Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tablets: Flash, Storage and More

I have an iPad Classic, but I'm not an Apple purist. I am practical. If the iPad 3 doesn't deliver then I'm switching to a smarter tablet like the Android Transformer.

Why? Several reasons: flexible storage, camera quality, Apple's exorbitant charges to developers and booksellers and other Apple Big Brother rules, and Flash.

A disappointing iPad 2 once again had no capability for memory expansion. Many of the latest androids let you add external drives or other storage devices. Some have built-in card readers and USB support.

iPad 2 added cameras front and back. Yea! Both cameras have very low picture quality. Boo! While you want to keep the front camera pixels low for bandwidth, you want a higher quality rear-facing camera for better pictures. Next generation Androids typically have 5 MP or better for the rear camera.

Apple is really putting the screws to developers and ebook sellers like Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. This lunacy is passed on to the iPad owners. Often you'll see apps and ebooks cheaper on Android and higher on the IPad. One recent magazine I was looking to purchase was $3.99 on Android and $6.99 on iPad.

Don't want to surf the most popular sites and your favorite products and retailers on the web? Then iPad is probably OK for you. The problem here is the lack of Flash support on the iPad thanks to their tiff with Adobe. Yes, HTML5 offers site developers opportunities to redo everything they already did in Flash, but there still aren't that many takers. It's too expensive for them to do it. iPad users lose again.

One third-party Web browser that allows iPad users to surf Flash sites, play Flash games, enter Flash-enabled contests, and do other Flashy things is iSwifter. This is an essential app in any iPad user's kit. It works by feeding your site to their Flash cloud server to process and return to you. Sometimes their servers get overloaded or become unavailable and so does the site you are trying to access. It's still the best alternative on the iPad.

So while iPad was the first to successfully make the tablet market viable, they have a lot of catching up to do with Android. Quite frankly, they've moved so far away from their grass-roots user-centered business model and closer to the classic Microsoft-style profit above all else business model to pull it off.

If iPad 3 doesn't deliver, I'll get a superior product like the Asus Transformer, and keep the iPad classic around for the occasional app that's only available for them.

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