How to choose the right Android tablet

photo credit: ZERGE_VIOLATOR

photo credit: ZERGE_VIOLATOR

In today’s consumer electronics landscape, Android smart phones and tablets have managed to take a big chunk of the mobile market share. Comscore reports that more than half of the mobile market is running a version of the Android OS. The dominance is not without merit. Not only are vendors aggressively putting out numerous models, from low-end to high-end segments, but they are also constantly improving accessibility and ease-of-use. Developers are also coming up with more and more apps (http://daconsoftware.com/), motivated to take a piece of the enormous action that the platform provides.

Android tablets have a distinct advantage over other tablets that you can buy. First of all, the operating system is a very strong incentive to buy such a tablet. The only thing that comes close in terms of functionality would be iOS. Android tablets have a high degree of customization built-in, making them ideal for those who are tired of seeing the same bland and uninspired iPad wherever they go. These benefits have also attracted the eyes of automobile giants such as BMW and Chrysler, who are considering integrating tablets into their cars.

So you’re already convinced that you want an Android tablet. Question is, which one to choose? We look at a couple of factors that should clarify the answer to this question.

1. Usage

Different tablets are available for kids and adults alike. These can be business tablets that you use extensively at work or they can be educative tablets with a user-friendly interface tailored specifically for kids. Some educative programs in the US now make us of tablets to teach them various skills. A tablet can also be a good alternative to a computer since it can provide casual gaming and puzzle-solving. Business tablets can be used as full-fledged laptop alternatives, allowing you to do your work just as well.

You will have to decide then what you’re going to be using the tablet for. If it’s work, the big brands have plenty of offerings to choose from. If it’s for children, look at alternate brands such as the Kid’s Safe Tablet.

2. Tablet size

Tablets are great because they are compact in their design but still can offer plenty of punch when it comes to screen-size. 7-inch tablets are the starting point for Android tablets. If you’re going to use your tablet only occasionally, then this size could work. But if you’ll be using it for office tasks, games and other forms of entertainment, a 10-inch tablet is indispensable.

3. Manufacturer

There are dozens of Android manufacturers out there. Which one do you choose? If you have no brand loyalty, we recommend you go with the biggest and most popular out there. You can’t go wrong with Samsung, Google, Sony or HTC. All these players have tablets that are worth owning. Don’t go for the cheap, no-name brands (even if they do have a name). While Android as an operating system is great, it cannot save you from bad hardware. So if you’re unsure, go with one of the big brands.

4. Budget

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, comes your budget. How much are you willing to spend on a tablet? The beauty of the Android market is that you will find options for each price range, starting from $150 and up. Obviously the more expensive the tablet, the more functionality and fire-power you will get. However this doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with a tablet from a medium-price range.

IOS vs. Android

IOS vs. Android: Apples vs. Oranges?

Which tablet or smart phone operating system is better?

Which tablet or smart phone operating system is better?

A lot of people wonder if they should be a cool kid and buy an iPhone or enjoy a larger selection of manufacturers buy shopping for an Android device. The IOS operating system is only on Apple smart phones, tablets, and computers. Meanwhile, Google provides IOS as an open source operating system to a number of different manufacturers.

However, there is no way to say which phone or tablet operating system is better for all people. You just have to figure out which choice is better for you. Since a number of people make either choice, you probably already figured that out, but you may need a little help making your final decision.

 

The best choice probably depends upon a few things:

  • Do you already have other Apple computers and devices, so you would be more comfortable with IOS?
  • Is your budget or a brand name more important to you? By the way, you can also buy pretty expensive Android-powered devices, but you are likely to also find more affordable phones and tablets that are powered by Android than IOS.
  • Do you want the latest apps the minute they hit the market, or can you afford to wait a bit.

Is IOS or Android More Popular?

A few years ago, you might have been able to say that Apple was the more popular choice. However, if you add up all of the sales by manufacturers that use Android, you actually find they have taken over the market lead. It is not hard to guess why. Because Google allows a variety of manufacturers to use their operating system, lower costs may get passed on to consumers. If budget is a factor in your choice, you probably want to consider cheaper phones.

Is IOS or Android More Innovative?

It is also not fair to say that Apple did all the development and that Android is just a copy. Google, for example, did a lot to pioneer voice recognition. Speech-to-text programs like Siri get a lot of attention, but Apple did not necessarily do this better or faster than competitors.  They may have marketed better, and that is something that Apple is very good at.

Does iPhone Have More Apps?

Again, a few years ago it was probably easy to say that apps hit the iPhone market first. These days, most premium app developers develop for both platforms, and some may choose to release Android versions first. It is unlikely that popular apps aren’t released on both platforms. Or, for example, if you do find an iPhone-only app for sale on iTunes, you can probably find a similar application on the Google Play Store too.

On the other hand, if you already have a number of Apple products, you will probably find the transition to an iPhone or iPad easier. You can synch all of your devices up with a lot of the same apps too.

 

Short History of Speech Recognition

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now?

Today, we almost take voice recognition technology for granted. For example, people with an iPhone may rely on Siri to get questions answered and access a search engines. Some cars even use voice speech recognition to access some features.

Some people may have forgotten how frustrated they were by early voice recognition software used on phone answering systems.  The development of these systems took a huge investment of money, brains, and talent before they even got that far. Now, we may use voice recognition to send text messages, access Internet search engines, and more.

Voice Recognition in the 1950s and 1960s

The first developments in voice recognition actually occurred way back in the middle of the 20th century before computers were things that average people had in their homes. Because it is so difficult to account for variations in accents and speech patterns, the first systems could only recognize numbers. At the 1962 World’s Fair, IBM showcased something called a “shoebox” that could understand 16 English words. This might all sound very primitive, but remember that these engineers and scientists were also working with much more limited computer technology than almost anybody can afford to buy today.

Speech Recognition Reaches the Toddler Stage in the 1970s

The 1970’s may have been the decade when speech recognition got better than what scientists tell us is the vocabulary of a smart dog. This is mostly due to efforts of the US Department of Defense and the money they plowed into projects. The DARPA program ran from 1971 to 1976, and it was one of the largest programs in the history of this technology.The program sparked Harpy at Carnegie Mellon, and this system could understand over 1,000 words. This is supposed to be the vocabulary of an average toddler, and that is what scientists say that intelligent dogs may be able to understand.

The 1980’s Begins Predictive Text

Do you have a spouse or best friend who can finishes sentences for you? The 1980’s is the decade when predictive text came into being. That may be your friend or foe on your own phone’s text messaging system.

The vocabulary of speech recognition systems also jumped to several thousand words. Still, there were not really household applications even though there were business and technology applications. There was a Julie doll in the 1980’s that used early speech recognition though.

The 1990’s: Speech Recognition Goes Mainstream

The 19990’s might have seen the birth of those frustrating phone answering systems that never really seemed to understand anything. Dragon launched its first program, called Dragon Dictates, in 1990. This first application cost $9,000 and did not work that well. It took seven more years for a much improved version called Dragon Naturally Speaking arrived on the market, but it was still not at the level of the software by the same name you can buy today much cheaper.

The 2000’s: Google Breaks the Stalemate

During most of the first decade of the 21st century, progress actually seemed stalled. Speech recognition software seemed stuck at about 80 percent accuracy.  This is sort of ironic, but the Google Voice Search App for the iPhone actually started competition and progress again. But before you give to much credit to the IOS Siri, remember that Google checked in first.