on the Go program.


Welcome to a better wireless underground.

Two of the largest subway systems in the country, New York and Chicago, are expanding the ability for mobile device owners to use their smartphones and tablets at transit stations. The days of a dropped phone signal as you enter a subway station are going the way of the token, thanks to improved technology and wireless infrastructure.

In New York, the nation’s largest subway system, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is adding wireless and Wi-Fi service to 11 stations in midtown Manhattan, including Grand Central Terminal, Herald Square and Bryant Park, and stations in the borough of Queens. The MTA launched wireless and Wi-Fi service at 36 subway stations last year, among them Times Square, and according to, the Wi-Fi network served 2.6 million connections throughout the year.

Smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4 were the most popular devices to connect to the Wi-Fi network and were responsible for 76 percent of the data usage in the stations last year.

When this expansion phase is completed in June, nearly 250 million riders will have access to service from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

Besides convenience, the expansion of wireless service is expected to also enhance passenger safety and security, the MTA says. E911 will allow dispatchers to know when a call is being placed underground and the location of the caller. Employees and first responders will also have enhanced communications in an emergency.

Upgrades are also coming to Chicago, home to the nation’s third-busiest rail transit system. The Chicago Transit Authority is upgrading the existing wireless network to 4G technology. This is expected to improve service on the Blue and Red lines, which have a total of 24 miles of individual tunnels. Work on the project is expected to begin later this year.

So if you’re traveling to these cities anytime soon and plan to use their subways, rest assured that your wireless communication experience is about to improve.


More than a third of young adults who book travel plans are likely to do it with a smartphone or tablet, a survey reveals.

hotwire_artThe discount travel site released today the findings of its third annual American Travel Behavior Survey. Harris Interactive, which conducted the online poll for Hotwire, surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults 18 and older in October.

The survey found that 18 percent of adults who have ever booked travel plans have done so using a mobile device. The results revealed 37 percent of adults 18 to 34, and 25 percent of adults ages 35 to 44, are significantly more likely to book their trips using a smartphone or tablet.

Also, 12 percent of those who have booked travel with a mobile device used a smartphone, while 10 percent used a tablet.

The survey also revealed that 48 percent of adults say they’re more comfortable with last-minute bookings, done within seven days of checking in. Not surprisingly, this is where Hotwire says it’s done a lot of business, with 80 percent of its bookings on smartphones and 70 percent on tablets are made the day before or day of arrival.

Currently, nearly 20 percent of Hotwire’s booking occur on mobile devices. is issuing a challenge to app developers to come up with new and creative ways to place local online orders.

The New York-based company has launched a competition deliverycom_artfor developers to come up with original mobile apps that create new ways for consumers to place local online orders. There’s $65,000 in prizes, plus a share of order revenues, for the best apps that drive new users and orders to local restaurants, wine and spirits stores and laundries, dry cleaners and tailors. has created a niche for itself with a platform where consumers can order prepared food, groceries and services from neighborhood merchants. Now it is encouraging app developers to come up with their own ideas for an ordering platform that is locally focused, and benefits the local economy.

As we said before in a recent post, online commerce is surging as overall mobile retail sales topped $60 billion last year.

ChallengePost, the competition’s administrator, is accepting submissions through June 10. Winners will be announced the week of July 16.

The company behind the children’s program Veggie Tales is making one of its most popular programs available as a mobile app.

Big Idea Entertainment produces children’s and family programming and is best known for the Veggie Tales series, a faith-based brand with millions of videos, books and CDs sold. “God Made You Special,” one of the most recognizable Veggie Tales episodes, has been launched on the PlayTales mobile app as an eBook for iOS and Android platforms.

Created for children ages 2 to 7, the story features rhyming text, original music, sound effects and narration, as well as different reading modes to choose from. It is available in both English and Spanish and features interactive elements on every page of the story.

VeggieTales adds to the PlayTales catalog of popular children’s brands and characters such as Sesame Street and Pocoyo.

So, what’s for dinner?

There’s always takeout from the Chinese restaurant or your favorite pizzeria. You’ll find the menu from the last order, make a phone call, pickup in 20 minutes and dinner is ready to be served.

Technology can help out with this task. Dinnertime planning can be as easy as tapping the app of the mobile device in the palm of your hand.

Most popular restaurants offer apps as part of their overall customer engagement strategy. You can check a menu, download a coupon, share your experience on social media. A growing number also let you place an order for pickup without waiting in line.

If you’re looking for more variety in cuisine, if you’re looking for takeout or delivery options close to home, there are apps for that as well.

Apps for sites like Seamless, Eat24 and Grubhub list hundreds of restaurants that can be filtered by location, distance, cuisine, delivery charges and estimated pickup time.

You’ll find many of them in the App Store and Google Play store.



We’re using  our tablets in growing numbers to buy merchandise, as tablet payments comprise almost half of all mobile commerce.

This comes out of a new study released this week by Javelin Strategy & Research on the mobile shopping market. The use of tablets for online purchasing and commerce is surging as overall mobile retail sales topped $60 billion last year, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Javelin says; tablets were responsible for $28.7 billion in mobile online commerce — purchases, payments and the like. It was slightly more than for smartphones. In 2012 tablets accounted for $5.1 billion in commerce.

Javelin says the devices are expected to become more dominant as a purchase channel as tablet device ownership grows. Tablet-optimized shopping experiences, such as apps, should be a top priority for merchants and businesses looking to capitalize on the growth of mobile online commerce.

You can read more about this here. Tell us what you think.

Just a couple of shopping days left until Valentine’s Day. You didn’t forget, did you?

So, what’s the plan for your beloved? Chocolates. A dozen long-stemmed roses (at a substantial markup). Or maybe one of those big stuffed animals from the convenience store with the corny “Be Mine” stitched in its chest.

How about a virtual card? Or poetry?

There are a number of apps out there for your iPhone or Android smartphone that can help make the occasion special, even unique, for you and your significant other. Here are a few that come to mind:

Flowers, and FTD come to mind first, but there’s also The Bouqs. The online floral delivery startup launched a new app that allows customers to send flowers directly from their smartphone or tablet. The app runs on iOS and Android platforms, and provides “two click” sending of its farm-direct flowers to anyone you want.

Virtual Valentine’s card
valday2You can spend five bucks on a store card that rhymes. Or, you can download the Love Pic Booth app for Instagram and show an image of how you really feel. This camera photo app for iPhone and iPad lets you take photos, add frames, and create a romantic or poetic image for the background.

Romantic dinner

valday4Many restaurants are usually booked in advance for Valentine’s Day. Turn to iOs and Android apps like Open Table, NoWait and Zagat to Go ($9.99) to book a cozy restaurant for a romantic dinner for two.

Nothing says romance like a few spoken, or tweeted, words of verse. There’s an app for that, too. “Love Quotes!” is an iTunes app of famous, beautiful and inspirational love quotes and sayings by famous authors.

Valentine Radio is a downloadable app for iOs and Android devices. It’s easy listening mood music from a selection of 40 radio stations that you and your significant other will surely like.



California legislators are proposing a law that would be the first in the nation to require that all smartphones and tablets sold in the state have disabling technology installed that would render the smartphone or tablet inoperable if stolen.

As we said in a recent post, the proposed “kill switch” law could catch on nationwide as thefts of mobile devices continue to be a serious and dangerous issue. If passed, the law could go into effect as early as New Year’s Day.

tablets_artUntil then — or if you live somewhere other than California — here are a few low-tech ways to safeguard your mobile device from theft:

Don’t leave your device unattended. It only takes a moment for a thief to walk off with your $600 iPad or $400 smartphone when you’re at the coffee shop counter. Don’t leave it alone in public places.

Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid using it in areas that appear unsafe. Be wary of people who act suspiciously, and keep both hands on the device when using it in public.

Install a tracking app. This comes in handy in case someone does swipe your mobile device or takes it by force. Both Android smartphones and iPhones offer free tracking apps. You can log in to another device like a laptop or tablet to locate your missing device. Get help from law enforcement; don’t go after it yourself.

Use the protection features installed on your device. Whether it is fingerprint technology, retinal displays or a password, use these features to render the phone or tablet or iPad useless to thieves.

Treat the device like your wallet. You make sure your wallet containing your cash, ATM card, personal photos and other sensitive items is secure from pickpockets. Your smartphone or tablet has sensitive data, passwords, mobile banking information, all of which can be a big payoff for thieves. Treat your mobile device like you would your wallet.