Saturday, November 26, 2011

Can A New Tablet Computer Change Your Life?

Early IBM laptops ran DOS, with no mouse, Wi-Fi or even a color screen - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) There are two good articles comparing Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet and the Nook Tablet at LATimes.com. For the Kindle story, click HERE. For the Nook story, click HERE. Like mine, some of their information is repetitive, but it is well worth reading twice. Key issues, other than cost are that neither tablet has a 3G/4G connection. That means you need a Wi-Fi connection to go online. Also, the flat screen means that women with longer fingernails may have difficulty when typing on the glass. Barnes & Noble is a book store that needed to compete with Amazon’s Kindle or go out of business. Amazon is an internet juggernaut, as Wal-Mart is to the brick & mortar sector. Either tablet device will work, but I would spend some unhurried time in a retail store demoing both devices prior to purchase.

Of course, there is always Apple's iPad. I am not a big fan of closed systems, and Apple is as closed as it gets. In the future, open architecture platforms (ex. 
Android) will have superior opportunity for innovation. There is only one Apple and everyone in Cupertino headquarters is walking the halls and thinking, “What would Steve do?” It is a natural part of the mourning process, but in a personality-driven company like Apple, forcing the issue either way limits innovation. Looking back at the history of Walt Disney Company, only when Michael Eisner stopped asking, "What would Walt do?" did the company move on to new ventures. Not that Apple wants an Eisner, but conducting a séance or a wake in order to get a few last words out of Steve Jobs is not a good bet.

Early model Motorola mobile telephone (Ca. 1984), featuring unsecured analog radio broadcast technology - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)The previous point is about the future. This is NOW and the iPad gets strong reviews from anyone open-minded enough to spend some time with it. Cost is high, for you are paying for cache’ as much as utility. Be sure to figure the cost of exclusivity into your equation. The top-of-line iPad has 3G connectivity, so if you are willing to pay Apple's price, you can use it almost anywhere. Availability of 4G is still so limited that it is a virtual unknown, except in a few select blocks around a few select clients in major cities. Has the 4G icon ever lit up on your mobile telephone? If it even exists, neither has mine. By the way, Samsung is also a strong player in the tablet computer market. Showing how strong a competitor that they are, Samsung is now Apple’s #2 target for patent litigation, second only to Google, itself.

As a tablet alternative, a small laptop (13-14 inch screen), or even an “obsolete” netbook will give you the keyboard, the Wi-Fi and the option for 3G/4G. If it were me, I’d be over at Fry’s looking for closeouts on Sony Intel I-7 processor notebooks. Such a notebook is more expensive than any tablet and you cannot hug it in bed, but it will outperform the tablets on text and data related activities for years to come. If you want to watch movies in bed, get the iPad.

But then again, I like to hear my keys actually click when they hit bottom. To me a touchy screen is a smudgy screen, so I’ll take a keyboard and mouse any day. My Android smart phone provides me plenty of touch-screen interface time. On the other hand, I did just installed MS Windows speech recognition software on my laptop, so soon I will be dictating these articles. Ha!


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