I have in my possession a Surface, an iPad, and an ASUS T300 Android Tablet. After having spent time with all three, I look at the pluses and minuses of them, from my perspective, which means that there are opinions in here that are just that, opinions.
Tablets are the new big thing. Everyone wants one, and plenty of companies are making them. Some tend to be designed for specific things (Nook, Kindle) while others make what seem like empty promises to me. I started out with a Nook Color e-reader not long after it came out. I had figured that it would be the tablet of choice for me. Problem was, the 7″ screen and lack of apps, especially free (Ad Supported) apps made me think of getting something else.
That something else came from my work. As we were getting iPads and starting to support them at client sites, they gave me one. this was for me to play with, learn about and use so I could support them. I enjoy the iPad experience. It is quick, and solid. I don’t like Apple, their holier than god and we know what is right for you attitude, and the lack of decent tech apps. Video playback on it has been nice on trips, but I am limited to the Apple formats, as usual.
The Surface is the newest of the Tablets I have. I really had high hopes for this machine, and maybe in the future it will reach those aspirations, but not at the moment. Right now, I deal with the frustration of not finding either the apps I use or an equivalent. Flip Toast is ok, but has bugs (They have told me they are working on fixing them). I can’t find decent Network tools, most apps that I can get free with Ads on other platforms, cost money, or are more expensive than they are on other platforms. Then there is also my Nook issue. I have the Nook app, or my Nook Color on everything else. My Library is there on all my other devices. Microsoft, which bought an 18% stake (IIRC) in Nook has no Nook App for Windows 8. In Fact if you search for Nook in the App Store, you get 2 choices as of writing this article, Kobo or Kindle. So much for partnerships. Don’t get me wrong, there is good about the Surface. Office works nicely, the hardware is responsive and the tile system looks nice. Plus there is the keyboard cover, which is pretty sweet.
Both the Surface and the iPad I got through my office for testing and learning purposes. We want to make decisions on what our sales and service techs are going to use going forward. Honestly, I would lean to the Surface, because of Office, and because of the ease at which it integrates into a Microsoft environment. I can access network shares easily (even though I cannot join an RT device to the domain), and it will do everything that our sales and service teams need. The iPad integration we were trying with a Mac server and we just could not get it to do what we wanted.
The ASUS Transformer T300 is a personal item. It was a birthday gift back in Sept. To tell the truth, I love it. Outside of Flipboard not being available for it, I have everything I want or need on it right now. Yes, I am using Pulse on it, but the lack of new sources I like, and the lack of aggregation from the social media world, makes Pulse a bit annoying, especially in regards to World/U.S. news. Still, I have everything else, including a free Office Suite (which is amazingly useful in its own right). The only drawback to the T300 as compared to the Prime, is the plastic back. I also got a 3rd party case/bluetooth keyboard for it which works as nicely as the Surface’s keyboard cover.
My recommendation right now to people would be the Android Tablet. The T300 does it all, and while a bit sluggish at times, is still is plenty responsive. There are more free apps available for it, and you are not tied into iTunes or Apple’s network. The Surface might be the thing in the future, bight right now, it doesn’t have enough to make it worthwhile, especially on price point. The T300 costs under $400 for a 32GB model. The iPad and Surface (with Type touch cover) are both at $600 for 32GB (Without the Cover the Surface is $499 for 32GB).
A couple of weeks ago, Verizon pushed ICS down to my Razr. I had been look forward to the upgrade for a while, but was it everything one wants?
The biggest problem with the Android OS is Google puts out a new version right about the time the Upgrades to the prior version come out. That being said, I finally got the ICS upgrade on my Droid Razr. With all the talk and positive things I had heard about ICS, I was excited.
The upgrade process was mostly painless, except for the notification coming at 4am on a work day. Once completed, I started looking for changes. First thing though was letting a number of my applications update. One of the biggest changes there was the Google+ app. The widget for it now showed actual posts, which makes my life easier, especially since I tend to forget about Google+ for days at a time (a post for another day).
The first bad thing about ICS I ran into was with my home button right after seeing the Google+ change. On Gingerbread, if you hit the home button once, it brought you to your home screen, and this hasn’t changed. Hitting the home button from your home screen on ICS does nothing, compared to Gingerbread which zoomed out and shows you all 5 screens so you could jump to a specific screen and not have to scroll to the far ones. This feature removal is a definite down side, although understandable since ICS is designed for devices without the 4 buttons below the actual screen.
The new set of customizable on screen quick start buttons is decent. the have put a nice App button there to bring you to the full application listing also. To add items to a home screen was completely different. You actually have to go into your main app list and hold touch on the itme. Apps that have widgets should show a widget app in the App screens also.
There are 2 big annoyances with ICS though. First is battery life, which already was limited on the Razr, has dropped even more. The second was after the upgrade, all the personalization I had done for ringtones, notifications etc, were gone. I wondered for a couple days why I was not vibrating when I got a new text message, until I figure this out.
Overall ICS has some good and bad. At this point in time, Android really reminds me of Microsoft and Windows. So many different configurations and hardware, the main company can’t keep up with it all, and the OEMs don’t care about keeping things current for their users. Instead they want you to buy new all the time.
The world of Technology is a fickle one. You can be a darling one minute and a hated evil empire the next.
There is a lot of talk going around on the technology websites. With all the announcements made recently there has to be. You have Microsoft’s Surface, Google’s Nexus 7, Apple’s new MacBook, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. As always there is much debate about what these things mean, not only to the world at large, but in terms of what a company is or is not. These opinions help shape the future of tech, and what company’s bottom lines will be. The problem is that those writing opinions are just that, opinions, but people take them as facts.
For instance, lets look at Microsoft and its reputation as an “Evil” empire. This thought, which started back in the 90′s, when Apple was on life support and when Microsoft was trying to outflank any competitor, mostly by using integration with less superior products. There was an Anti-Trust suit, Microsoft had to capitulate to oversight and allowing use of its APIs fairly. The tech world wanted Microsoft broken into multiple companies, like AT&T had been many years ago(and that turned out so well). Here we are now in an age where the world of technology is well more than just PCs. A world where overall, Microsoft is not that big of a player. Yes it still is the dominant PC operating system. The world of mobility though belongs to Apple and Google. The world of the internet belongs to Google and Facebook. Microsoft’s name and slips seem to measure bigger, get sounded louder, and last longer than any slip from any of these other companies.
Take a look at security and privacy. Microsoft has been working for years, and getting much better, at security. Third party applications, such as Flash and Java, have been the big holes into Microsoft systems recently. Yes there are still vulnerabilities found in Microsoft’s software, but the have gotten pretty responsive about patching those holes. Apple recently had the Flashback malware, which came through a Java exploit. A Java exploit which had a patch out from Oracle for 60 days before Apple decided to push it to the OSX machines out there. Apple has control over the updates that get pushed down to its devices. It doesn’t like playing with others. As a result, it has now changed its marketing about Macs and Malware, removing the idea that Mac’s do not get viruses from its marketing. There was a lot of talk about Apple’s problems with security, but overall it did not hurt Apple as a company. The average person didn’t even know about the whole deal. If it was Microsoft the whole world would have been down their throats and never forgotten.
For a second example of the hypocrisy in the world of technology, we can look at Tablets. Microsoft has announced it is making its own tablet called Surface. Most tech writers are pleased with this idea, but the OEMs are pissed. How dare Microsoft produce a tablet of its own. Yet when Google announced its own Tablet, the Nexus 7, these same OEMs had no issue with it. Apple produces the iPad, with utter control over it, and OEMs don’t complain. So why be up in arms over Microsoft? The issue at hand is that Microsoft has been burned by its partners on non-PC’s as of late (I won’t get into the whole HP PC stupidity). Think about it, Microsoft created a tablet type computer almost 10 years ago, besed on specific types of hardware, and the OEMs screwed it up, and overpriced it. Apple comes along with the iPad and its a revolution. Microsoft had the Windows CE phones (I had one and loved it back in the early 2000′s). The OS eventually got a bad rep as it became bloated, but when Microsoft fixed things with Windows 7 Phone were the OEMs ready to get back to producing items with it? No. For that matter, OEMs which have done the same thing with their support of Linux, claim to be supportive, and claim to be coming out with new products based on Microsoft technology, yet either come out with one item that is not pushed in the marketplace, or don’t ever come to market with the item. Now add on that Microsoft has its own store (like Apple), and you can understand why Microsoft would get into making a Tablet of its own.
The reality of it all is that people are letting certain things from the past cloud their judgement. They are not basing everything on the current facts only. Truth be told, Apple is a more controlling and “evil” empire because of its control than Microsoft is. Google has been shown to have a ton of privacy issues, as much if not more than Microsoft. Microsoft gets held to a higher standard because of their past and the Anti-Trust suit more than they should at this point. For technology to really grow right, we need to hold everyone to the same standards.