Monday, August 23, 2010

Alternatives to Ipad

I had a chat with automotive tutor – Peter Sauer – who is interested in making use of the tablet as a resource tool in the automotive workshop. There is already a large computer screen and computer set up in the automotive workshop but the students rarely make use of it as it is parked in a corner of the workshop and using it means everyone else in the workshop is able to see what the user is looking for / at. Ipod touches may be a solution but the screens are too small. The mobility of the tablet along with the screen real estate will provide opportunities to use some very effective automotive reference resources to be accessible in the workshop. Some of the resources include 3D models of engines which can be ‘exploded’ out and the details of each engine part scrutinised.

The cost of ipads makes it expensive for apprentices to purchase. Also, we will probably need a robust tablet which will stand up to the hard surfaces in an automotive workshop. The screen will also need to withstand being continually prodded by greasy fingers! So the hunt is now on for an appropriate device which is not too expensive but robust. There are alternatives to the ipad including 7 here and 10 here plus a NZ specific report.

Android OS tablets seem to be about to take off and there is a blog with the latest news on various Android OS tablets about to be launched. We might have to source these on the internet as I can not see many of these devices making it on to the NZ market. I will need to keep an eye out for them when I am in Hong Kong and Singapore in October. I am only in each country very briefly, so will need to do some research before I go, to work out the best places to view and do some hands on try out with any that are available by October this year.

The Palmpad using Web OS might be also launched by then, although early 2011 seems to be a more likely date. I have always been a fan of the Web OS on palm devices having used 4 palm devices. So it will be interesting to see what comes about.

Windows 7 powered tablets seem to have struck a bit of a challenge, with several reviewers, including this one, providing poor reviews. So, there seems to be many about to be launched and a few already available.  The ipad will still be the standard most people will use as a reference point for other tablets.