SUBSCRIBE TO TMCnet
TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community

TMCNet:  Picking portable hardware? Here's an overview [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.]

[December 07, 2013]

Picking portable hardware? Here's an overview [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.]

(Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 07--Using lower-cost, ultra-portable computing hardware for productivity is all the rage, with many foregoing the use of traditional computers in order to lighten their loads and save them money.


Selecting the right portable device can be daunting, however.

Such hardware ranges from Apple and Android tablets to Google-based Chromebooks and a dizzying assortment of Windows devices.

All have distinct strengths and weaknesses.

APPLE IPADS The Cupertino, Calif.-based fruit Company has had a hit in its iPad for years, but the tablets can be hit-and-miss for productivity.

Advantages. More productivity apps are available for the iPad than for any other kind of mobile device, giving users a vast software selection to suit their needs and working styles.

The latest iPad models, including the iPad Air, have power comparable to that of many regular computers.

Disadvantages. Apple supplies no physical keyboard for a device meant to be touch-based. A plethora of third-party add-on keyboards are on the market, but all have a flaw: They feel more cramped than conventional keyboards since they conform to the iPad's narrower dimensions.

ANDROID TABLETS Mobile devices running the Google-spawned Android operating system are giving Apple a run for its money, but are far from perfect.

Advantages. Android tablets are far more customizable than iPads in the software sense. They are more flexible in some respects, giving users greater latitude to transfer information from app to app, and to share it with others. Android tablets also are less expensive than iPads.

Disadvantages. Fewer tablet-specific apps are available for Android than for iPad, meaning the user often has to make do with phone-native apps crudely enlarged to fill a larger tablet screen. Accessories, such as keyboards and keyboard cases, also are a bit more difficult to come by.

MICROSOFT SURFACE The Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant has offered its Surface tablets as iPad alternatives with limited success, but they're nice machines.

Advantages. Surface tablets are designed from scratch for productivity with very comfortable flip-out keyboards. In some cases, Office software is pre-installed on the machines. They are real (albeit small) Windows PCs, and a decent compromise for those who don't want two devices.

Disadvantages. One model, the Surface Pro 2 running Windows 8.1, is pricey and a bit on the heavy side. Two other models, the Surface RT and Surface 2, use a more limited "RT" flavor of Windows that can't run most traditional PC apps -- though Office is included for free on these.

OTHER WINDOWS TABLETS The dreaded "netbook" days with too-small, too-puny budget laptops are long gone, and current mobile devices are far more tempting.

Advantages. The newest Windows-based ultraportables come in a variety of hardware configurations, including tablets that slide into keyboard docks to become laptops, and compact tablets that are surprisingly capable for the price. The latest Windows OS is very touch-friendly.

Disadvantages. Microsoft has had a very tough sell with the latest versions of Windows, which sport a "Start Screen" consisting of colorful touch tiles that activate full-screen apps. This design has not resonated with consumers. Apps designed for the Start Screen are still hard to come by.

CHROMEBOOKS Many scratched their heads when Google revealed new kinds of laptops built around a browser, but lately these have done pretty well.

Advantages. With a browser-based interface and Web-based apps, users have no software to install. The Chrome OS operating system updates itself. The machines are affordable and very portable. They are good for those who already are familiar with Google's popular Web services.

Disadvantages. Chromebooks aren't as capable as traditional laptops and cannot run popular software, such as Apple's iTunes. Chromebooks tend to be underpowered, and the build quality of some models is poor. Those not familiar with Google's services have a learning curve.

___ (c)2013 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) Visit the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) at www.twincities.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]

OTHER NEWS PROVIDERS







Technology Marketing Corporation

800 Connecticut Ave, 1st Floor East, Norwalk, CT 06854 USA
Ph: 800-243-6002, 203-852-6800
Fx: 203-866-3326

General comments: tmc@tmcnet.com.
Comments about this site: webmaster@tmcnet.com.

STAY CURRENT YOUR WAY

© 2014 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved.