Better Than Email - Three Ways to Send Information From Your PC to Your Phone Or Tablet

By Will Smith

We've all done it--email a link from a PC to ourselves just so it's easy to open on a phone or tablet. But there are better ways.

It's a problem that probably shouldn't exist. You're looking at something on your computer, but you really need that information on your phone or tablet. In the old days, I probably would have just emailed myself a link to the appropriate page, but there's a better way to solve that same problem using a handful of different services.

Instapaper was the first service I knew of to make this transition easy and (relatively) email-less. After you created an Instapaper account, all you need to do is create a special bookmarklet on your PC. When you're on a page you want to send to your devices, you click the bookmarklet. The next time you launch the Instapaper app on your iOS or Android device, it will be there. Instapaper even formats the stories for optimal viewing on your device, essentially removing the website frame so you can focus on the article. You can also set up Instapaper to automatically add stories to your Kindle, using your Kindle's email delivery option. Delivery to the Kindle is a free service, but the apps for iOS and Android cost a few bucks each. I find the apps to be well worth the money, if you frequently read long-form articles or spend any time on public transit.

Instapaper is fantastic for longer text articles, but it doesn't work well if you just need to share a simple link. Whether you're sharing directions, an image, or a webpage that's frequently updated, Instapaper isn't the best tool. Enter Google's Chrome to Mobile extension. Chrome to Mobile provides an easy way to send anything you can see in your desktop browser to a phone or tablet running Chrome. To set up Chrome to Mobile, you sign into the same Google account from Chrome on your PCs and mobile devices, then ensure the Chrome to Mobile setting is checked in all your mobile devices. Add the Chrome to Mobile extension to your desktop machines. To share a page, you click the mobile phone on the right side of Chrome's Omnibar and select the device you want to share with. Google sends a push notification with the link to the device. It really is dead simple.

Amazon just introduced it's Chrome to Kindle extension. It lets you click a button in Chrome to send an article to your Kindle (or Kindle app). In other words, it offers much the same functionality as Instapaper's send to Kindle feature, without all the unnecessary mucking around in email. Setting it up is simple: install the extension, log into Amazon, choose which device you want to send the story to, and whether you want to pay for delivery over Amazon's cell service or get free delivery over Wi-Fi, and you're good to go. I'm not sure that Chrome to Kindle offers any real benefits for a long-time Instapaper user like me, but it's an available option.

There you have three easy ways to blast information from your PC to your smartphone or tablet, without emailing links to yourself. Do you know a good way to transfer info from a computer to a mobile device? Post it in the comments!