Sunday, March 13, 2011

The current state of Tablets.

A Tablet is a mobile computer that runs Applications like a notebook, netbook or desktop computer.
Tablets have been aroud for a long time but never really caught on until the rise of the smartphone.
Essentially a Tablet is a hybrid of smartphone and computer with either a stylus or finger touch screen. It usually has a screen anywhere from 4 to 10 inches or more.
At the present time there are alot of Tablets available. Apple started the Tablet craze with the iPad which just last week was available in its 2nd iteration - the iPad 2. Since that time Archos, View Sonic, Dell, Motorola and an army of other familiar and unfamiliar manufacturers have produced their own Tablets. Blackberry is about to release its own version of a Tablet called the PlayBook.
What is the difference between them?
The OS or Operating System is the main difference.
Apple uses iOS in various versions. When the iPad first arrived it was nothing more than a large iPhone without the phone part. It ran all the iPhone applications, and the iPhone OS. Today all Android OS tablets are running the Google Android OS - the same as all the smartphones use. Therein lies the problem. Except for the Motorola Xoom which runs Android Gingerbread, all other Android OS tablets are running a phone OS. There are only a handful of true Tablet applications available for the Motorola Xoom. It runs Android Smartphone applications but they are not specifically designed to take advantage of the Xoom's features. All the other Android OS tablets are running a version of Android (1.5 to 2.2) that is for smartphones, not for Tablets. They do the job well enough.
If you can run an Android app on your Android smartphone it will run on your Android tablet as well. Larger screen. Larger size. Same applications.
I am hoping that the Blackberry PlayBook will have a Blackberry Tablet OS and applications just for the PlayBook, and not just another large smartphone app tablet.
This is the current state of Tablets today.
Apple has worked all the kinks out and have a Tablet OS and applications since they have had the most time to develop.
Google and Motorola are playing catch up with the Xoom and Gingerbread, but not many Tablet specific apps are available , but probably will be in the next 6 months (if the Xoom sells, which is questionable at this point because of its high price).
Let me just say this - at present there is nothing that can be done on an Android OS Tablet that you don't already have on a smartphone running a version of Android OS (Froyo is the most common).
So, for app execution, ebook readers, GPS, MP3, Web and email Tablets and smartphones do it all. The main difference is the screen size and the price. But Tablets do not make or receive phone calls (they can however use Skype).
I must mention the first Android Tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab and it has sold alot of units (however there was a 15% return on it). The Tab was the first Android OS tablet (remember its just the phone OS or Froyo). with TV commercials and was available from Verizon and other cell phone carriers. Eventually I expect the Tab will get Gingerbread and be able to run true Tablet applications like the Xoom.

So there you have it - the present state of Tablets today. Go to Amazon and type TABLET in the search box and you will be presented with a vast array of different Tablets from different manufactures.

A word of caution: The Dell Streak 7 is tied to T-Mobile and must be activated through T-Mobile to be used. Hopefully they will come out with a WiFi only version but not right now. I'm not sure if the Galaxy Tab needs a cell phone carrier data plan or not, but it probably does. Many of the Tablets on Amazon are just running the Android Phone OS and use WiFi for connectivity.
Why get a Tablet? Well, you can - just like on your smartphone - run Kindle and Nook and Aldiko and KOBO ebook readers and not be tied down to one device (KOBO, or NOOK or KINDLE or Sony ebook readers). You can run games just like on your cell phone (but beware the battery life of Tablets is about equal to smartphones. 3 or 4 hours of continuous use on a charge). Web, email, MP3 anything and everything except phone features are possible on a Tablet.

Does it make sense to buy a Tablet instead of an ebook reader like Kindle of Nook? Do you want to carry around a 10 inch Tablet instead of a 3 or 4 inch smartphone? These are the questions you must ask yourself and the choices you need to make.

No matter what you decide to do I do recommend YouVersion for either your Tablet or Smartphone. Multiple reading plans and all different versions of the Bible are available in different languages. It is the BEST app for any Tablet or Smarphone available!
Take the Word with you wherever you go with YouVersion!