A Plethora of New Tablets

Some readers of this blog may be wondering if this blog will be covering any of the new tablets that are available for Android (Samsung 10.1, Asus Transformer), WebOS (HP TouchPad), BlackBerry (Playbook), or Windows.  The short answer is: no.

A longer answer is that this blog purposely doesn’t generate revenue.  WordPress inserts some ads–particularly in the mobile browser–that help support the free hosting.  Otherwise, this blog has no sponsors or advertisers–which is fine for now.  But that also means that I have a limited income (from my day job) to spend on technology–while still providing a roof over the heads of my family and dinner on our plates (and all the other expenses of life).

If you’re really interested in other tablets, I suggest you check out ViolaJack’s blog, who is also a guest writer for tabletpcbuzz.com. ViolaJack is primarily a proponent of Tablet PCs (Windows), but she also gives other tablets a fair chance as well.

From a practical standpoint, my greatest use of my iPad (in teaching) continues to be PDF readers such as UnrealBook and forScore, something that will only continue now that I’ve added a Pageflip Cicada to my technology inventory.  I’ve spent only a few minutes in the Android and WebOS App Stores, but it still doesn’t look like either of those two platforms has a dedicated PDF Music Reader available for their Tablets.  That isn’t surprising, as David Pogue of the New York Times recently reported that there are roughly 300 apps available for both Android Tablets and the HP TouchPad.  However, it’s clear that musicians and music educators were forward-thinking with the iPad, with examples such as ForScore, which announced its app before the iPad 1 was ever released. And without bragging, there are over 100,000 apps available that are “tweaked” for the iPad (Not all of them are good.)  So, specialized apps geared towards music and the music educator is limited on many of these competitive devices.

Additionally, Android (in particular) has had a nasty habit of E-O-Ling (End-of-Life) its devices (declaring them non-upgradeable even though they are still being sold).  I would be slightly afraid that if I bought a Galaxy Tab 10.1 or a Asus Transformer, that it would not be upgradeable to the next OS.  Apple is clearly making iOS5 available to the iPad 1, and it is very possible that even iOS 6 may run on the iPad 1 (We’ll have to see, as Apple increased the amount of RAM memory on the device with the iPad 2).

Finally, I know the iPad works.  I know that it works in education (as proved in many pilot and 1-on-1 programs this year).  I know that people “get” the iPad and how it works.  Many tech bloggers ask the question, “Why would I buy this tablet instead of the iPad?”  As David Pogue stated about the TouchPad (applicable to all other tablets):

In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn’t come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets; you’d be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now, unless you’re some kind of rabid A.B.A. nut (Anything but Apple).

Note: ViolaJack would say that a larger screen and an active digitizer would be essential, both for the musician (reading music as an instrumentalist) and the student (handwriting).  I agree with both of these points, and would eagerly accept a 12 inch iPad that had a dual-function screen (both capacitive touch and active digitizer).  In my opinion, the iPad still wins in terms of portability/wieght, battery stamina, ease of use/operating system/instant-on, and ruggedness.  Brandt Schneider has some good thoughts on this at his website.  Granted, you cannot run full Windows or Mac apps on an iPad, but as I increasingly use my iPad first, and then my MacBook or iPhone.
As a further side note, Fraser Speirs (www.speirs.org) has commented about the release of iOS 5 on the iPad 1 on Twitter: “iOS 5 on the original iPad, which will, at that point, be 18 months old. This is why you choose iOS over Android for your school.”  He has also written two tweets reporting the ruggedness of the iPad: “The only iPad to be replaced [in our 1:1 program] because of ‘user error’ so far was because a 5 year old broke off a headphone jack in the socket,” and, “As of today, we have had over 68,000 school hours worked without a damaged iPad.  Breakable?  Hardly.”

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