July 2013

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Why on earth is the vendor of a table to crucial?  That is a great question.  One that I hope to shed some light on in this post.

The vendor determines which features your tablet will include.  If the vendor provides storage in the cloud, they are more likely to not include a slot to put an additional storage device in.  If they have their own application store, they are more likely to include it and act like a competitor’s application store simply doesn’t exist.

Vendors are crucially important.  When they stop supporting a device, you must depend on someone else to provide updates, or throw the device away.

Tablet makers vary greatly in how long they provide support and what type of support is provided.  The cheapest tablet I have purchased had zero updates.  That is not a typo.  What you bought was what you bought and it was never updated.  This was worse then expected.  However, it makes a statement about what the vendor thought about the device; to them, it was disposable.

I am convinced that vendor support is directly related to a companies’ business model.  I have purchase a table from a vendor whose only way of making money was by selling hardware.  They don’t make money off of music, video, or application sales.  What do they care their device brakes?  A company like Amazon or Apple is more likely to give you support simply because they want to maximize their profit earning opportunities.

To wrap this over-thinking post up in a sentence: “Be sure to trust the vendor you purchase from”.  Read about their reputation for providing support.  Don’t be surprised that they leave out features.  All vendors I have come across do.

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It is a little known secret that a tablet without applications is like a television with no channels.  It really doesn’t serve a purpose.  This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.  Don’t make the same errors I did.  Know which application store comes with your android tablet.

The most common application store for android tables is the Google Play Store.  If your tablet comes with this installed, you are all set.  Unfortunately, a lot of tablets do not include the Google Play Store.  This occurs for various reasons.  It also leaves the tablet at a huge disadvantage.  This was the case on my first and second tablet purchases.

Thankfully, there are other application stores out there.  The first that I would recommend is Amazon’s app store.  Just browse to http://amazon.com/getappstore and install.  Amazon is great for their free app of the day.  A paid application for free every day.  Sometimes, this is a really useful application and other days, well, it’s essentially a scam.  Be sure to read the reviews before installing.  Amazon is also well known for the restrictions they put on running the applications.  If you are not logged into Amazon, the application may not run.

Another application store that I use is http://1mobile.com/ .  1Mobile is great if you need the Google Applications such as the Maps and Music applications, but do not have the Google Play store.  I have used it to install Google’s Music player on my MID7042 tablet and it works well.  They have tons of applications in their store.  If it is in Google’s Play Store, it most likely will also be in the 1mobile market.  The only reason I have the Amazon store listed first is that I trust them more.  A great tutorial on installing the 1mobile market can be found here.

Your tablet is naked without applications.  Use one of the following application stores and you will be up and productive even if your tablet didn’t come preloaded with a sufficient application store.

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There are a lot of choices when buying a tablet.  Manufactures are pumping them out in all different shapes and sizes.  Are you going to buy a tablet that you later regret?  Read on and I will guide you through a few considerations to help you on your journey.

1. Screen

The screen of a tablet is important for a number of reasons.  Like laptops, a smaller screen means more portability and better battery life.  A larger screen means that you can actually read what is on the screen.  Make sure you are comfortable with the way the screen looks.  It is something that you cannot change after purchase.

One more thing of note, a screen with a lot of pixels on it (aka. HD, Retina)  will have to have the video card in the device to push that screen.  In human terms it means the better screen is an indication that the other parts of the table are high quality.

2. Speakers

This is a huge problem with current generation tablets.  If you want to watch a movie in comfort, you hold the screen in landscape format (like a TV).   The problem with this is that most tablets will only have sound coming out of one side of the screen.  This is the case, even when they advertise stereo sound.  Tablet makers expect you to use earphones and neglect the speakers.  This is true even in the more expensive versions.  Don’t be caught off guard by this.

3. Outputs and Inputs (HDMI and Expandable Memory)

Do you want to plug your new Nook tablet into the television?  You can’t!  Not without an adaptor that sticks out about an inch and will cost you some money. HDMI out is not an option, it is a necessity for most people.

One way tablet makers (like Google) try to push their cloud storage subscriptions (and raise profits) is by not providing expansion through memory cards.  Make sure you know how much storage you need.  Again, don’t get caught by this scheme.

As always, do your research.  Reading this post is a good start.  If you have any questions, please ask.  Happy buying!

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