iPad, Thrive, Xoom, Streak, TouchPad, Galaxy …
What is the difference? What do you want?
Tablets are the latest and greatest new tech gadgets. We are all about portability and mobility these days.
Do you even need a tablet? Tablets ARE NOT replacements for full computers, desktop or notebook.
A tablet as we have come to describe the iPad, Thrive, Xoom, et cetera is a flat screen device. You will use your finger or a stylus to manipulate the screen. Many of the tablets have keyboard and mouse accessories, but again, we are all about mobility. Aren’t we? You may want to consider other options such as netbooks or smaller notebooks. You can pretty much use many of the tablets as a sheet of paper, scribbling notes and making lists. Much to your disillusion, a tablet should serve as more than an application (app) player too.
Apps are important!
Regardless of which tablet or which applications for your tablet that you will use, you will have to deal with bad operating system stability, hardware constraints, and poor development. These are occurrences across the entire market. Research and finding users that have experience with a particular App are your best protection. App purchases can get very expensive very quickly.
The Android does have the fewest Apps. The Android Market is not as friendly as the Apple Market too. The user interface lacks quite a bit. It is cumbersome and confusing. As well, it needs a developer community equal to that of Apple. The applications are not there in the same quantity as those for the Apple devices. Actually, they are not even close yet.
A serious consideration is that many tablets are not actually computers, even though they appear as such.
They do not run a full operating system like Windows or OS. Often they are streamlined or cut versions. Mobile phone operation systems, such as iOS and Android, are commonly used on tablets. They are not as powerful or as functional. There are true tablets, that is true mobile computers. You will need to research function and balance that with your own want or need.
The Honeycomb operating system was designed specifically for tablets. It is the first.
There has been a lot of talk in the tech community about Honeycomb. This is Google’s child. We all love Google. The sync ability is something of great resource for users. iPad requires that you connect via USB or use iTunes and add files directly. The 3.2 is soon to be out with better media sync, straight from the SD card unlike the earlier system. Look for it over the next few months if you already have a tablet with this system. This will mean better resolution, better app function, and better compatibility (a key feature if you ask me). For the current Android 3.0, it is the most configurable tablet system, has the widest range of hardware choices, contains the best notification system, has free GPS, and supports Adobe Flash.
A note, the iPad is actually a step backward in technology and not a move forward. Tablets that retailed in the early 2000s were actually better than the iPad. This is something to think about in all seriousness, and hardware resources could be why Apps crash more frequently – but who is to say that it isn’t poor development too. No one can seem to agree on this.
Yet, Apple has topped the market with around 60% (9.25 million) of all purchases being an iPad. We are purchasing an inferior technology because of Apple Apps. This is the truth. However, it doesn’t make the choice a bad choice either. If you want the Apple Apps, you need an Apple device like the iPad, iPhone, or iPod (which uses the Apple Apps too for much less cost).
Flash – most web content relies on Adobe Flash installation.
With that stated, the iPads do not run Flash. You can purchase an Apple App that will allow you to view Flash content as a third-party, which is sending the content to another server and sending it back to you in a format that you can view. These types of Apps are not free and often very slow. As well, you could choose to hack your iPad so that you can do what these Apps do, but who wants to hack a brand new iPad? Even I would not consider this type of hack until my warranty expired! In the defense of Apple, I linked their comments below about poor Flash performance on mobile devices. I really could rebuke each point, but I’ll leave that be as it doesn’t pertain to our current discussions.
Let me add to the Flash problem by explaining that Apple wants to force the implementation of HTML5, a native web application that can run full video and content similar to Flash. HTML5 is far from perfect. I do not think this is the answer either, but it is gaining some support from developers.
Apple is very controlling of its operating systems. This is the main reason for not wanting to incorporate Flash. Their idea is that they can fix what is broke if they keep it all to themselves. Well, I dislike the lack of cohesion or functionality that has resulted. I think that with the technical progress and internet usage gains that their proprietary practices will come back to bite them in their red, round butts. In other words, they are taking things to the extreme, and I hope that they find a compromise soon. It would be a shame to see the iPad end up in the lost tech piles.
Battery life is a major factor. Keep in mind that many things will affect battery life including but not limited to the brightness of the screen. The life listed, let’s say 10 hours, is without normal usage. I am not dimming my screen and squinting so that I get an extra hour of life. You can typically expect 3 to 5 hours of normal usage without having to implement power saving tactics.
I do have some final notes. Look at the size and design. You will be holding this device and using a finger or stylus to operate. Decide if you want a cellular model or a Wi-Fi model. For a cellular model, you will need to visit cell phone providers. For a Wi-Fi model, you will need to have wireless connectivity available, through a router, public wireless network, or mobile hotspot. You should look at camera and video chatting. The last I checked, the Xoom had this one in the bag with better quality, but not all video Apps are going to be of the same quality or user-friendly. Evaluate the price of the tablet and any possible accessories, including but not limited to screen protectors, cases, bags, stylus, ear phones, and keypads.
1. Consider the hardware.
2. Evaluate the operating system.
3. Look at the applications (Apps) available.
4. Choose connectivity.
5. Decide on accessories.
6. Ask yourself if you have met your needs and wants.
Get hands-on experience. Head to your local tech store! Take a list of questions.
Links that you need to follow:
Honeycomb: Android for Tablets (see the video link on youTube for the Android 3.0)