Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Tablet PC Choices

The move to tablet computing and e-readers is coming quickly. The extreme popularity of the Apple iPad, which is both a tablet and an e-reader, has assured that this trend will continue. At CES 2011 there were no less than 80 tablets on display. Everyone is trying to best the iPad and to find the right price point. Many major manufacturers like Dell, HP, Samsung, Blackberry, Motorola, and Lenovo have jumped on the tablet bandwagon as have many small manufacturers who are looking to make a big splash. There are a variety of operating systems powering these devices, and they come in many different sizes and with many different features.

The Apple iPad, of course, works with the Apple operating system, iOS, which is made for mobile devices. Blackberry has a tablet called the PlayBook which uses their own new tablet OS. The Samsung Galaxy Tab runs on Android 2.2 and the new Motorola Zoom will run on Android 3.0, the new Android tablet operating system. Most of these tablets rely on small Apps rather than the full blown programs like those that run on a computer. Each of these operating systems has its own proprietary App store associated with it.

Most of these tablets will allow you to do email, browse the Web, read books, watch videos and TV shows, and display pictures. Some will also let you do GPS navigation and video conferencing.  So the hardware and basic software in a tablet will certainly be important, but the variety and quality of Apps in the OS’s App store may be even more important.  It is the Apps that will let you play games and perform all sorts of important functions. Right now, Apple has the most Apps, but Android is quickly catching up.

If you are interested in purchasing a tablet PC, 2011 is sure to bring a lot of choices. However, the decision of which to buy will remain difficult for at least the next two years. It is estimated that of the 80 or so new tablets that were shown at CES 2011, only 30% of them will be left after two years.

iPad Stand

The iPad is a wonderful product, but when you use it to read books or magazines or to watch videos, you can easily get tired of holding it. that’s when it is time to purchase a stand to hold it for you. Apple sells a stand, but I was pretty unimpressed with it. I like the Griffin stand. As shown below, it is an A-frame type made of heavy aluminum. It holds the iPad in either portrait or landscape position. You can close the legs and have it in a good typing position. The soft silicone keeps the A-frame and the iPad in place. At $49.99 it is not cheap, but it will last as long as your iPad — perhaps even longer.

Griffin iPad Stand Griffin iPad Stand

Tabletop Stand for iPad


The Droid X and iPhone 4

Tomorrow the Doid X will be on sale at Verizon stores. Verizon couldn’t have chosen a better time to introduce their new Android phone, the Droid X. Consumer Reports, newspapers, and blogs have all been slamming Apple and the iPhone 4 for it’s antenna-reception problems. It seems that if you hold the iPhone 4 in a normal way in your left hand, reception is cut off. Steve Jobs has added to the upset with Apple by indicating that there is nothing wrong with the phone and people just shouldn’t hold it that way. Add that to the fact that everyone seems to be unhappy that the iPhone is only available on AT&T, and  you have a perfect storm. If the Droid X makes a splash it will be a great chance for Verizon to grab many of AT&T’s potential iPhone customers.

I am excited to say that my Droid X just arrived. I have been using an iPhone for two years. But now that my AT&T contract is over, I may actually be one of those who will switch to Verizon. I’ll let you know after I take a good look at the Droid X. My first impression — it looks great. Come back to read my full review.

Droid Incredible Review

Verizon's Droid Incredible
Verizon's Droid Incredible

Verizon's Droid Incredible

When three companies like Google, Verizon, and HTC (an impressive hardware company) get together, the results have got to be good. At first I thought that they were being a little arrogant when they named this phone “Incredible.” After  testing, however, I’ve decided that the name is justly given. This phone really is pretty incredible!

I spent the first few days of testing trying to pry the Incredible out of my husband’s hands. Now you have to understand that he is not at all a geek. In fact, he usually looks at the phones I review, presses a few buttons and hand them over to me. However, the Incredible really got his attention. He thought it was remarkably easy to use. Before I knew it he was checking his email and making phone calls on the Incredible. In fact, he liked it so much that he wants me to look into changing to Verizon so he can get an Incredible.

That said, I also liked the Incredible. The hardware is very good. It is probably not as spectacular as I expect the upcoming iPhone 4 to be, but it was the Incredible’s operating system and interface that impressed me. The Google Android 2.1 operating system is much better than previous versions and Verizon has already announced that the Incredible will get Android 2.2 soon. Add to that the fact that Android is supplemented with the HTC Sense interface and you have a real winner.

Not only can you do voice search on this phone, but it’s voice recognition is good enough to be able to speak your email message and have the phone type it for you. The Sense interface allows you to have 7 home pages and to access each by clicking on a thumbnail rather than scrolling through each one. On top of that, I found the HTC on-screen touch keypad easier to use than the touch keypads on either the iPhone or the regular Droid.

Browsing on this phone is quite pleasurable as screens appear quickly. Also, when you pinch-to-zoom, the text redraws itself automatically so there is a lot less scrolling. The speed of the processor shows up in other tasks as well. I never had to wait for the Incredible to perform a task. This phone also has a good camera with an excellent interface. I could only find one major flaw in the phone. It is difficult to see in bright sunlight. All-in-all though, this is a phone that will appeal to all levels of users.

The Good

  • Responsive touch screen
  • Speedy processor
  • Excellent on-screen keypad
  • Haptic feedback
  • Excellent browsing experience
  • Good email & messaging support
  • Great camera controls and interface
  • Good design
  • Sense overlay makes it easier to use
  • Useful speech-to-text
  • Tethering allowed
  • Pinch-to-zoom auto formats text
  • FM radio

The bad

  • Poor visibility in bright sunlight
  • Battery life could be better
  • No dedicated mute or camera button
  • Plastic parts seem a bit flimsy

Check out my detailed review with pictures at HardwareSecrets.com.

iPhone 4 Announced Today

Apple’s new product announcements are always interesting, but today’s arrival of the iPhone 4 was quite dramatic. Steve Jobs announced over 100 new features. This is one time when watching the latest technology news is more than worthwhile. Not only are the new iPhone features groundbreaking, but others are sure to try to follow Apple’s lead. This means that we will all have better portable devices in the near future.

Here are a few of the iPhone 4’s new features:

  • All new design — thin, thin, thin!
  • Front-facing camera
  • Retina display — an awesome new technology making the screen 4 times clearer
  • A gyroscope in addition to the accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor
  • New camera system with illuminated sensor and LED flash
  • 720p videos
  • iMovie for the iPhone
  • iBooks for the iPhone
  • A bigger battery for longer battery life
  • Farmville, Guitar Hero, and Netflix on the iPhone
  • FaceTime WiFi Video Calling
  • Multitasking
  • Folders to store apps

Some of these, especially the Retina display are ground-breaking. You can bet on Apple to come up with the latest technology. Now it’s time to sit back and see what the competition does.


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