New tech device? Make the most of it

We've got apps, advice, accessories and more for devices running Android, iOS 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X Mavericks.

'Tis the season for giving and receiving new tech devices. But don't stop there -- whether you're the lucky recipient of a new tablet, smartphone or computer, or you provide tech support to someone who is, check out and share these Computerworld stories.

We've got tips for the latest OS versions, roundups of excellent apps and key accessories, and advice on how to safely dispose of old devices. Click a link below to skip directly to your chosen topic.

Android phones and tablets

Android essentials: The first 12 apps I install on every phone

Android Power blogger JR Raphael reveals his go-to Android apps for making a phone viable as his primary device.

5 outstanding Android keyboard apps

Make your Android device better than ever with a custom onscreen keyboard that suits your style. These five options represent the best the platform has to offer.

Android lock screen widgets: 20 excellent options

Android 4.2 lets you put widgets on your lock screen -- so which apps make the most of the feature? We round up 20 of the best.

iPhone who? 8 awesome apps you'll find only on Android

There are tons of apps on Android that are unavailable and without any equivalent on iOS, many of which make an enormous difference in the day-to-day use of a mobile device. Here are eight worthy examples.

How to make the hottest Android home screens yourself

A guide (featuring input from readers) to making some interesting and creative home screen setups that wouldn't be possible on any other platform.

Android 4.4, KitKat: The complete FAQ

After months of waiting and more than a few unofficial leaks, Google's latest version of Android -- Android 4.4, a.k.a. KitKat -- has arrived. Here's what KitKat is all about, and what it means for you.

Android 4.4 upgrade list: Is your device getting KitKat?

If you're not lucky enough to have received a phone or tablet with KitKat preinstalled, this regularly updated list reveals when you can expect it to be rolled out to your device.

Your complete guide to making the most of Android this holiday season

For even more Android help, this guide rounds up an astonishing array of tips, apps and advice from Android Power blogger JR Raphael.

iPhones and iPads

The Apple Holic's essential guide to iOS 7 secrets

Got an iPhone as a holiday gift? Read this guide to the device's less well-known tools and you'll use it like a pro.

7 power-saving tips for iOS 7

A smartphone without power isn't even a phone, so here are seven tips to memorize if you want to keep your iPhone or iPad working just that little bit longer.

iOS 7 tips: taking better iPhone photos

Taking iPhone pictures is pretty simple, but the results will be even more impressive with these simple tips.

Quick guide: AirDrop for OS X Mavericks and iOS 7

Hassle-free file sharing between devices is easy with AirDrop, following these simple steps for iOS 7.

iOS 7: A quick guide to using iPhone calling features

Here's everything you need to know to use your iPhone effectively to take and manage phone calls.

How to improve Siri in iOS 7

Siri is your intelligent assistant, but sometimes its achievements disappoint. Here's how to train it and use it to best effect.

A simple guide for Android to iPhone/iOS switchers

Just moved to the iPhone from Android? Here's a little info to help you migrate your digital existence.

Touch and type: 3 keyboard covers for the iPad Mini

Covers from Belkin, Logitech and Zagg offer both protection for your iPad Mini's screen and a keyboard.

12 great gifts for iPad and iPhone users

If you've just gotten an iPad or iPhone, or know someone who has, here are some great products to make the device even better.

The 7 best new features in iOS 7

Behind the radical new look and retooled user experience are some easily overlooked capabilities you'll enjoy.

Smartphones and tablets (general)

10 portable battery chargers to keep your device powered

No matter how powerful the battery, it's nearly impossible to keep your mobile device running though a busy day. Here are some mobile chargers that can help.

8 apps to keep your car rolling

These mobile apps can help you maintain your car, save money on gas, avoid an accident -- or help if you have one.

11 free mobile apps for city life

We've sifted through a wealth of mobile apps to see which ones can best help you find transportation, food, housing and local events in your city.

10 smartphone apps that can help track your expenses

If you need to record your expenditures for your company or the IRS, these iPhone and Android apps can make it easier.

Look, ma, no hands! 9 mounts for mobile devices

On the desk or on the go, it is often inconvenient -- and sometimes dangerous -- to have to hold your smartphone or tablet. These mounts for your car, office or home let you drive, work or play hands-free.

7 business card apps for smartphones: Scan 'em and store 'em

If you can't keep track of your business cards, one of these smartphone apps can help you scan and store all those new contacts.

3 wireless media hubs: Extra storage for mobile devices

Travelers who want to take some extra storage and battery power along with them should check out these three mobile devices.

4 Bluetooth speakers: Improve your mobile sound

Today's smartphones and tablets still have less-than-stellar speakers. Try one of these for a better audio experience.

Windows 8 computers and tablets

10 nifty Windows 8 apps -- all free

Need help negotiating the corporate landscape? Want to track your network usage? Just looking for a fun little time-waster? These free apps for Windows 8 can help.

Windows 8 cheat sheet

Windows 8's interface can be bewildering for the uninitiated. If this is your first Windows 8 PC or tablet, here's how to find your way around the OS and make the most of its features.

10 Windows 8 tips, tricks and hacks

Starting to get comfortable with Windows 8? Don't stop now: From invoking 'God Mode' to hacking the lock screen, here are 10 ways to make Windows 8 act the way you want.

25 practical Windows 8 tablet apps for business users

Work smarter -- not harder -- with these no-nonsense Windows 8 tablet apps for business.

How to boost Windows 8 performance

Want your Windows 8 machine to run faster? Of course you do. These tools and techniques can help.

5 tips and secrets for getting more out of Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 solves some of the problems introduced with Windows 8, but there are still some improvements you can make to the newer version. Here's how.

The hidden fangs of Windows 8.1 -- and how to avoid them

If your machine came with Windows 8 and you're considering upgrading to Windows 8.1, make sure you understand the gotchas and how not to get bit.

The desktop lover's guide to supercharging Windows 8.1

Don't like the Metro interface on your PC? Here's the best way to banish it and boost your productivity.

Macs

OS X Mavericks in depth

New to Mavericks? Reviewer Michael deAgonia details what you need to know.

8 great OS X Mavericks tips

Got a new Mac? Explore these advanced OS X tips that put you in even more control.

OS X Mavericks tips: Control the information you share with apps

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon... it's all about the data. This guide puts you in control of the data you share in Mavericks.

Quick guide: AirDrop for OS X Mavericks and iOS 7

Hassle-free file sharing between Macs is easy with AirDrop, following these simple steps.

How to improve Mac performance: OS X Mavericks edition

In this guide you'll learn everything you need to squeeze even more performance from your new machine.

The 10 best new features in OS X Mavericks

Some changes in Mavericks are truly useful, even if not immediately obvious. Be sure not to miss these.

Quick guide: OS X Mavericks for Windows switchers

First time with a Mac? Here's a short guide to help Windows users get up to speed on on Macs and Mavericks.

Laptops and desktops (general)

7 mobile hard drives: More portable and more powerful

If you want to back up and carry all your data with you, these lightweight hard drives let you do it easily and with style.

Here, there, everywhere: 3 personal cloud storage systems

If you don't want to store your important files on Dropbox or Box for security or other reasons, you can create your own cloud storage system.

4 video editors: Pro results for ambitious amateurs

Video-editing software now offers features formerly only available to pros. We review four of the top packages (with video examples).

Safely disposing of your old devices

How to clear your data off a device

Before you ditch a smartphone, tablet or computer, you need to make sure none of your data is retrievable. Here's how to do it.

How to recycle your phone, PC and other tech gear

Now that recycling is mandatory in many states, it's become even easier to sell, recycle or give away your unwanted hardware.

9 museums that want your legacy tech

Museums and other institutions are searching for examples of older technology to exhibit. Is there a computer in your basement that qualifies? We tell you who's looking and what they're looking for.

Read more about hardware in Computerworld's Hardware Topic Center.

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