TECH BYTES: Which Tablet Should I Take?

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“Yu runnin’ and yu runnin’ and yu runnin’ away, yu can’t run away from yourself!” – Bob Marley & the Wailers

You know, I started Yaadinfo – and in particular the blog – to deal with current affairs and Jamaican issues, and not always the “Lighter Side” either. I had (almost) totally abandoned my technological background, but as the Gong seemed to have presaged so long ago, mi cyaan run weh from it!

Recently I had a few discussions on twitter with individuals who’ve been contemplating purchasing tablet PCs (e.g. the HP TouchPad, the Apple iPad or any of the Android tablets). After a few more tech discussions where I found myself dispensing advice, I decided to try to do a regular blog post with some technology and gadget tips and news – try being the operative word.

So for the first blog in this series we’ll attempt to determine which tablet is good for you, with the least side effects. The main options are the ones I mentioned above, and will list again below:

  • HP TouchPad (WebOS)
  • Apple iPad/iPad2 (iOS)
  • Android Tablets from various manufacturers (Motorola, LG, Samsung, Toshiba among others)

HP TouchPadI have already declared my hand on twitter as a steadfast admirer of WebOS – that’s the operating system on HP devices (formerly PalmTM). It’s the most elegant, user-friendly software on any mobile device – phone or tablet, and yes, it’s even better than the Apple iPad/iPhone’s iOS. Being a linux user, I also have a soft spot for Android devices, which don’t lock in users and give them some freedom in tinkering with their gadgets as well as apps that can be installed, but Android is not as easy to use as the operating systems on the iPad or TouchPad. For example, while playing with a Motorola Xoom in June (hey that rhymes!) I couldn’t decipher how to close apps permanently – me, a technophile. I can only imagine what the technologically Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-8.9challenged would go through trying to accomplish that task. I also found simple tasks such as correcting misspellings while typing an internet address (such as www.yahoo.com) to be more trouble than they should be. With that said, I believe Android is still a very good platform, and will be even greater by the next two version upgrades.

WebOS (HP) on the other hand, has a great, intuitive method to close apps (just flick them off the screen), and is amazing at handling several open applications at a time, with a visual representation of cards to show the open apps. Apple’s iOS is a closed system (what is often referred to as a walled garden – beautiful to look at, but enclosed and limited) and users can’t set up their shiny new iPhone or iPad without access to iTunes on a Mac or PC. The iOS platform now has multitasking, but it uses a clumsy method to handle several open apps at a time, and you can forget about watching flash videos or playing flash games like FarmVille on your iPad. However, as always, it’s dead-simple to use the Apple devices – navigating your way through the device, and manipulating apps are easy for any user.

apple ipad 1

Now with all the mention of apps, I MUST discuss one of the most important considerations when buying a mobile phone or tablet these days – is there an app for this or that???

Hands down, the iPad platform has the most apps of all tablets (over 100,000), but these apps don’t make it into the app store unless the overlord Steve Jobs and Co. allow them. Android and WebOS are woefully behind with less than 1,000 each. That means if you plan to use your tablet for more than just browsing and email, you’re most likely to find any application you need on the iPad, but not necessarily on the other platforms.

The Final Word: If you’re interested in downloading a bunch of apps to your device, and probably have niche interests (say for example, you’re into ornithology – and if you don’t know what that is, you’re definitely NOT into it) then the Apple iPad or iPad2 is what you need to go for. As long as you don’t mind being locked into Apple’s system, not being able to see flash content on websites, or your apps being banned at the whim of the Sith Lord, Steve Jobs, you’ll be fine. Honestly, it’s not that bad, I “pinky thwear”. For a full experience of the web, however, WebOS and Android are better choices. Additionally, they handle multiple open applications and notifications much better than the iPad. They’ve got email, can play movies and music and allow you to read and edit documents and spreadsheets (WebOS has some limitations here). BUTTTTTTT, while they each may have a few hundred apps available, that’s dismal compared to what is in Apple’s app store, and these days that’s what counts the most.





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