Tablet laptops are what’s hot right now, but they’re definitely not all created equal. Whether you’re looking for a 7-inch slate or a 10-inch device, Wi-Fi-only or 4G-enabled, this is your guide to choosing the right tablet laptop for you.
Tablet Laptop: iPad
Apple’s iOS is the mobile platform used by the iPad, as well as the iPhone and iPod touch. On the iPad, iOS works very similarly to the way it does on the iPhone, with certain tweaks made here and there to take advantage of the tablet’s larger 9.7-inch screen. .
Tablet Laptop: iPad Contd.
The built-in iPod app on the iPad, for instance, has an extra side menu for additional navigation options that wouldn’t fit on the iPhone’s screen. Generally speaking, the great strength of Apple’s iOS is twofold: it’s incredibly intuitive, and the wide selection of iPad apps more than 90,000 tablet-specific titles at the time of this writing, work uniformly well with very few exceptions.
Tablet Laptop: Google Mobile OS
Google’s mobile OS, Android, is a more complicated story. Besides having your choice of hardware from several manufacturers, there are a few iterations of Android floating around right now, but only one, Android 3.0, Honeycomb is designed specifically for tablet laptops. This year, we’ve seen plenty of Honeycomb tablet laptops, but some manufacturers are still making tablets with previous versions of Android that are meant for phones with much smaller screens,which doesn’t provide the best tablet laptop experience.Also, some Android tablet laptops don’t include access to the Android Market on the device, which means you have to sideload apps, which is less than ideal.
Tablet Laptop: Android Revisions
Google’s forthcoming Android revision, Ice Cream Sandwich, promises to merge Gingerbread the phone OS with Honeycomb the tablet laptop OS, for a single operating system for all Android devices. Ice Cream Sandwich is expected soon this October or November, but if you’re buying an Android tablet today, you want a Honeycomb tablet laptop with the Android Market preloaded. The good news is that we’re hearing from various tablet manufacturers that Honeycomb tablet laptops will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich when the OS is released.
Tablet Laptop: Android 3.0
Android 3.0 has its benefits, including configurability, an excellent notification system, Adobe Flash support, and seamless integration with Google applications like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Talk for video chat.
Tablet Laptop: What Android Is Missing
Android lacks a strong selection of apps. It’s tough to say exactly how many tablet-optimized Android apps are available, but it’s in the low hundreds, and there are even fewer BlackBerry PlayBook apps than that. If you want lots of apps for your tablet, right now, nothing out there beats the iPad with its 90,000+ apps designed specifically for the tablet. Apple’s App Store is well-curated and offers a deep selection. No competitor can come close to claiming this right now, partially because apps made for Android tablets have to work across multiple screen sizes, while iPad apps are designed for a single tablet laptop. It sounds simple, but the variation in size, and manufacturers complicates things greatly. Eventually, one hopes, the other app stores will catch up to Apple, but if a wide range of compelling apps is your main priority, Apple is currently your best bet.
Tablet Laptop: Blackberry Playbook
Lastly, there’s RIM’s QNX operating system, which runs on the company’s BlackBerry PlayBook. Despite having a top-notch user interface with some promising features, like tight integration with BlackBerry smartphones, the PlayBook was released before it was ready, and five months later is still missing major features, like native email support. Until RIM gets its act together on the PlayBook, we can’t recommend the tablet or the OS.
Tablet Laptop: Final Thoughts
Ultimately, the operating system you choose will largely depend on your comfortably and personal preference. If you’re unsure, get some hands-on time with a few tablet laptops before you commit to one.