When is an iPad not an iPad?

sj.jpgOk, perhaps it is actually “magical and revolutionary”. Or perhaps we’re just moving toward the day that yes, there really is an app for that.

Smart phones and tablet computers are set to explode this year, but what will really move the hardware is innovative software created by developers who can see beyond the traditional fare that is currently available on the software menu. Continue reading “When is an iPad not an iPad?”

Tablets will be the story this holiday season

The iPad has been out for a bit now, and it’s the tablet that all the others will be compared against as they jockey for position going into the holiday season.

But overall, I think this is the year that tablets finally start to make some headway into the marketplace; a marketplace already crowded with Desktops, Laptops, Netbooks and Data Phones.

So, why consider a tablet? Here’s a few things to think about.

Middleground
Tablets won’t replace your main computer, nor will they replace your laptop. They’re not powerful enough to do a lot of the work those computers do. But, they will fill in the middleground between your smartphone and your computer, simply because they are smaller, yet not too small, and offer a great interactive experience.

Tablets are  great to bring to meetings, light-weight and yet functional enough that looking up calendar conflicts or taking simple notes is a very simple process — and the tablet is much less obvious than a laptop when sitting around the boardroom table.

Oh, and you smartphone jockey’s out there, yes, you can do all that stuff on your handheld Android/BlackBerry/iPhone, but the screen size is kinda limiting when you want/need to share the view.

Cloudbusting
Using some cloud computing applications such as DropBox, any notes you create on your tablet are instantly stored in the cloud account and accessible to your other computers.

And, if you’re in that meeting and need to reference something stored on your desktop, you can use desktop control software such as LogMeIn Ignition (on the iPad / iPhone / Touch) or a VNC client written for your tablet. A couple of quick touchpad strokes and you’re working on your desktop computer as if you were sitting in front of it.

Ok, those are the big reasons that a tablet wins for me. And here’s a few more that are really just icing on the cake:

  • Inherently portable – smaller form factor makes it easier to take everywhere. My iPad is with me daily, whereas my laptop or netbook only came out when I thought I might need it
  • Casual usage – since it’s with me I use it more to jot down notes, surf, etc during otherwise dead time
  • Tactile, friendly, engaging – a tablet seems less imposing than a full-up laptop. People like to share work on a tablet, it’s easy to hand around a meeting and solicit feedback.
  • Portable media – tablets are great for watching movies or videos on the bus or wherever because they’re smaller and sleeker — no huge keyboard to haul around in addition to the screen.

So, in my humble opinion, yes, the tablet will make some serious inroads this holiday season, especially if the price can stay low, the hardware delivers, and the software is developed to live in this new middleground.

So that’s why a tablet appeals to me, how ‘bout you? Are you in or out when it comes to considering a tablet in the near future?



This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.


Android, Blackberry or iPhone? Which is right for you.

Earlier today I dropped in to the CityTV’s Breakfast Television set to chat about the three main types of data phones.

Basically we were looking at the data phones, and the types of people who each type of phone is best suited for — or not suited for 🙂




Here’s my notes from the early morning chat:

Blackberry – Research In Motion – RIM
This is the ‘Go To’ business device. It’s the Star Trek communicator for the C suite set. You know you’re a blackberry type if you covet the device for the following reasons:

1) Huge business and government penetration – the key here is that most government departments and divisions, and the organizations that do business with them have similar technology. They speak the same language, look at the same screens and share the same experiences.

2) Security – The Blackberry system is based on a proprietary server technology that routes all communication through a central server system, managed by RIM. BlackBerry is basically a totally integrated package that includes phone, hardware, device software and hosted service, providing you with a complete end-to-end email solution.

3) Keypad – Though more recent models use the touch screen interface similar to the iPhone, the hallmark feature of the Blackberry over the years has been miniature chicklet-style keyboard. This has caused numerous thumb-cramps over the years, yet somehow, the work of government has been done. Go figure.

Google’s Android
This is Google’s contribution to mobile communications. If you remember the old BASF commercial, Google doesn’t make the phone, Google makes the phone better. Google provides the operating system, hardware manufacturers provide the phone tech.

1)  You love the concept of an open and somewhat hackable phone operating system. This lets you configure the device to do exactly what you want, how you want.

2) You accept the risk of an open and somewhat hackable phone operating system. This means that an application you add to your Android based phone could potentially cause you unforseen grief in the future. The Android store is open to anyone with minimal regulation and oversite. This is a good thing, and a bad thing.

3) You enjoy being at the bleeding edge of technology. There is no finer place to be, as long as you really, REALLY, know what you’re doing with this technology. There are different Android devices running slightly different flavours of the operating system. Yet, you know which apps will and won’t work on your phone. Yes, you are an Early Adopter..

Apple’s iPhone
This is the gold standard by which all other data phones are being measured. Apple has basically taken control of this market, and for very many good reasons. Apple has created the telephone appliance.

1) an outgrowth of the iPod — the iPhone is much more than a music player with a phone glued to it. It’s really a full-blown data appliance that you’d expect to see on Star Trek, but not only in the executive suite of corporations — the iPhone is the device for the rest of us.

2) The Apple store enabled a safe environment for developers and consumers to explore the digital application market place for mobile digital devices. Apple ran the store, and had the right to approve applications available in the store. Putting the Apple reputation on the line, applications had to be safe, mainstream-acceptable, and technologically sound. You’d not get porn, viruses, or faulty programs from the store on Apple’s watch.

3) It’s a data appliance. It must work. Every time. All the time. Apple guarantees it. Your mom and dad could use it, and that’s what Apple’s banking on. You don’t need an IT department to support it (like the Blackberry) nor have to deal with esoteric interfaces and commands (ala the Android). It just works.