Transformer Prime writing posts!

I've always been the first one to say that getting any work done with a tablet of any kind isn't very practical. They're great for consumption, but production was something all-together different. I've changed my mind a little bit this week. I now have a Transformer Prime and keyboard dock, and have found that you can get some work done with an Android tablet, you just have to find the right tools. Hit the break, and I'll walk you through how I wrote this blog post (and others) with my Prime.

The two biggest things that make it possible for me are the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade, and the kick-ass keyboard dock ASUS makes. Add a tablet like the Transformer Prime that has the innards to keep up, and you have the makings of a light-duty blogging machine. Read on and see what I mean.

The tools

blogging tools

You'll need to find the right tools to do the job. I spent a bit looking at what Android had to offer, and soon found the essentials that I need to get things done. You may find different tools work better for you, and that's OK. The Google Play store is chock full of similar apps to the ones I'm using, and you'll surely find something that works best for you. What works best for me:

  • Chrome Beta. Remember when I said Ice Cream Sandwich was a must-have for me? This is why. Chrome Beta for Android holds all my bookmarks, my logins, and most importantly renders our blog-writing software correctly. It takes a lot of code and a little bit of magic to bring you the news, and Chrome Beta can handle it. 
  • File Manager HD. There are a lot of good file managers available, but I prefer File Manager HD on a tablet. It works great, ties in with my Samba shares on my home network, and a $2.49 in-app purchase disables the ads. Any good file manager would work, File Manager HD is the one that works for me.
  • RawDroid. I shoot my pictures in RAW format. RawDroid (still considered a demo/beta) can open my Sony .ARW files without crashing and export them to any image editor. If I remember, I switch my camera to convert to jpg format, but RawDroid is a life-saver for those times I don't remember.
  • PicSay Pro.  There's a lot of different apps that will crop and edit photos. I like PicSay Pro. You should use the one you like best. But be sure to try the free version of PicSay before you decide, it does just about anything you'd need from a lightweight photo editor. 
  • Gmail. Chances are you're using this one anyway. You'll need it to talk to your boss and co-workers throughout the day.
  • Riptide GP. All work and no play might make Jack a dull boy, but I wouldn't know. There's always time to play.

Getting it done

Talking to the boss

The first thing I always do is give Phil a heads up about what I'm working on. He's the brains behind this whole operation, I'm just a pretty face. Seriously -- it takes a lot of communication to keep things rolling on any busy website. That, and sending dirty jokes to all the writers, is why the Gmail app is so important.

copying the pictures

While I'm thinking about what I want to write, I take about a million pictures. They help give you ideas, and pictures are a must to help show what you're talking about. Like this one, where I'm copying some from the camera to my Prime. I'm still learning the camera settings for my tablet, so I use what I know best -- luckily the keyboard dock lets me pop my SDcard right in and go. The cloud is convenient, and I use it for all of my storage needs. But to crank out a blog post I need something a bit more instant.

converting my files

Because I usually shoot RAW format pictures, I have to open them in RawDroid and export them into another editor. It's a simple, but necessary step. Menu > File > Open, have a look and make sure it's what I was going for, then Menu > File > Save As or export. If I'm smart and plan ahead a little bit, I can skip this step -- but usually neither is the case. Good thing it's easy to work around.

getting them ready

Then I'll open my images in PicSay Pro, resize and crop them. There's probably an even lighter-weight alternative out there to do this, but like I mentioned earlier, I like PicSay Pro's features and it does a fine job at it. I've no incentive to look for something new. One day when I'm bored I'll search, but for now I stick with what works.

getting the files

The next step is to jump back to Chrome, and upload those pictures. This is where a good file manager comes into play, you don't want to be fooling with cumbersome controls and complicated menu schemes just to upload a picture. 

blogging is fun

Now all that's left to do is put a few words together. Sometimes it's the easy part, sometimes not so much. Like transferring the pictures using the full size SDcard slot, this would not be happening if it weren't for the keyboard dock. If you have a Transformer or Prime, think about getting one if you don't already have one.


Then a little bit of Jet Ski action to wind down, and you're done.

And there you have it. I was wrong when I said you couldn't do any work with a tablet, and I'm happy to admit it. I wouldn't want to try to cover CES with just the Transformer Prime, but I'll bet it could be done -- with the right tools. (Like Riptide GP).


Reader comments

How I do it: Working from my Transformer Prime


I can totally relate to this article as I have a small photography business and a Transformer Prime to help make things mobile. I photograph and sometimes use SD cards so that I can easily pull images up on the prime. One app that I noticed was missing from your article that makes my life easier EVERY DAY is Evernote. I have a note of To Do's that I can check off when I complete so that I can stay on track. Also I noticed that you had mentioned you take a lot of photos, evernote has the ability to take pictures and add them to your notes. Another great way to keep organized and keep track of reminders.

Edit- Not to mention it syncs on the web and across multiple platforms. I also have evernote on my Galaxy Nexus and iPad2. It is awesome having access to my notes when and where ever I am.

Splashtop HD is another amazing app for the Prime. There have been a few occasions where I wasn't able to access my PC and I had to splashtop into it and I was surprisingly able to get actual work done using Photoshop in it's entirety! I was able to crop, edit and design a wedding album using the prime this way. It blew my mind how smooth and responsive it was. I used a wireless mouse and it felt like it was running right on my machine. Not to mention the keyboard shortcuts work perfectly as you'd expect them to with the keyboard dock.

I'm sure Jerry will chime in here any minute but the SPE/MobileNations sites are built with Drupal. I'd be curious to know what version though :)

This is a Drupal 7 website, for sure! Coming from a guy who makes his living with Drupal... Excellent article Jerry, as usual! Keep up the good work.

Great post, Jerry. I don't like to work on my mobile devices but I have used Citrix to remote to a user's PC to fix issues using my phone and iPad. Not an ideal situation. It is nice to switch right over to Triple Town right when the work is done.

It looks like the biggest weakness of the experience was dealing with photos. A good app could remedy that. I don't know if one exists and I haven't tried photoshop touch yet.

PS Touch is amazing, and well worth the 10 clams. But it's not what I use for quick and dirty cropping and resizing. 

If you only have one picture, and it has to look good, then PS Touch will do it. In my case, I take 20 or 30 and can cherry pick the good ones that don't need any serious editing.

Transformer Prime is a great tablet and along with the attached keyboard it is the best of both worlds and the price is affordable. Dev support isn't as good as on the Samsung 10.1 but it's getting better. Great article, I will have that same combo very soon myself.

very nice article, indeed - I particularly like that you stress the Prime's biggest advantage here, it being a tablet you can actually work on. It comes with the keyboard dock which is perfect for fast typing, has the usb port for the mouse.. both easy to plug in and unplug - and, it comes with ICS. Chrome beta is also my preferred choice of browser.

The Prime doesn't "come with the keyboard dock". You might have bought it at the same time, though...

Actually outside of the USA, it comes as a bundle. It confused me too watching unboxing vids on YT.

Great post! Transformer Prime is the best for sure!!! Got it to read books and play games, now it's almost my main computer. I still like Dolphin and Firefox over Chrome Beta right now though, sorry.
I switch between Polaris Office and OfficeSuitePro, but have to say OfficeSuite by Mobile Systems, Inc. is pretty awesome, best choice for Powerpoint and others right now in my opinion!!

~Posted by my Virtuous Prime 1.6ghz X 4 Beast!

I was just like you. Now I use my Prime as my main computer. I have every major office suite thanks to FAOTD! I do not regret getting the Prime at all.

Word processing on any tablet still sucks right now. I'm waiting for Win 8 tablets -- really hope Microsoft hits a grand slam with solid word processing on a tablet.

Is that a mouse dongle there sticking out the right side? I've been thinking about using one with my TPrime. I would love to be able to work from my TPrime, but I need a good terminal program and a way to get connected to an openconnect/anyconnect VPN. I tried the Cisco stuff in the market, but it doesn't work.

A responsible, hard working fellow would have a mouse dongle there while working. But in my case it's a wireless dongle for a Logitech Gamepad so I can use it to play Riptide :P

I'm holding out until the Note 10.1, but the lack of any info from Sammy is really shifting my focus on one these bad boys.

This was going to be my first tablet before I learned of the Note. We'll see how long I can hold out. This post makes a very strong case for the Prime.

I was at one time looking for a new, smaller laptop to compliment my Galaxy Nexus. I hated the idea of a tablet. Over the last few months, I have become intrigued with the idea of a tablet setup for a PC replacement. I'm thinking that the Google tablet may be what I'm waiting for.

I absolutely love PicSay Pro. It was what finalized my decision to drop my Pre, and switch to Android way back in November 2009. A friend had the Hero. I played with it to test the waters. PicSay was so awesome, I ordered my Hero that very day. It has only gotten better since.

I did a very mild test of going PC-less last week during a local conference. I only carried my 7D and Xoom to see what I could do. I was actually quite impressed. I was able to take photos with my SLR (I have it set to RAW+jpg in this situation), pull them off via USB-host, and edit them with Photoshop Touch and then post them. This provided much better quality than the built in cameras on the phone and tablet.

I was able to take simple notes also, but I think it is about time I broke down and bought a bluetooth keyboard. The onscreen keyboard was plenty sufficient, but not necessarily efficient.

I will now have to play with making an effort on trying some web development. I found vim for Android, and am curious to give that a go.

What an exellent post Jerry, outstanding as alwasys

Its a one more reason to consider a Tablet !
Ive been thinking about getting a Tablet since the Xoom came out & brother's PlayBook is also tempting , but what ive noticed that these babies need access to internet all the time so you can enjoy their full advantages

I have to agree, I have the original Transformer with the dock and live it. I can only imagine how much I would love the prime
I tend to leave the dock at home plugged in with a mouse and use it to bang out emails and when I leave undock and I have a great tablet to travel with.

I honestly can't wait to try this out. I just ordered my prime and should arrive sometime on/after Tuesday. Its champagne gold then I'm going with amethyst gray for the dock. I'm in college right now so this would be perfect to take notes & my papers while using my Verizon nexus when I need to upload/download data =)

I tried the Prime, but got frustrated with all the spontaneous reboots and app freezes and crashes. Took it back and got the new iPad. For the same price, it's a pretty easy call, much as I love Android.

I'm surprised you blog from Chrome on the prime. Chrome for Android is notoriously buggy when it comes to keyboard docks. On my Prime dock shift + c does a backspace. Shift + b return. Very annoying. Known issue, not just the Prime just physical keyboards in general. I can't stress enough this is a Chrome issue, not a keyboard issue the prime keyboard works great with all other apps and browsers.

Out of curiosity, if all you're doing (unless I missed something) is cropping and resizing, why do you bother shooting in RAW? The whole advantage of RAW files is being able to tinker with the photos...

Seems to me you wouldn't need a special app that handles/exports RAW files if you just shot in JPEG and cropped/resized there.

I have hardly touched my PC and have sold my laptop since I got my TF101.

I got it, plus the keyboard dock, for $350 and can pretty much do everything I need to do on it.
I use it about 50% with the dock and 50% just the tablet and love that.

Plus the games that are available in the market are way better than what I was able to play on my old laptop. :)