This is a blog I’ve been meaning to write for a while and I just haven’t found the time because things have been so busy. Of course this revolves around technology and how we use it. Long have I been moving towards a converged computinig experience and quite frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air. Right now, I’m sitting in a cafe typing this on my “tablet” bluetooth keyboard and my bluetooth mouse to navigate. ( See Picture for reference )
What is amazing about this is it completely changes the paradigm of “how” we compute. We have been told that tablets are not productivity devices. That is a partially true statement. Without a keyboard/mouse, they are consumption based devices. However, when you pair those tactical innput devices with a tablet, you become acutely aware that the device is capable of so much more. Granted, not everyone is going to be able to do thisi and quite frankly, I don’t expect everyone to be able to pull this off either because they don’t want to, they love Winidows too much (ha!) or simply (as my wife puts it),prefer a laptop.
My time now with my tablet has been for just about 2 months of use and what I’m going to dive into is how I came about this change.
This was crucial to understanding what exactly I needed my tablet to do. With my recent shift in jobs, I found it apparent that I needed something small enough to throw in a backpack, had at least 9 hrs of battery life, and could connect into my work office computer/resources. My requirements ended up being this:
- - Must be ultra portable
- - Must have greater than 8 hrs of battery life
- - Must be able to use VPN software to get to work resources
As I started to build my requirements, I challenged myself to ask the question: “Do I need Microsoft Windows?” The short answer was no, I didn’t. Any and all laptop hybrids right now are running 450+ bucks and IMO give a lackluster performance. When I started specing out the Windows laptop that would work for me, it ended up being $530 bucks. I thought to myself, why? Why would I want to deal with the headache of learning Windows 8 when I’m already so familar with Android? This lead to seeking what the best Android tablet was for the money. I was always facinated with the Nexus 7 units. Small, lightweight, powerful computers in a box. So I started looking at how I could make this 7″ tablet my main workstation. Turns out, it was amazingly cheap.
My next build out for my requirements were the following:
- - Replacement my current 4 yr old Windows 7 laptop
- - Must have keyboard and mouse with bluetooth
- - Must be able to used for producitivity including performing all job duties via Remote Desktop.
This lead me to purchasing the Nexus 7 2013 32GB Wi-Fi unit along with the following options:
- - Anker 3.0 Bluetooth keyboard ($24.99)
- - HP x4000b 4.0 Bluetooth mouse ($19.99)
- - V7 Protective Sleeve for iPads ($6.90)
- - Siedo Protective case w/ stand ($44.99)
- - Slimport HDMI out adapter w/ power charger port ($29.99)
Add that up, around $128 bucks in total. The unit (which was a gift… thanks Mom and Dad!) was $230 on sale. Aggregate total: $358 bucks. If we do the math on that… that is $530 – 358 is a net savings of $172 dollars AND I don’t have to deal with Windows 8! (You can’t put a price on that really. :) ) Even now as I’m typing this, two bluetooth devices connected to it, Wi-Fi turned on & VPN enabled, I’m stil at 99% battery and I’ve been unplugged now for almost an hour. This folks is the magic of Android.
My biggest challenges with going this direction is re-thinking how I compute from a “Windows” perspective. Thankfully (and probably close to reason why I choose this route) Android has a file management. Whether it is downloading files, sharing them or uploading/creating things in the cloud, that is simply something that is (I believe) more difficult to do on an Apple based product. Add to the fact that I’ve already got an Android phone that I love, it makes the most sense to stick with what works.
Obviously taking the leap of this sort is not for everyone; However I will say to the nay sayers that tablets can be productivity machines as long as you approach the requirements from a different perspective. If we end up judging tablets from a “Windows” based perspective, I believe we lose site of how we as individuals use computers. The fact is we all use them differently. So before you go and drop $500, $600 or even $800 bucks on a notebook computer, think closely about your requirements and price out what you need and how you’ll use the device. That is the great thing about the era of computers we are in, the sky is the limit of how we can interface and engage with new technology. I hope this gives you some insight and inspiration to do the same.
PS – Here are direct links to all of the aforementioned items that I got off Amazon. Again, the tablet in question is the Nexus 7 2013 32GB Wi-Fi edition.