Tablet Wars


The latest addition to the war of tablets is Blackberry Playbook from the makers of iconic smartphone. Currently Apple’s iPad leads this market followed by the android based tablets that have come from Samsung and Motorola. Since I own a blackberry phone, I have a kind of loyalty to the Blackberry brand and I am a bit upset about all the negative news that has been making rounds of internet for a while.

Despite being in the field of technology I am completely incompetent to compare different gadgets and make any meaningful conclusions. All my purchase decisions are always influenced by factors other than features and utility of the device.

I have had few Sony Ericsson phones, one LG phone, a Nokia phone and currently I am using a Blackberry. I had just once touched an iPhone and my experience with Android is limited to the emulator and a test phone that we have in lab. Honestly compared to all this my Blackberry Curve 3G feels like a real phone and communication device. It is well made with very good attention to detail.

Phones

If we consider the smartphone market I suppose iPhone beats everyone else with its user friendliness, brand appeal and a huge app-store. iPhone is a dream phone for most of the people. To go by market share Android is positioned at second position. Given that its a free and open source operating system there many vendors that will ship their phones with android. Using off the shelf OS like android significantly reduces the software cost for vendors like Samsung and hence we can have cheaper phones with better OS. In my opinion Android in its current form is far from impressive but within next one year we can expect it to improve significantly.

Blackberry cant compete with iPhone and Android phones. Most of the people look at phone as a device that will help them kill time. Blackberry stand diametrically opposite in this regard. It is a device for those who want save time and get more free time for themselves. For example, I feed my lecture timetable in the phone and it reminds me one hour before the lecture, I use it to keep track of all my appointments and daily tasks and it keeps reminding me as I tell it to do. It helps me block all unwanted calls and the times I specify. I can check my emails while in bus or auto-rickshaw and I can respond to them wherever I am. That explains why I dont login into Facebook or Gmail anymore, I do it while I am forced to wait for something else.

I don’t think iPhone or Android can let me do it that nicely. Unfortunately for RIM the market for these functionality is limited and hence they can never grow the way Android and iPhone are growing.

Tablets

The case of tablets is very curious. Apple’s iPad is powered with iOS whereas almost each and every other tablet in the market is powered with android. All the android versions that these tablets are running were actually meant for smaller smartphones and not for tablets with large screen.

When I thought of buying a tablet I walked into staples to get some hands on experience with iPad and Galaxy Tab. iPad was simply amazing, it had a great user experience and it was device that could keep me entertained for quit some time. Galaxy Tab however was a bit different. It had many apps which performed decently but there was nothing that could really impress me. It seemed like a good device to chat, read Pdfs and watch a movie. The gaming experience wasn’t as good as on iPad.

I dint buy any of those because I dint see what value they can add to my life. I have instead ordered an amazon kindle.

I was extremely thrilled when I heard that RIM took-over QNX and plans to power their future phones and playbook with QNX neutrino. Since I work in real time computing I am very familiar with QNX. It is an OS that controls metro systems, nuclear power-plants and so on.

As the time progresses the processing power that can be put into a tablet without compromising size and battery consumption will shoot up the roof. Playbook for example uses a dual core processor. When that happens the OS that can run on tablets will resemble more to Windows 7 and Ubuntu rather than something that runs on cellphones. Looks like Apple had already thought about that, I feel iOS and MacOS will eventually merge into each other very nicely.

QNX in that sense also is a OS worth betting on and so is Windows 7. Nokia’s decision to join hands with Microsoft can be seen in that light.

But what about Android? Can it evolve? I dont know.

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