Remember a few years ago when I wrote features on BlackBerry apps, Android apps and NE White kindly followed up with some essential apps for iPhone users? Well, now I have had a Kindle Fire for six months I feel it is time to revisit the app store to give you some of the essentials for your Kindle Fire.
How would a writer on the move actually function without a Cloud app? I couldn’t! Dropbox is arguably the most famous and the best tool for simple storage of all your files and you get a lot of space from the beginning that you can increase as you fill out their survey and invite others to use it. Most importantly, it’s free. Working in sync with your traditional computer media, you can put files into your Dropbox as you would any other folder, sync it on your Kindle Fire and it’s updated. The beauty of Dropbox is that you can work offline with it too, so long as you sync to get the most up to date file. I took a train journey to Bristol this weekend and using Dropbox allowed me to work on Dead Heat and simply sync it when I got home without needing to email the file to myself and copy it back later.
You will need to change the settings on your Fire though to accept third party apps because oddly, it is not available through Google Play.
WPS Office (Kingsoft)
You’ve probably used this on your Android or Apple phone for a while now. It does its job quite well, but I am not very patient with office packages on my phone and though I have it installed, I try to avoid using my phone for that sort of thing. Your Kindle Fire is another matter though. Working in tandem with Dropbox, you can open the file in the Cloud software and save it directly back to the folder without needing to copy it onto your device, saving you space as well as hassle. It comes with a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation package. Designed with mobile in mind, there are several views you can use – I personally like the web view when I am writing fiction because it maximises the screen size and removes the borders for easier viewing.
Office Suite Pro
If it’s extra functionality you want and don’t mind paying for your mobile office apps (I have it but downloaded it free when it was on special introductory offer in the autumn). It’s slick, smooth, attractive to look at and comes with a user-friendly interface, a pdf viewer, an email reader and a useful file browser.
The free version is basic, and there’s not much to compare between it and WPS, but the paid version has a number of extra features including the ability to save files to PDF which is very handy if you are sending somebody a file and their word processor does not use a compatible format (though these days, that’s much rarer than it used to be), printing from your mobile device, support for Open Office formats, password protect your files and even Track Changes. The newest version (Office Suite Pro 8) It’s presently £4.80 at Google Play (around $7.50 USD), this is a very powerful app.
Because sometimes you don’t need or want a powerful office package and a simple note-taking app is all you will need. Like that freely available on Android phones, it lists notes you’ve already created. No frills, no fuss, just a simple digital jotter pad that has the added bonus that you can email simple text files to yourself or send the notes in a text message where you have internet connectivity. This is not a Cloud app.
It isn’t just your laptop or desktop that needs protecting from malicious threats. Many people do business through their tablets, conduct bank transactions and many other uses of sensitive information. It stands to reason that you want to protect that digital information. Webroot is free and runs in the background yet remains visible. It sends you occasional reminders that your digital signature is out of date and recommends that you update and scan your device.
One of the most flexible Cloud apps and still going strong, it’s perfect for your multimedia needs while on the move. It’s still not an app I use a lot of, or need to use very often, but I can see great potential for it if ever I need to collect data while I am out – and it’s handy to have on all my devices just in case. Web pages, audio clips, photos (if you have a camera installed). Persistently voted a “must have app”, it’s been going strong for many years and new functions are added all the time. For a small fee, you can upgrade to premium which means more space, the ability to work offline, text search and access earlier versions of notes. You may not need any of this, but it’s handy if you use it a lot and use it for memory-heavy applications such as images.
You know the conversation you have with yourself “oh that’s interesting, I’ll email that link to myself.” Copy link, open email app, email to my address, copy text to the email body aaaaand… send. Faffy and an inconvenient way of saving web pages, Youtube videos, images and anything else really and for many things, it’s still the only way to do it unless you are an EverNote junkie.
That was until Pocket which works in conjunction with your browser. What it does, is saves individual web pages for you to read later and you don’t need an internet connection when you go back to look at them, either. Pocket is a useful page-grabbing function.