I regularly review and evaluate new technology and products as part of my job and also because I enjoy keeping up with what’s available.
After saying that, I must admit that I’ve spent the last 15 years or so avoiding tablet computers. What’s the point? They’ve always run a stripped down operating system and they could barely do anything. I’ve been toting around my laptop all this time wishing someone would make a decent machine that wouldn’t be a burden to lug around town. A whole decade and a half went by before I saw my first iPad. What an amazing little computer! It really did everything I ever thought a tablet should and more. My only problem is that I wasn’t ready to convert to the Apple infrastructure. I don’t have anything against it, but it’s a different world.
As a programmer, I really like the concept of the Android operating system, so I started to look closely at the wide array of Android tablets and I was really tempted, but they cost as much as the iPad and I couldn’t find a clear winner.
I was then introduced to the Kindle Fire and was amazed at the power in this little tablet that is one-third the price of all the machines mentioned above, but does everything I need. The primary functions I wanted in a tablet were access to social media (Facebook, Twitter, and most important of all GovLoop!), note-taking and action lists that could sync to the cloud, and possibly a few games thrown in. The Kindle Fire seamlessly works with Amazon and since I already had an account for my Kindle, this was a great benefit. There were several apps that would work with my Google account, so that was another productivity enhancement. The Amazon App Store is full of games, so finding something to play would never be an issue. The drawbacks are that it doesn’t have a camera or 3G wireless and if you need either of those capabilities, you’ll need a different machine.
All of the above is great, but in reality the Kindle Fire was made to be a media access device; as such, the sound and picture quality are really great. By paying an additional fee and joining Amazon Prime, you get access to thousands of library books and movies. This was never in my wish list, but as a bonus, it’s quite remarkable.
I’m hoping this posting will generate some discussion on the technologies everyone finds most useful. I’m sure there’ll be disagreements, but that will give us more information to aid us in our decision making. For now, I have to get back to watching Firefly on my Kindle Fire!