As different Internet-connected devices become scattered around your home - laptop, smartphone, iPad, netbook, Internet TV box, and more - it's useful to have apps that connect them together and sync data when necessary. Below we look at 5 products that do this. Ultimately, they help you take control of your multiple devices!
Some of these apps have been suggested to us by the company founders we've interviewed for our product innovation series. These are people who are themselves building innovative apps, so their tips are worth heeding. We'd love to know which apps you use to connect or sync devices in your home, so tell us in the comments.
With so many devices being used in a modern home nowadays, an app that syncs your files is a must-have. Dropbox does exactly that. It's a favorite app of Instapaper creator Marco Arment, who told us that "anything that synchronizes between computers well is a huge time saver and a huge frustration saver."
Indeed Arment considers Dropbox to be "much, much better than iDisk ever was" (referring to Apple's online file hosting service) and he thinks that "Apple should just buy Dropbox, it's that good."
Jim Lanzone, co-founder and CEO of Clicker, uses a product called Veebeam to connect his computer or iPad to a big screen TV wirelessly. Veebeam has the functionality of an alpha product, according to Lanzone. "But the freedom I feel," he told us, "to be able to bring up a browser, navigate to a website to watch it on my big screen in HD, has been liberating - and I could see the future when I did that."
Camera A is a photo app for the iPad that was recommended to us by John Borthwick, co-founder of Betaworks (the company behind Bit.ly, TweetDeck and more). When used with an iPhone app called Camera B, it connects your iPad and iPhone together by bluetooth or wifi and allows you to take photos.
Borthwick told us that it re-defines boundaries for what the iPad is, as the iPad doesn't actually have a camera.
Vuze is a P2P client that enables you to find TV shows and movies available on the Internet. But its usefulness as a web app extends to enabling you to stream that content from your computer to a variety of devices: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple TV, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, and TiVo.
As I noted in a recent open thread about Internet TV, I use Vuze to stream TV shows or movies to my Sony Playstation 3 (which is connected to my TV).
Rdio is the new online (and offline) music service from the founders of Skype. One of its defining features is its ability to sync music across different devices. So if you want to listen to music offline on your mobile phone, you can save it there and sync back to Rdio when you're online again. It's all done in the cloud, so there's no physical connection necessary.
Clicker's Jim Lanzone is a fan of Rdio. "I still use Pandora and I love the new genre channel that they've launched," he told us, "but I think Rdio has a lot of great personalization and sharing features."
Tell Us What Apps You Use to Connect Your Devices
The five we've mentioned are of course a small sample of apps that connect or sync your devices. Let us know which apps you use and like, in the comments!