Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Good Reasons to Understand Your Tablet's Operating System "

My recent article, “Electronic Tablet Devices: Questions to Ponder” drew some criticisms from family members. I was advised not to write such heavy technical articles that no one can understand. I agree that eyes glaze over when you start talking about operating systems or platforms, but – there are several simple reasons why you need to know just the basics, and not ultimately regret your purchasing decision.

Carefully consider why you should chose a tablet according to its operating system (OS), and not depend on a friend’s selection or advice. Or, totally ignore the OS process.

The primary reason is that your tablet's basic functions, or “how it works”, depends upon its OS. That includes settings, features, and controls like its operational rules, and the complexity of your use of them.

First of all, new, updated OS’s are coming out all the time. That very fact makes this discussion confusing. When I wrote the article, there were primary ones (Apple iOS, Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, Hewlett Packard’s Linux, and Windows 7), and now there are multiples by many companies. Furthermore, the tablet may seem like a larger “handset device” that you already have.

To top it off, Windows 7 has morphed into its “Surface” tablet with Win 8 and its NT OS coming out later this Fall with new, updated features trying to resolve some of the iPad “non-productivity” shortcomings.

The initial tablet focus was on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Now, both companies are in subsequent gen's of rapid, sequential development; Android is in its’ 3rd version called “HoneyComb”, and Apple’s iPad sells the iPad2 and 4G light. At the end of this article, I will point you to where you can find excellent tablet comparative insight, with blogs by Dan Grabham.

Before going to these Techradar sites, review my final points:

  • My main point is: conduct online research in advance so you understand what features your device’s OS offers.
  • Understand your tablet’s productivity functions, in other words, what can you do with it?
  • Understand the maintenance requirements with possible ongoing costs.
  • Understand that tablets are not cell phones; will it interface with your cell phone device?
  • Understand that your OS decision will determine where you will find your tablet device. Who will be your carrier? The same one as your cell phone carrier? Splitting company families is unwise. Consider monthly contracts and binding costly obligations.
  • Understand the software compatibility – will selections be primarily in the clouds or various apps to purchase to make it functional like your desktop/laptop? 

Understand that application purchases (apps) vary from company to company as far as selection, price, and download ease. Which apps do you want and need; does it matter? Each carrier offers thousands of choices, all different from each other. That means you will have to sort through them and make purchasing decisions.

Finally, How much time do you have to spend on multiple devices that you may own? Consider why you want a tablet device over your basic home PC or e-Reader? Yet, tablets function as e-Readers. Are you aware that there is a Kindle app for the iPad? Or, should you invest in an e-Reader rather than the pricier tablet? It becomes a matter of personal preferences.

To help decide among the multitude of choices, compare e-Readers online: Kindle Fire Vs Nook Tablet to understand the pros and cons. There are many directions to go.

Understanding that there will be significant improvement updates every few months, you may be tied into a two-year service agreement contract. Are there significant advantages for the increased monthly cost? Or will your tablet investment become another surfing entertainment toy that you replace frequently, or will it become a helpful tool that proves to be a wise use of your time?

For this tablet comparison review, check, “Techradar blog's” by Dan Grabham: "OS Tablet Comparison Articles" and additionally, "Tablet News, Reviews, and Advice".