In the recent months, tablets have become the rage. Honestly, we didn’t see how a little 10″ slab could replace a laptop computer, much less a powerful desktop, but it seems like a forgone conclusion that it will happen. With tablets launching with more powerful processors, larger amounts of RAM and storage and more importantly – better screens, the PC market will be hurting more than it is now by this time next year.
While not serving as a notice to pitch your PC to Goodwill and get a new tablet quite yet, if you are in the market for a new machine and portability and battery life are at the top of your list, you might want to check out a few options. The Android based software has come quite a ways in even the last few weeks with Adobe releasing 6 prime time apps including Photoshop Touch, Pronto (web design), and Collage (think Pinterest – and if you don’t know, you won’t care). There are plenty of excellent choices in ‘Office Style’ editors out there now with OfficeSuite Pro and QuickOffice HD topping our recommended list. For the bloggers out there, both Blogger and WordPress have fantastic mobile options available as well.
Web browsing has come quite a ways from the stock browser as well. Opera Mobile and Dolphin HD are complete packages for Android with the latter even offering downloading through sites like Filesonic and other sharing sites that normally are blocked or result in misdownloaded files in Android. The killing of Adobe’s Flash Mobile program doesn’t really mean that the Android development will stop, it more means that Flash is dying in favor of HTML 5, a lighter and easier to code system – which is fully supported in most major browser systems.
For keeping in touch from your PC, everyone has that webcam with Skype or another chat program. Many of these are supported in tablet format and most of those will support the front facing camera on your tablet as well. The biggest hurdle that tablets are facing now is can they sell anything with people knowing what’s coming next. Amazon seemed to say yes to this with the Kindle Fire – their $199, Android powered, 7″ reader/tablet. They launched it and pre-sold millions for the Christmas season. The only question is how many will stay sold with quad-core machines on the horizon already.
What is really needed for a tablet to have a good run on the market is something to set it apart. The iPad has the experience – which believe us – makes all the difference. Apple has a product that works and does it all perfectly. The issue for many is just that though, it only does what Apple wants it to. Anything else, requires some serious hacking, playing and risk taking. The Samsung Galaxy is a great middle ground to functionality and customization. Light, sleek and fast, they allow the user to customize home screens and offer the user whatever experience they want. Then you get to the lesser knowns, the Asus Transformer: a tablet with optional dock to turn it in to a full laptop with USB ports and all, the Acer Iconia, a thin little monster that used an aggressive price point to get a good share of the market, the Motorola Xoom, the first real challenge to the iPad dominated market – which would have done much better if the SD card slot and price would have worked at launch, $599 was just too much for that device – the $399 current price makes the Xoom one of the better deals on the market today. This brings us to our choice of tablets, the Toshiba Thrive.
The Toshiba Thrive tablet makes the best use of tablet real estate of anything else currently available on the market. The Thrive is offered in an 8GB, 16GB or 32GB model and isn’t the slender ‘tablet’ that the iPad or Samsung Galaxy is, but it builds in a few features that the average computer-ite will value. The Thrive offers a rear facing camera that is decent for note shots, but not really much in the way of ‘photography’, a front facing camera that works great for video chatting and then it gets interesting. The Thrive ships with a full size USB port for external media/input/storage, a replaceable battery and full sized SD card slot. This makes the move from a PC much easier as your existing hard drives, memory sticks and camera cards will fit right in to the Thrive‘s inputs.
While we know the move isn’t for everyone, it’s getting to be a harder decision for those looking to get portable. Laptops have gotten bigger and tablets are getting more powerful. It’s a tough choice, but one that needs to be looked at hard by small business owners and those looking for other options.