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Tablet Operating Systems and Features / A Comparison

Wedded to the intuitive Apple iOS? Or keen to stick with the Google Android OS you’ve become used to on your smartphone? The choice of operating system for your tablet is as likely to be a ‘brand’ choice as it is one about features and function. So how do the two market leaders square up?

With so much hype, it’s easy to believe that there are just two operating systems available for tablets. But take a closer look: the growing demand for business tablets means that other top tech brand names are also offering their own operating systems. These have a number of plus points for certain user groups.

Apple iOS

Familiarity keeps users happy..

Ease of use is viewed as one of the biggest factors in the success of Apple’s mobile operating system iOS. There is Little difference to the user interface experience whether an Apple® Pad, Phone or Pod Touch is used. And for Apple® aficionados, this makes the choice of tablet an easy one: it has to be the Apple® Pad.
The iOS offers Pad users a touch controlled interface, familiar and intuitive usability and easy-to-grasp layout. With the launch of iOS 5 imminent, users are promised some 200 new features, including a new messaging service; iMessage that will let the user easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices.

Android

Like bees to the honeypot…

The latest Google mobile technology platform, codenamed Honeycomb during its development, is proving popular with those already using the mobile Android OS on their smartphones. A key difference between the earlier OS and ‘Honeycomb’ is that Android 3 has been designed with the larger screen of a tablet in mind. It features a brand new, truly virtual and ‘holographic’ user interface design and a redesigned keyboard helping to make entering text fast and accurate on larger screen sizes. You can also get the full web experience on your device with Adobe® Flash Player® 10.2 which can be downloaded from Android Market.
One of the key attractions of the new Android 3 is its customisation capability. This offers up to five customisable home screens to which you can add widgets and group app icons, such as Google Books, YouTube and Gmail anywhere you want.

Windows7 OS

Microsoft has unsurprisingly entered the fray with tablet-friendly versions of its Windows7 Operating System. With the majority of PC users already familiar with Windows0 OS, Microsoft is counting on the ability for tablets operating on Windows7 to seamlessly synchronise with home and office computers. Windows7 offers several improvements for tablet users in the Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions and Microsoft has worked with manufacturers to enhance technologies, such as touch control and user interface.
Windows7 OS refines some of the improvements offered in Windows Vista, such as the quick and easy way Windows searches your PC to find what you want. Popular features include HomeGroup file sharing and Jump Lists that enable you to quickly access your files. The new AppLocker feature available on Windows7 Ultimate is ideal for enterprise tablet users. It enables you to Lock down certain applications for specified users to provide access control for applications.

BlackBerry Tablet OS

Research in Motions BlackBerry Tablet OS is the perfect choice for users of the BlackBerry Playbook tablet. It is designed to work with multi-core devices and comes with enhanced multi-tasking, as well as support for Adobe PDF Reader, Youtube, email, browsing and more.
There is a sense that it is targeted more at the enterprise than the consumer, being great for handling and creating documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It is compatible with Adobe Air, Adobe Flash 10.1, WebKit, Java, OpenGL, and POSIX. All apps can be downloaded via the BlackBerry App World and the BlackBerry Bridge allows users to connect the PlayBook tablet to their BlackBerry smartphones, with BlackBerry OS 5 or above.

Wi=Fi for the wireless generation

Today’s tablets offer you the opportunity to connect to the internet and communicate with colleagues, friends and family from just about anywhere. All tablets support Wi-Fi connectivity allowing them, or other wireless devices, within range of an office or home Hot Spot to be used to access the internet. One of the benefits of Wi-Fi is that so many places now offer an open Hot Spot. For example, cafes, airports, libraries and exhibition halls invariably offer Wi-Fi internet access.

For the enterprise user, such as a road warrior, a field-based engineer, or remote healthcare worker, the ability to tap into office applications from a local Hot Spot and to communicate directly with colleagues offers huge advantage in terms of both customer satisfaction and efficiency. Instant and remote access to calendar, email and even patient histories or maintenance and sales records can speed up and improve service delivery.

For non-commercial tablet users, the benefits are equally clear. Imagine being able to check flight details or to find the location of an event from a Hot Spot while you’re already in transit. School children can be given access to secure school intranets to support their studies, while social networking groups of all ages can communicate almost anywhere, at any time.

3G anywhere, any time

With Wi-Fi connectivity available just about anywhere, why would you need a 3G-enabled tablet? The debate about whether to opt for 3G or not rumbles on, but for dedicated 3G users there is no question about its benefits.

Although Wi-Fi is ideal if you have a wireless high speed router in your home or are likely to be using your tablet near a wireless Hot Spot, third generation (3G) internet access doesn’t depend on the availability of a wireless Hot Spot for its connectivity. Instead, connectivity is provided from anywhere that 30 coverage is available.

Mobile operators maintain a network of mobile base stations that users (without any interruption to service) are switched between as they move from location to location. This means that they can continue to use their tablet to access the internet while they’re on the move, without the need to find a Hot Spot.

3G is offered as a service purchased from a mobile provider, usually on a monthly subscription basis. Users can stay permanently connected to the internet and only pay for the amount of information they receive or transmit. Advances in this third generation of internet technology make it ideal for tablet users likely to need advanced multimedia access, high-speed transmission or global roaming.

There is great audio and video streaming and what might take several hours to download on a non-3G tablet, such as songs or film trailers, takes just minutes with 3G.

3G is all about staying connected on the move. In our fast-paced business and social world, it is the ‘only’ option for many tablet users.

 

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