Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

How many mobile devices does one shoulder bag need?

March 28th, 2011 by Beth A. Lewis

Going through the security line at the airport is one of my least favorite things to do.  Not because the people aren't generally friendly…they are (I think TSA is providing customer service training based on most of my recent experiences).  No…my challenge is how many bins do I need for the various mobile devices in my shoulder bag? Laptop? Check! Droid  Smartphone? Check!  iPad? Check!  Kindle? Check!  Flip video? Check! 

When the Kindle first came out in fall 2007, my friend Rick Klau bought one.  I was instantly envious, so I bought one, too!  I loved it.  Then, the second one came out about a year later and I bought it, too.  I loved it even more!  I especially love the fact that I can carry hundreds of books with me at any time. And I'm very proud of the fact that Fortress Press has almost 2000 titles available for Kindle and other ereaders.  Since I travel quite a bit, I can flip back and forth in my Kindle between one of our titles to my Bible to a business book to a murder mystery and back again.   I love the fact that I can highlight, make notes, etc. as I read.  I don't love the fact that illustrations, such as graphs and charts, aren't always clear because of the size limitations. 

About a year ago, having seen the Android phone belonging to my Truman State University-student-nephew, Matt, I too purchased a Droid.  Mostly, I like it.  The fact that it syncs with my Outlook email, calendar, address book, etc. is great….except when it overrides items in my address book, such as when one day it decided that anyone in my Outlook address book with the last name of "Larson" must all by the same person!  So, it dumped all of their phone numbers, email addresses, etc. into one entry on my phone!  I'm in the ELCA!  Do you know how many people named "Larson" are in my address book?  I suppose I should be greatful that it didn't happen to the Olson's, Nelson's, and Johnson's, too!  I have a few apps that I have downloaded to my Droid phone. My favorites are the Kindle app (a bit spooky that when I read something on the treadmill in the morning on my Kindle, when I pull up the same "book" on my Droid in the afternoon, it goes immediately to where I stopped reading that morning on the other device), the GPS (which really came in handy recently when my husband and I were speaking in two different congregations and the Central States Synod office in the metro area), and this past week, during March Madness, the ESPN Scorecenter app!  (Go Kentucky Wildcats!!!!) And, I love having the camera handy at any and all times to take photos of our adorable granddaughters or interesting things I see in my travels. I've never been much of a photographer, but it's so easy to take photos and share them with others, that I find myself doing so more and more often. 

I had no particular desire to have an iPad.  I am decidedly not one of the "I love anything and everything Apple" tribe. But, I signed up for the Publishing Business Conference & Expo and by doing so before a particular registration cut off date, I received a "free" iPad (1.0 since it was a couple of months ago).  To be honest, it took me a couple of weeks to start playing around with it.  But….I admit it….I'm hooked!  (my husband will be happy to attest to this!) 

And, I have now downloaded about 40 apps.  While that is a bit fewer than the "60 apps per mobile device" that I recently learned is the "average" I was a bit surprised that I had downloaded that many when I counted them!  Most of them were free.  They range from Skype to maps to an language translation app to Dr. Seuss books for my granddaughters.  I had resisted Angry Birds until last Friday.  Now I wish I had resisted it altogether!  It's ridiculously addictive….especially on a late Friday night flight cross-country flight when I was too tired to do anything productive. 

But, even with Angry Birds now on my iPad, I find that I am using it more and more as a productivity tool…really!  It is lighter weight to carry around than my laptop.  I can get my emails, check and add/delete things on my calendar, go to websites as needed, check and add to my Twitter account, I use the notepad for taking notes in meetings, then I can email them to myself so that I don't have to type up notes that in the past I might have handwritten (and hoped that I could read my handwriting IF I ever found the time to type them!), etc.  And, like my Droid, I can read the books that I have purchased for my Kindle.  But, because the screen is a much larger format than my phone, it has now replaced both my Kindle and my Kindle app on my Droid for day-to-day reading use. 

My only complaint about my 1.0 version of the iPad is the weight.  It is quite a bit heavier than the Kindle it replaces in my shoulder bag.  Yes, I know…had I purchased the 2.0 version, I would have a lighter version.  But, I'm happy with my "ancient" 1.0 version for now even with my serial mobile devices track record! 

So, I'm experimenting everyday with this newest mobile device in my bag.  And, I'd love to hear from you….what apps do you have on your mobile devices that you highly recommend for productivity?  For research?  For travel?  For fun?  I'd love to learn from you.  Not only for my own use, but because at AF we are beginning to research how we can best provide productivity apps for our customers.  Last week, a number of us spent a day and a half with a mobile apps consultant brainstorming mobile apps that we might produce.  More on that in my next blog post….in the meanwhile, I'd love to know which apps you use most often.




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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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