When you think about it, it’s kind of weird why tablets have cameras. It’s not as convenient to use as a cellphone or a dedicated digital camera, nor is the quality any more astounding. And picking up a tablet to take pictures is just plain, well, awkward.
But there are great ways you can use the camera on your tablet, some of which aren’t what you would usually expect. So make the most out that camera (you paid for it after all) by using a few apps that take advantage of it.
Google maps is great but if you really want a more immersive experience, augmented reality is the way to go. The way it works is by taking the image of your surroundings through the device’s camera, processing that as well as other data, and piping through a video feed that shows points of interest on your screen. It’s like a cheat sheet for places. Layar is one of the most well-known apps in this space and since the screen of a tablet is much bigger than that of a phone, you get to drink in more info when you use Layar on a tablet such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
With a tablet, taking down notes is way better because of the larger screen and Evernote is one of the best apps in this regard. With this app you can do everything: shoot pics, jot down notes and even share them online. While the Honeycomb version of the app is not yet live, they do have an Alpha version available you can try out. Some uses are snapping up your wife’s written grocery list, taking pictures of projector slides or quick copying of a friends’ notes.
3. Photo Booth – Picsay
A tablet might not be the ideal device to use for capturing photo memories but it does great for impromptu photo sessions. You can use your tablet for a photo booth during parties, birthdays and other occasions. Snap up photos of people doing wacky poses with props, add speech bubbles and graphics with Picsay and you capture some fun times right there. Top it off with its ability to share photos socially and you can quickly show people on the internet how cool your event is, all in realtime.
One of the more obvious and best uses of the tablet’s camera is through video chatting. Almost all Android tablets have front-facing cameras, which coupled with the larger screen makes it perfect for catching up with family overseas or conferencing with business partners. This is built-in on Google Talk for tablets that run Honeycomb but if yours doesn’t have this Android version yet (shame on you, tablet maker!), you can use Fring to do video calls. Or wait a bit longer, it’s getting rolled out to Android 2.3+ devices in the near future.
You can also use the camera of your tablet as a handy scanner. Snap a pic of that document and save it online with Google Docs. The smaller screen of cellphones really make it difficult to inspect document snapshots, but you will have no such problem with a tablet. The icing on top is that Google Docs also does OCR and can convert your picture into text (well, it’s still buggy right now but Google’s working on it).