Wednesday, 24 June 2015

TABLET AFTERLIFE SYNAPSE CIRCUIT

Above: The Tesco Hudl 2. Who would have thought that a supermarket giant would put out a pretty decent tablet, huh? I think it puts a lot of manufacturers to shame! You can pick one up for £99 these days! Here's the Synapse Circuit Hudl 2 review: Hudl 2 OK, it's got an Intel chip inside but it seems to do the business (for a change)...

SYNAPSE CIRCUIT
IS THE TABLET DREAM OVER?
DOES THE PC STILL RULE?

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s awesome to see you as always! I thank you so much for reading my articles! And I hope that I have inspired you to take on some tech projects! The world of creativity is at your fingertips! Get stuck in! You will figure it out as you go along; you’ll be glad that you took the first step!

Did you abandon your PC for a tablet and didn’t go back? Do you think that the advent of the “phablet” has killed the tablet? What’s on your mind regarding the tablet? Are you planning on getting one? Read on!

#Tablet #AndroidTablet #iPad #Surface

FRUSTRATED
A couple of weeks ago I threw my ASUS Fonepad 7 LTE tablet across the room out of sheer frustration! I was using Facebook and the experience was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo freakin’ slow that I gave into multiple angerisms and through the air the tablet went! When it landed I was surprised that it was reasonably intact save for minor crack in the screen...

Look, I never expected for the ASUS Fonepad 7 LTE phone / tablet hybrid to replace my PC but to augment it but I never expected that running a rudimentary app that is Facebook would be so freakin’ frustrating. That right there is the problem for the Android tablet. I think so many companies are cutting vital corners in a bid to keep the costs reasonable. As I have said so many times: cutting corners on any device gives an overall negative impression and in the case of Android it has so many manufacturers representing it that I am surprised that Google haven’t pressed specific standards upon them. I have had my tablet for around 18 months or less and already it is obsolete. Before I cracked the screen I could have taken it to one of those computer exchange shops only to be insulted with a crap offer. I will still use the darn thing but no more Facebook (obviously). Despite my experience thus so far with the Android tablet I remain undeterred...
iPAD
Above: Unwanted iPad models. I think Apple should scrap an iOS based iPad in favour of OSX! Don't worry about creating the thinnest tablet in the world... Add the USB C type socket and Apple could be laughing all the way to the bank (again). Anway, from where I am standing the iPad is experiencing a backlash from dissatisfied users. Just look! 

Should I go iPad? Well, no. Why? I am glad you asked... Although the iPad is beautifully crafted and features some great apps I do think that it’s too pricey for what it is and that I may as well get a Macbook or something. Besides I am a PC person with so many darned PCs that I could perhaps create a little PC shop of my own!

App-wise I am not convinced still that the iPad is the best... I’ve said it a thousand times that there is very little that the Android tablet can’t do when comparing the two platforms. And, of course, I can do so much with any one of my Android handsets; the Google equivalent to Microsoft Office suffices. At the moment I am quite content to augment the PCs with my Android handsets and (crap) tablet.

But I would imagine that the iPad is powerful enough to take the place of a computer. We’ll get to the computer in a bit...

For many Apple enthusiasts the iPad mini impacted on the sales of the larger iPad and now the iPhone 6 Plus has practically knocked the final nail into iPad coffin. I have pointed out to you that these computer exchange shops can’t get rid of the iPad models fast enough! The iPad would make a whole lot of sense if it were competitively priced.

THE SURFACE

Above: The Samsung Galaxy Note 4. You're probably wondering why I haven't placed a picture of the Microsoft Surface here... The reason is to illustrate that I find it beneficial to use the Galaxy Note 4 for writing articles in Google Docs, sketching out musical ideas using Soundcamp and Caustic 3 and making notes with S Note that can be exported to PDF! 

I think that the Surface tablet – the pro one – is the pinnacle of the tablet concept. As I have pointed out many times before the tablet PC is a Microsoft concept that was scrapped as it was too expensive then (and now to a certain extent).

I really do not see where Apple is going with multiple operating systems and overpriced tech... Whereas with the Surface I don’t have to mess around with apps but make use of proper software! Yes, I am repeating myself... This is for the benefit of my new readership, so bear with me! The cost of the Surface Pro is quite steep. As a hardcore PC user it makes more sense for me to invest what I would have spent on a Surface Pro on a powerful kickass desktop PC – as much RAM as the motherboard can hold, massive hard drives and so on!

The PC is a solid workhorse that it needs replacing around every 5 years. And if you know what you are doing you can replace components or build a PC from scratch! And the reason why PC sales are in decline is simply because many households only use the PC for web browsing, social networking and emailing; you can do all that on a phone let alone a tablet. Certainly you are able to do word processing with Google Docs on your phone; Google Docs is just one of the productivity apps that negates the need for Microsoft Office with Slides (PowerPoint compatible); Sheets (Excel) and PDF Viewer. With the Google Cloud Print app you can print your documents with compatible printers. Cool!

Also, where I am concerned, I have to ask: Do I really need the power of the Surface tablet on the fly i.e. when I am travelling? Would I be better off with a laptop? And so far I am unable to say that I need a Surface Pro or laptop. The one big issue I have would be the battery life and the possibility of carrying a chunky power cable around with me... No!

ANDROID
Above: The HTC Nexus 9. I do like it... It's a grand looking 64-bit tablet but I think it's a tad too big for me... Why didn't Google do an 8" tablet? 

Yes, for me the Android tablet makes a lot of sense... Why? Well, I am noticing that the apps are getting so much better. I think that app developers are slowly but surely coming around to the Android tablet. I think app developers are afraid of two things:-

1. Apple would stop talking to them if they created Android versions of popular apps.
2. They feel as though the tablet market in general is in decline.

Above: Helio X20! Helio Kitty! I am just looking forward to the announcement of new phablets and tablets this year with powerful 64-bit chips inside. Mediatek looks like it's going to blow Intel mobile devices chips out of the water! The Intel chip inside my ASUS Fonepad is pretty horrific! I am beside myself as the experience is beyond disappointing! 

I, myself, feel that the tablet market in general is in decline but with the right specifications the Android tablet could make a sharp comeback! Android has hit the 64-bit mark and there are quite a few chip making companies looking to gain the upper hand. Enter MediaTek and the Helio™ X20 - the world’s first mobile processor with Tri-Cluster™ CPU architecture and ten processing cores (Deca-core). That bit of news shows me that things are getting better for Android in general – not like it was bad in the first place!

Once again, Samsung seems to be the only manufacturer looking to produce power and quality across the board. Other manufacturers need to follow suit to remain in the game let alone stay competitive. Us Android folk want power (at least to run what I call the base apps: Facebook; Gee Plus; Gmail; YouTube and so on), quality of build – the Fonepad pops to the touch that it feels like I am holding a DVD / Bluray case and affordability. As per usual I don’t mind the Samsung plastic builds just as long as I get the performance and a solid feel like it is with the Galaxy Note 2 and 4.

I think just before Christmas this year we should see some more formidable tablets from Samsung, NVIDIA, Huawei and possibly HTC. I like the Nexus 9 by HTC but I do like the smaller form. I thought that the supermarket chain, Tesco, did well with the 8” Hudl 2 tablet with front-facing speakers. Maybe Hudl 3 will feature a 64-bit CPU / System on Chip this year – that is if Tesco can arise from its financial difficulties at the moment.

Ah, speaking of finance... I think the idea that developers can’t make money from the Android platform is mute as a few months ago it was announced that the Play Store had surpassed the App Store in sales. Although there is piracy on every platform you will find that people will pay for good apps just as long as the price is reasonable. It is also a myth that developers have a hard time with Android as it caters for multiple screen resolutions... I would love to develop apps and may invest in a course at some point... Anyway, let me conclude...

CONCLUSION
Above: The powerful and underrated Samsung Galaxy Tab S! In my opinion it is better than the iPad. Of course, the choice is entirely up to you. I am quite sure that Samsung will release a 64-bit Galaxy Tab S later this year.

For my needs the Android tablet is the most effective way to compute on the go (I often travel at the weekends). It’s not only effective cost-wise but it has an appealing small form factor and I am able to use it as a sketchpad in that I am able to transfer the outputted files into powerful PC programs such as DAW (digital audio workstations), video editors and so on. I can also arrive at a finished article using a phone or tablet.

But I am very sure that the power-apps will come; at the moment the onus is on entertainment i.e. gaming followed by media streaming... Maybe the Android platform suffers a little from the reputation as inexpensive media consuming products... Hmmmm...

I think that the onus lies with the manufacturer to have some decent apps pre-installed that can make use of the power. So far, I see only Samsung making such a great effort with S Note, Video Editor and the remarkable DAW, Soundcamp. Yes, I know... ...it seems as though I am the biggest Samsung fan in the world but I have to give them credit where it is due! Samsung is on the ball!

There are a few things that I would like Samsung to do – seeing as I have a couple of Galaxy Note handsets (2 & 4) – is to enable me to create the following from its SNote application:-

1. Publish to Kindle eBook.
2. Publish to APK including video and audio.
3. Publish to Interactive PDF with video and audio.

FINALLY: IS THE FIRE OUT?
Above: The Google Nexus Player as realized by ASUS. I have to get one! 

I am referring to the Amazon tablets... It appears as though the fire has gone out of the Amazon tablet range. Do you have an Amazon tablet? Is it something you find appealing? I think that the Amazon tablet has lost its fizzle due to a number factor:-

1. Using a forked version of Android is not appealing – at least to me. I feel that Amazon would have been better off embracing Android from the start. As a result I think people are somewhat confused, “What kind of tablet is that?” “Is it Android?” Creating a device to act as a gateway to an online store is not a great idea. It’s pretty much like the cage that Apple has built for iTunes and the App Store. Why close an open ecosystem?

2. The advent of a growth in the smart TV streaming market! Why spend roughly £90 on a tablet to stream media to your TV when you can pay considerably less for something like Google Chromecast, Nexus Player, Roku, Now TV and, of course, Amazon’s own Fire TV stick!?

These smart TV devices could be having an impact on the Android tablet market too – especially as it is viewed by many as an entertainment device. Whenever I see people with a tablet on the street they are usually consuming media such as a video or busy mother’s will give under 11 year olds an Android tablet to keep them occupied.

Again, I have to say it; Samsung is the only manufacturer I can think of that is pushing the use of the tablet beyond an entertainment device. And considering that one of Google’s fortes is advertising I don’t think they are doing a good job in convincing the masses that having an Android tablet is vital. And come to think of it I am not seeing a great amount of advertising on tablets beyond Microsoft’s Surface! I have understood that the Nexus 9 hasn’t been a great success for Google and I reckon it’s because of the size; going from 7” to 9” is a pretty big jump for those who, like me, prefer the small form. Apparently, Google has no plans to release another tablet this year... Gosh! Maybe that is a good thing... Perhaps Google will concentrate on tablet app development and a thoughtful marketing campaign.

As a consumer all I can do is sit and wait for a tablet that’s right for me! What’s your ideal tablet?

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
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