Technology-Headlines

by George Heymann

Shopping choices get easier

by George Heymann

Technology-Headlines

Expect to see big crowds out shopping for e-readers or tablet computers this holiday season.

The flurry of product announcements from Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble is revving customer interest in devices that already are hot sellers.

I get asked all of the time for recommendations for both e-readers and tablets.

My answer usually begins with at least two additional questions:

What do you want to do with it?

How much money do you want to spend?

The answers to these two questions can help get your search pointed in the right direction.

If you want to just read books . . .

A low-cost monochrome E-ink reader is a good choice.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble both offer budget priced (under $100) devices that are excellent choices for e-book reading.

The readers are thin, lightweight devices that offer high contrast paper-like displays that are readable in direct sunlight.

The devices are very easy to use even for someone who never has used one. Once you set up an account, you simply tap and follow the on-screen prompts to navigate, shop and read.

These devices can store thousands of books.

Downloading books usually takes only a minute or two.

The budget e-readers come with excellent battery life — lasting up to a month on a single charge depending on usage.

They rely on WiFi for wireless connectivity, so you must have a WiFi link to your home Internet or you will be limited to downloading new content at public WiFi hot spots.

If you prefer a color reader . . .

Or you want a more computer like experience, there is a host of good options to consider.

If money is not your primary consideration, the iPad is currently considered the gold standard for Internet-connected tablets.

The color tablet, which starts at $499, makes an excellent e-reader as well as offering media capabilities not available on budget priced e-readers.

It uses a mobile version of Safari to browse the web as well as offering a very capable email client, that handles multiple email accounts with aplomb.

Mail can be handled through separate inboxes, or can be combined in a unified inbox that shows your emails for all of your accounts.

The iPad also has the benefit of the excellent Apple ecosystem, including full access to iTunes music, podcasts, TV shows and movies as well as the Apple App Store, which still enjoys the largest selection of apps in the industry.

Among the iPad competitors, there are several Android tablets in this price range but none that I can recommend over the iPad at this time.

That may change with the introduction of the new wave of Android tablets sporting the latest Android OS (Ice Cream Sandwich). For now, my iPad recommendation stands for high-end tablets.

If you require a color tablet or e-reader and don’t have $500 to spend . . .

There are a couple of budget-friendly choices that address your needs.

Both Amazon (Kindle Fire) and Barnes & Noble (Nook Tablet) have announced color tablets for less than $250.

The color tablets offer Android-based devices that provide many of the features of the more expensive iPad for about half price.

The Kindle Fire is the first Android tablet that can approximate the Apple end-to-end experience on a consumer friendly tablet.

Offering an app store, and complete media services including books, music, podcasts, as well as streaming Movies and TV shows. Amazon understands that it is not all about hardware and software specifications, but about providing service and value for its customers.

“We are offering premium products at non-premium prices. We don’t think of the Kindle as a tablet. We think of it as a service,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, adding that other tablet contenders are simply selling a piece of hardware.

Don’t be surprised if one or more of these devices show up on the holiday gift lists of family and friends. Hopefully, the information here will prove to be a good starting point in your product search.

This story was previously featured in the business section of the Chieftain.

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Filed under: Android, Apple, General technology, Google, Hardware, iOS, Ipad, Services, Software, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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