Ubuntu Archives

The Best Tablet is…?

The Best Tablet is… the iPad Pro!

We’ve looked at all the major tablet Platforms; once again, the iPad stands out!

This is the best tablet on the market, for a number of reasons.  You can find great deals on them too, at  Amazon.

 

What we like about the iPad Pro 9.7 includes:

  • The size is just right.   7″ tablets seems a bit too small, and too similar to the largest phones.
  • The display is very clear – the best looking display of any tablet we have seen, with high color accuracy.
  • Display brightness is high, and it supports the P3 color standard.
  • If you need the larger 12″ iPad, that is an option – but the 9.7 feels just right.
  • It is very thin, with high-quality manufacturing.
  • Optional keyboard.
  • Best cameras of any iPad, both front and back.
  • Touch ID sensor
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Very responsive for gaming
  • Consistent, strong User Interface – more so than any other platform.

There are a lot of competitors: Android tablets, Windows, and Ubuntu.  Each have their own unique features, and most are less expensive an than iPad.  But overall, the iPad Pro is the best value there is in the tablet market.

You can find great prices, and the best buying experience, at Amazon, for both tablets/iPad, and accessories.

Tablet Platforms

There are many kinds of tablets, including the Apple iPad, Android Tablets, Ubuntu tablets, and Windows Tablets. In fact, there are over 100 manufacturers of Android tablets alone. While the number of models is huge, the variety is not as much as you might think. Read a number of reviews before you make your buying decision. We are recommending that people stick with brands that have the a complete platform (phone, tablet, and computers); the lesser brands that are not able to offer a complete platform may have other limitations as well.

What are the different tablet platforms?

Apple iPad – This is consistently the highest quality tablet. Apple seems to keep raising bar, year in and year out. You cannot go wrong with an iPad. The iPad provides a higher-quality experience than any other platform. And, in terms of platform, Apple provides the most cohesive & consistent interface.

Android – Android has the highest unit sales, and has some of the least expensive devices. However, many of the android tablets have mixed quality and should be avoided. Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Sony, and Toshiba all make very good android tablets. You want to buy a tablet that you will really use and enjoy, with a high quality, responsive touchscreen.

Ubuntu – Ubuntu does not yet have as many models as the other platforms but Ubuntu is the only platform that is close to Apple in terms of overall consistency and ease of use. Ubuntu is based on Linux. Ubuntu devices in general are faster than other platforms because the operating system is more efficient. If you are not familiar with Ubuntu devices, check them out, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Windows Surface – Windows was late to the game with Surface, but it is a nice tablet. The newer models are getting better, with longer battery life. Windows 8 has a “learning curve”, which is rather strange given that tablets are supposed to be eaiser, not harder. For a Windows/Work experience, Surface is worth considering. Otherwise, you are better off with an iPad or a nice Android tablet.

Other Tablets – There are a number of other tablets on the market. Amazon makes the Kindle, a closed system that is possibly good if you are a very frequent Amazon user; otherwise we do not see the point of buying a Kindle. Barnes & Noble makes the Nook, which did not run native Android apps when it first came out and is not really relevant in the market. Samsung is toying with the idea of its own OS, a successor to Android called Tizen, and we don’t see the point of that either. Blackberry had a tablet but there is not reason to buy this device; Blackberry is not bringing out successors to it, and in general (based on their former CEO’s statements about tablets) does not understand the use of tablets in the marketplace.

The Windows Platform is Now Stronger: Microsoft Buys Nokia

We have mentioned in other posts, that we are fans of Microsoft products. The Nokia acquisition looks like a win for Microsoft; they are adding to the momentum of Windows phone. Anything that they can do to increase that momentum, they should do – and do with vigor. This purchase makes the base stronger for Windows phone and is another step in the right direction for the Windows Platform.

However, the Nokia purchase does not solve certain app issues that Microsoft still needs to deal with. The Nokia deal does not threaten Samsung in any way. The only way for Microsoft to truly make headway against Samsung, is to solve the app issues. These issues go beyond just the number of apps; no one has truly solved the problem of helping users optimize their devices. App discovery is just too hard; and tablets, in particular, are not optimized.

Nokia is the number one seller of Windows phones, so this ensures that will Nokia’s success will continue and hopefully grow. Other device makers can continue to make Windows phones – just like in the old days when IBM made a desktop computers, but other companies did also.

If you are interested in a Windows phone, click here.

Microsoft needs to have one brand and a consistent user interface experience, across all devices. That is what it means to be a platform. By controlling the phone’s UI, Microsoft moves closer to that goal. The ultimate realization of this are about apps – having apps that a user can run across all his devices is so important. Ubuntu might be the most polished so far in this regard. Microsoft needs to do more in terms of the app discovery process for users, and for a consistent UI.

Nokia still sells more feature phones than Windows smartphones, so it would behoove microsoft to bring out better software and apps for feature phones. There are browsers now that allow a feature phone to do facebook and other web functions, by making extensive use of texting as a background process. If Microsoft got behind that kind of software, it would be huge for them; so once again, its about apps.

The deal still has to be approved by Nokia shareholders.

It is estimated that before the deal, Microsoft earned $10 per Windows phone sold; but with Nokia in the fold, Microsoft will earn an estimated $40 per phone. That is a huge increase. Remember, reliable profit is all about margins; Apple has the highest margins in the industry. It is a much more precarious position to have small margins (like the 5% or so average margin on desktop pc’s); any downturn in a market hurts the small-margin companies much more.

The Nokia purchase is a form of insurance. It ensures the Windows phone brand will continue, even if all other manufacturers drop out. So its a smart move on Microsoft’s part.

What Microsoft has not yet fully solved is what I call the app discovery problem; people want and need to optimize their devices. We need better app discovery tools, especially on tablets. This is an opportunity of enormous size – and if Microsoft solved it, then it would fuel sales of their mobile devices (both phones, and tablets).

Is There a Need Anymore for Independent Device Makers?

With “Platform” hardware so good now, do we need HTC, Blackberry, and other small company devices anymore?

Before platforms became so important, any company could make a laptop or even a phone, and they might attract users. All they needed was one interesting hardware feature, or some slick marketing.

But the rise of apps and the related importance of “platfrom”, has changed all that. Hardware is so good now, users do not need to be as concerned about spec’s; what matters now are apps. Ideally you want all your devices to not only work well, but to work together seamlessly. And that is largely based no apps and how apps interact.

Everyone wants apps!

We are recommending that owners of Blackberry, HTC, and other smaller device makers sell their phones now, while they still have some value.

Get your cash out and do the phone upgrade to get a late model phone from one of the full-platform companies; and so on. When you commit to a platform you can have confidence that your favorite apps should run on all your devices: phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. But if you buy a device from one of the smaller manufacturers, they don’t offer all the elements of a platform. HTC for example does not have a full selection of laptops and tablets.

Imagine you run a sales team, and are in a meeting trying to land a big contract. You are going up against one other sales team. The people on your team have various phones and tablets, with no platform focus (and some of the devices not even running the latest OS). The other sales team are running all devices from one manufacturer, working together seamlessly, and some of their apps are more recent than yours. They have a competitive advantage in the meeting… and they win the contract. Not good.

Obviously, Apple and Android are the two best platforms. They are best both in terms of the number of apps; in terms of sales; and in terms of the extensive platform of devices and services. Samsung is starting to ‘represent’ Android, in effect; and Samsung has phones, laptops, and tablets. If Samsung could improve the process of ‘app discovery’, then Samsung could become an actual platform.

The question thus needs to be asked: do we even need independent device makers anymore? Why do we need an HTC, or a Blackberry? The market is basically answering that question for us, as these companies falter and their sales/profit declines. You have to wonder what is going on in their decision process when no true platform is emerging. My current phone is an HTC, and it is not a good phone at all. I have been very disappointed in it. My previous phone was a Blackberry, which I liked a lot. I remember thinking, when I first got it, how cool Blackberry would be as it evolved – but Blackberry has made mistake after mistake, and has no platform. Blackberry gave up on tablets, which makes no sense at all. Blackberry apps are good, their app ecosystem is well managed – but the apps just do not have enough choice in hardware, like a variety of tablets.

Our advice: if you own a Blackberry phone, the best thing you can do is sell it right now, or trade it in – while it still has some value.

Even the very large players, like HP, are in effect an ‘independent device maker’, if they do not have a true, full-range platform. HP has no phones and almost no tablets. This fact strongly suggests that HP is out of touch with what users want, and the dynamics in the mobile industry. Its very disappointing for me personally, as I have bought tons of HP products in the past. But I no longer buy HP products. Companies need ‘agile thinking’, and need to be open to new ideas.

Non-platform companies like HP can exist by selling at the low end, but this puts them at great risk; the margins are so small that any downturn in the market will affect them the most. In our new world, a company that is very adept at hardware engineering can still be relegated to the low end price tiers, if their overall strategy is flawed – or not agile.

Therefore, my next phone will be a Samsung, because I feel their strong and broad platform means I will have better options, a better device, and a more consistent app experience across all devices.

My laptop runs Windows 8, and I like Microsoft a lot. But right now its very frustrating. Many of the tasks I need to do take more time under Windows 8, than they did under Windows 7. I don’t understand that. The whole point of a new OS is that it should be better than the old one. You have to wonder, how can Microsoft say they did user testing when there are so many issues and problems with Windows 8? There are articles online, over and over and over about issues with Windows 8. Either Microsoft is not listening to testing feedback, and not listening to users in general – or Microsoft has lost touch with what people really want.

Nevertheless, I am still a Microsoft fan. I think Microsoft has the potential to get back in the game. They need to listen to users before their own ‘corporate ego’, and they need to focus on APPS. If they were to tweak Windows 8 the right way, end Windows RT, bring out cheaper tablets, and become the premier platform for apps, then Microsoft can be in the top three and possibly even get back to number one. But Microsoft has to be realistic, they cannot rely on past accomlishements; they have to do everything possible in apps, to get back in the game.

So in summary, I think people cannot go wrong with Apple or Samsung; the independents like HTC and Blackberry do not seem needed anymore; and Microsoft still has huge potential. If Microsoft can start actually listening to users, and if they focus on apps, they will be very effective.