Dave’s Tablet PC “Skepticism,Confessions, & First Nexus 7 Impressions”

Okay, I have a confession to make about tablets.  Actually, several:

First, I was originally very skeptical of the entire concept of tablet computers.  I will confess that I still remained skeptical, even after I had the good fortune of winning an older iPad about a year and a half ago.  It was right around the time that the iPad2  had just been released, and while I was still glad to have won the iPad, I was still very skeptical as to its value.  To me, why would I bother with something “less” than a full laptop computer?  I promptly gave my iPad to my wife, who immediately embraced it, and loved it – albeit, admittedly, mainly for playing games on it – but she still loved it.

Not too long after this, something else fairly improbable happened.  I won another iPad (yes, once again an original iPad).  This time, I did not give it to my wife – or to anyone else.  I briefly considered selling it, but then decided to give it a try – figuring, in the worst case, I could always sell it “used”, and still come out “ahead”.  After all, it was free, right?

Well, there were a couple of things that quickly changed my thinking about tablets in general.  The first was, around this time, we got a cellular MiFi hotspot.  This allowed the iPads (which were WiFi-only) to have portable, cellular Internet service.  The other one was remote control software (I won’t specify the exact name for security reasons).  The combination of these two items was a real game-changer.  What this now meant is that for a quick trip which normally may have involved taking a full laptop – e.g. “Just in case” some sort of IT system “blew up” that might require signing in remotely – these kinds of tasks could now be handled by the iPad.  While it’s true that the iPad, nor any other tablet device, are probably never going to fully displace a full laptop (in my opinion) for every single task – particularly for creating new content, like documents, web design, etc. – it certainly can help for tasks that are more of “consumption” of content – such as browsing web pages, reading and/or short responses to e-mails, etc..

In other words, “Boy was I wrong” about tablets.  ;-).  So, I’ll now admit that I’ve finally purchased my first tablet (as opposed to winning older iPads over a year ago), and it’s a Google Nexus 7.  Believe it or not, they have a few of them at Walmart, which, not normally being a place I go to very frequently (Target is more my style), kind of surprised me.  But, this meant that I could actually purchase one in advance, and have it waiting for me in the pick-up desk.

I like the Nexus 7 a lot more than the iPad in terms of its size and shape – smaller and lighter really work for me.  But I have to confess, I still like Apple’s iOS overall, a lot better than Android OS – in terms of its design and usability.  What I don’t like about iOS is how it’s such a “closed system”… although, I have to say, the quality of the iOS applications tends to be better (in many cases) than the Android ones.  However, there’s many more to choose from with Android.  And, with recent rumors that Apple may be releasing a “smaller iPad” soon – that could potentially  be the “ideal tablet device” (possibly) that I’ve been looking for…

The one big disappointment I’ve had about the Nexus 7, is that for some reason, Microsoft Lync IM software does not run on it.  While that’s not Google’s fault directly (it’s supposedly because of how the Lync client was written), it’s still annoying that the program doesn’t run on it, while it does run on Android phones.  A lesser disappointment is that the Home screen on the Google Nexus does not “auto-rotate” when tilting the device – although there is a third party application which allows this- but I find it odd that such an add-on is necessary.  (it’s similarly odd that the behavior has to be turned on, explicitly, in the Settings menu for other applications).  <shrug>.

Summed up – iOS definitely wins praise from me for elegance of design and just looking and working “great”.  However, its closed-off, isolationist, “walled garden” approach is a bit of a downer.  iOS versus Android very much reminds me of the VHS versus Beta wars of the 1980′s for VCR’s – actually, reminding me more so of that battle, than the more stereotypical “PC versus Mac”argument  – for many reasons, which I’ll probably write a separate article about in the future.  However, if you’ve read some of my other recent posts, you’ll note I’ve been going through a similar struggle with my whole “iPhone versus Android phone” dilemma lately.  That issue should become more clear after next Wednesday, when Apple is expected to announce information about the iPhone5.

In the meantime … happy tablet computing for all.  It’s amazing to see how far things have come with tablets and cell phones since the days of the PalmPilot PDA (my first tablet-like device) and the Apple Newton (I never had one, but knew 1-2 colleagues who did, back in the day).

– DB


Posted on September 7, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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