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Tablet wars are the hot battle of 2012

November 27, 2012 - Art Smith
Forget Tickle Me Elmo, tablets are the hot item this year.

The devices didn’t really exist until a few years ago, now we have a slew of manufactures leading the charge to have us all ditch our PCs and laptops to stare at the glowing devices.

The Apple iPad, currently in its fourth generation, is the undisputed leader in the market. Released less than three years ago, the tech giant has sold millions and made billions off the devices. The recently released iPad mini was reported yesterday to be nearly sold out.

The iPad leads the charge not because of price but because of the number of apps available for the devices. With more than a quarter of a million applications for the device, there is literally something for everyone.

Everyone, however, cannot afford the device. The cheapest iPad is $329; the most expensive one is $829. You pay for large storage and mobile connectivity; you pay a lot in fact. They all run the same apps. Take my advice buy the cheaper one.

Microsoft recently released the Surface. It seems like a nice tablet, but the cheapest one is more expensive than the cheapest iPad. Like the Zune music player that was released long after the iPod, the Surface is late to the party, three years late in fact. Sales are reported to be sluggish on the devices. I don’t think they stand a chance of making much of a dent in the tablet battle lines.

There are a slew of tablets that are priced cheaper, a lot cheaper. The cheapest Kindle Fire for instance is just $159. Amazon plans on making its money on what you will buy to put on the tablet, like books.

If you are buying a tablet to read books, the best tablet for you may not be tablet at all but an e-reader.

You can buy a basic Kindle for less than a $100. At that price for it will pay itself after you read fewer than a dozen books.

A tablet has a color screen that works like the screen on your phone or your TV. They use a lot of power and normally have to be charged after a few hours of use.

An e-reader normally uses e-paper. E-paper only uses power when you turn the page. They are also viewable in bright sun, a tablet isn’t.

Ask yourself what you plan on using the device for and then make an educated decision about what is right for you.

All tablets are best for consuming media, not creating it. If you plan on doing a lot of writing on one, a laptop may be the best choice. You can add a keyboard to a tablet, but you are really just ending up with a two-piece laptop, aren’t you?

Of course there are portable reading devices that have been around for hundreds of years. They are called books and newspapers. They don’t need charged, easily can be shared and cost a lot less than a tablet.


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