The ANDROID-this operating system by Google is hugely popular, in fact in the last quarter of 2010 it was the most utilized smart phone platform in the world. Many companies are building tablets that employ it. It is open source software, meaning anyone can create applications (apps) for mobile devices using it. This leads to lots of innovation as many developers scramble to create apps that extend the function and fun of tablets or phones using Android. So that’s good news for the consumer in terms of future options. Now there are already over 200,000 apps available for Android.
A lot of the products discussed below have the same features and very close specifications. It can get a bit confusing to sort out.
In terms of appeal to individual consumers vs. large scale adoption of tablets for business like hospitals, most of the companies below are prioritizing issues such as- security, ease of use and adaptability of their product for industry.
How to choose a tablet for yourself?
Focus. What will you be using your tablet for the most, is it for work while commuting or traveling? Or is it more for personal use including use chatting with friends? Does the weight matter to you? Will you be doing a lot of gaming or mostly watching movies? Can the user change the battery, is one good question. Some brands don’t allow you to do this. Also do you like the look and feel of the tablet?
Dell’s Streak tablet comes in 5 & 7 inch screen models, the small size of both make it easy enough to tote around. The 5 inch sells for around $100. The seven inch sells for around $200. Includes access to the Kindle bookstore. And they promise easy upgrades via “over-the-air” capability for future OS releases. Like most tablets now, it has two built in cameras, perhaps compare MP if that is important to you. SMS & MMS on 3G models only. What’s available on the Dell Streak 7?
*multitouch display with full Adobe® Flash 10.1
*1.3 MP front-facing camVera, great for video chats with friends using services such as Skype™
*Also has rear camera with 5MP auto focus with flash
*16GB of internal storage,
*plus Wi-Fi™, Bluetooth
*Built in GPS with text to voice directions
*Multitasking, send a tweet while writing that report
Due out this spring 2011. This is the advance word on it. To differentiate itself from the other big-screen Android tablets Toshiba made their tablet media-centric, with a 16:10 wide screen ratio display. This tablet seems great for entertainment purposes. They promise movies and websites will not be cropped. The screen brightness adjusts automatically to your locale. They also have a grippy back that comes in different colors to dress up your tablet.
•10.1 inch screen
•2 and 5 mega-pixel camera
•Surround sound stereo speakers
In terms of business usage, Toshiba has other more expensive tablets that are aimed at the enterprise market.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1,
This tablet is lighter and thinner than Motorola’s Xoom. The Galaxy though has Wi-Fi hotspot capacity for up to 5 devices built in. This is great if you have a WiFi printer and other device that you want to use at the same time. They work over the 4G network. It’s got cool surround sound dual speakers like the Toshiba tablet. And works with all the Google mobile services like Gmail, Google chat, Google calendar. For some reason the Flash video—a large Android selling bonus—won’t work on the Xoom at launch. It will take several weeks to be appear I am told.
*battery life of up to seven hours
*Only 13.58 Ounces
*7-inch tablet that slips easily into a pocket or bag.
Galaxy Tab features Froyo, Google’s Android™ 2.2. There is already 3.0 in some tablets like the Motorola. Verizon’s version of the Tab runs around $599 with a two-year contract. You can also choose from Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T each has various pricing and plan options. The iPad by the way requires no such commitments. Galaxy Tab has just a handful of apps available–and they’re not “terribly exciting” according to a reviewer. The screen is a strikingly glossy and strong as it comes with a protective layer of Corning Gorilla glass. It got a CNet editors rating of 3.5 out of five stars.
Business: Samsung is going after the medical market with a custom Android OS that can handle medical data securely and other pluses. They are also targeting other enterprises by making it easy to develop specific apps that address industry needs.
Motorola’s Xoom is pretty similar to Samsung and is due out late Feb. 2011 just before the release of the iPad2. The XOOM will be the first tablet to ship with Google Android 3.0 though, which is said to be optimized for the tablet format so that’s a big deal. The earlier Android seemed like it was just scaled up from a smartphone. Verizon Wireless will offer a 3G version for $599 if you sign up for a multi-year contract, it’s higher if you don’t. As mentioned it is heavier than the Galaxy tab. It’s said to be bit slow changing from one application to another and the batteries are not user replaceable. Quite a few apps in the Android Market may not work with the Xoom at this point. Though some apps like the addictive game Angry Birds, for phones worked fine on the Xoom’s screen. All in all first generation using the Android 3 Honeycomb so some things still need to be worked out. But many think it’s a fine match for Apples first gen iPad. The price may become the decided factor.
• Uses Google Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
• Xoom will initially only in 3G, with a free 4G LTE upgrade later
• The Xoom has a more robust processor than the first iPad;
• front and rear cameras versus none for the iPad;
This is a fast changing area of technology-with new releases and updates happening all the time; don’t be overwhelmed by all the various features specs. Find a tablet that meets your needs and you feel comfortable about, ease of use may be your primarily determining factor, along with price and features.