published Friday, March 25th, 2011

Tablet choices begin to multiply for consumers

TECH TALK


by Donnie Jenkins
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    T-Mobile just introduced the Nokia Astound that will cost $80 (after a $50 rebate) when it goes on sale April 6. The smartphone has a 3.5-inch touch-screen, free turn-by-turn navigation and an 8 megapixel camera that takes 720p video. (Nokia/MCT)

Zdnet reported this week that the long awaited Blackberry Playbook tablet will go on sale on April 19th at Best Buy and other retailers. This tablet looks very impressive, but it may suffer from the ailment common to most other tablet offerings, high price.

The device will need to perform well to compete with the recently released iPad 2. Early reports and reviews do make it look promising. Also, be aware that Samsung and Hewlett-Packard have new tablet models coming out soon. By the end of the year we should see an impressive variety and selection of tablets, hopefully at more attractive prices.

Amazon opened its application store for the Google Android mobile platform this week. Many believe this is an indicator that the company will soon release an Android-based tablet. This could be interesting if true as the device would certainly cannibalize sales of the Amazon Kindle e-book reader. There are many possible outcomes if Amazon does launch such a device, and they have many offerings that would probably benefit from offering an Android tablet.

Interestingly Apple has sued Amazon for using the term app store for their offering, claiming a trademark violation of the Apple App Store.

The new Verizon 4G or LTE HTC ThunderBolt phone is getting great reviews almost everywhere online these days. LTE or 4G is the high speed next generation network that is coming soon to Chattanooga. Early reviews of the phone emphasize its speed and performance, but do lament the heavy battery drain the high speed network apparently causes.

Opera has released its new mobile browsers, one of which is for tablets. I use Opera daily on my PC and have enjoyed using it on mobile phones from time to time. I do notice that it can be a bit troublesome in some areas, but it’s so fast that I overlook any minor issues.

John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog at daringfireball.net is often a great source for rumors and news on Apple events and upcoming offerings. Recently he wrote a piece on the need for companies to imitate Apple in its simplicity of approach to pricing products and services. I have to agree with his comments, as I’ve often counseled corporate folks to always keep any contact with customers as simple and as easy to understand as possible. The “path of least resistance” approach is always best.

YouTube is now offering a setting which offers to reduce shakiness in uploaded videos. This is excellent as so many user generated videos suffer from this problem. I see a huge reduction in motion sickness very soon now online.

I constantly get questions on what to buy and when to buy it, usually concerning computer equipment but now including mobile phones and tablets. This is becoming more difficult to answer as the mobile space is changing so quickly this year.

My best advice is always this: Wait as long as you can to buy whatever device you need because prices do come down so quickly and device quality is getting better and better. Having said that, don’t be afraid to buy when you need to. Choose a device that will suit your needs for at least a year or the length of your contract if you must sign up for one. Remember as I have said that no computer, phone or tablet is obsolete as long as it is useful.

Email Donnie Jenkins at donniejenkins@yahoo.com

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