The invention of Tablets was bound to happen!!! We had laptops and we had smartphones, but a tablet stands in between these two to optimize the usage and giving us a better interface, just enough to enjoy your browsing without having to squint your eyes to read nor having to carry around laptops everywhere.
But then, with the release of iPAD, there are numerous others being launched every other day and it is really difficult to keep a tab on which is better and what features are supported in which tablet. I personally own a HP TouchPad (just because it is cheap and doesnt need a data plan and most importantly, I could jailbreak and install Android!!!), but I thought it would be nice to write a review on some of the most popular ones out there and start a discussion among you geek people about it.
Instead of listing out the various brands and makes available, I think it is better to go by the features and specifications to zero down on our choices. As it goes, there are various factors that come into play when we think about a tablet, like the Operating System, Manufacturer, Screen sizes, Retina displays, Network capabilities etc. I am sure if I start writing about each of these, this post will outgrow and I would like to introduce a series of posts by breaking them down into some important feature that plays a role in your decision to buy a tablet. In this post I would like to concentrate on the Operating System differences with the pros and cons of each. So here goes…
Buying a tablet is similar to buying a PC or a laptop, you need to first study and get to understand which Operating System suits your needs and which one is better than the rest. When it comes to tablets, there are 2 main contenders to choose from – there is Apple’s iOS operating system which is a common OS for Apple’s iPAD, iPhone and iPOD touch. The second choice is Google’s Android which is a common OS for many devices from multiple manufacturers like Samsung, Amazon, HTC Asus etc.
Apple’s iOS behaves the same across all it’s devices, though you may notice little tweaks made to suit the bigger screen of the iPAD than that of the iPhone or iPod. At the WWDC held this week at San Francisco, Apple announced the release of the new iOS 6 whose key features include a Siri upgrade, system-wide Facebook integration and brand new Maps with turn-by-turn voice navigation. When we are at it, let me also list out all the new features that can be expected in iOS6 enabled Apple devices:
- Siri available on iPad 3
- Siri now speaks Canadian English, Spanish (Spain/Mexico), Italian, Italian (Switzerland), Korean, Mandarin (Chinese/Taiwan), Cantonese (Hong Kong)
- Siri can now provide sports scores, movie and restaurants reviews. It can launch apps and dostatus updates
- Apple promises Siri integration with car hands free systems
- System-wide Facebook integration: Facebook contacts and events appear in the phonebook and calendar
- Notification center gets quick Facebook/Twitter update keys
- New Maps app with TomTom data, turn-by-turn voice navigation and 3D/Flyover view mode
- Better Safari browser with iCloud tabs, full-screen mode, offline reading and faster performance
- Passbook e-ticket app handles loyalty coupons, boarding passes, tickets
- The Photo app can share photos with other iOS users. Likes and comments are supported
- Updated Mail with VIP and Flagged mailboxes
- Unified FaceTime/iMessages ID. FaceTime works over the cellular network
- New UI for the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, Music, Weather apps
- You can set songs from your music library as alarm tones
- Better privacy settings
- New accessibility options and guided access (single-app mode for kids)
- Re-organized settings, various new icons
- Improved HDR camera function
- Game Center now supports challenges (achievements)
- Reject call with SMS
- Do Not Disturb mode
- Lost mode
- Improved keyboards and auto-correction
- Three new wallpapers
- Various improvements under the hood
- Display brightness settings menu has been changed
Coming to Google’s Android operating system, the latest version released is 4.0 or aptly called the Android IceCream Sandwich. The name is derived from the fact that the OS is a perfect merge of Gingerbread (the phone OS) with Honeycomb (the tablet OS) into a single operating system for all Android devices. Tablet’s running Google’s Android operating system come in all sizes and price points, available from dozens of manufacturers. If the iPad’s size, price, or capabilities don’t quite fit your needs, Android tablets offer the widest range of alternatives.
Pros of Android:
- Great new native apps from Google
- Button-less navigation is a game changer
- Unique new design, refined & evolved User Interface.
- Re-sizable widgets.
- Quick responses to incoming calls.
- Rich and versatile camera capabilities.
- Enhanced Voice navigation with turn by turn prompts.
Cons of Android:
- App selection not as good as iOS, apps look crappier than their iOS counterparts
- Not as user friendly as iOS
- Touch gestures still sluggish
So what is all the buzz about Microsoft releasing it’s new invention it’s so called “New Family of PCs for Windows“. Yesterday (June 18th, 2012), Microsoft announced the release of MS Surface which is supposed to be the latest invention in the world of PCs and tablets.
This tablet can supposedly handle everything that a desktop can do, copying a gigabyte of pictures in 5 seconds, with USB 3.0 and USB Super Speed support.
It can plug into a big monitor with DisplayPort, supporting greater resolution than the HDMI port.
There’s also a Surface Type cover with actual keys instead of multitouch. Keys have 1.5 millimeter travel (that’s how far down the keys go).
Some of it’s major features as listed out by Microsoft are as below:
- Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
- VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
- Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
- Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.
BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0
Not to leave behind the Blackberry OS, I think it is worth a mention when we are speaking of all these various operating systems for a tablet. If you liked the WebOS, I am sure you will feel the PlayBook OS 2.0 very interesting and satisfying for your needs, most of the hitches in the initial version have been taken care of. The OS seems more stable and you dont have to hit on a key several times to make it work !!!!
- ProsSharp, beautiful screen. Top-notch browser with full Flash video support. Wirelessly transfers files to and from computers on same network.
- ConsFar fewer third-party apps than the iPad, and the ones that exist aren’t nearly as compelling. Doesn’t sync with BES or support BlackBerry Messenger.
Over To You
This was what I think the important factors to consider regarding the two versatile operating systems before buying a tablet. Next, I will look into specific features of each of these tablets and review them for you. Would you like to hear more about a particular device or make and model? Do let me know what you think of these suggestions and do feel free to add more to the list. Thanks for reading.