|By Bob Gourley||
|January 16, 2013 01:14 PM EST||
A few weeks ago, I swapped out my Nexus 7 for an iPad Mini. I forced myself to grab the iPad Mini at every turn, and I have to say I am overwhelmingly disappointed. While it was fun to check out Infinity Blade and other similar titles, I found more and more that it is a crippled device. I’m a big Google user, and I found that the lack of dedicated apps for Google services (most notably Google Voice) to be obnoxious. I had to jump through hoops just to get my contacts synced to the device. But here are my major gripes (and a few shiny points).
People talk about the app ecosystem, but if it’s not HD it’s a hunk of junk
Many people try to compare the Android versus Apple ecosystems, mostly by saying that Android apps are not “optimized” for the tablet experience. If an Android app is not the right size for your tablet, the OS automagically scales it to the screen, and it works. If an iOS application isn’t made for the tablet, it can at best “double in size” which looks AWFUL. For devices in which the screen is the primary way to interact, the jacked up way that Apple handles non-HD apps is awful. Also, any allegations of X number of apps is a farce, because many apps (especially those for services Google doesn’t offer their own app) are just basically glorified bookmarks. There are some apps which are better (Facebook App seems to work smoother), but that’s about it. You can find a lot of games for the iPad only, but to be honest, if you do your research there are viable Android alternatives (that more often that not) play exactly the same. Apps are expensive in the Appstore (which is probably why they sell more). But they are not better. There might be more of them but they are limited to Apple’s walled garden, limiting what they can do. Apple also charges money for, well their own apps. Things like Garage Band and more cost $5 just to play.
The Ergonomics are awful
One of the things that Apple keeps doing is making things prettier and skinnier. I think along the way they’ve forgotten how to create things that are useful. The 7″ tablet is my favorite form factor, because I can use them one handed. Nothing about the iPad Mini is comfortable for me to use one handed. It’s just a little wide, that holding it across the back is not comfortable. The thinness of the device makes it somewhat sharp when you are trying to hold, it just does not seem to fit well in my hand. I’ve heard people describe as one handed operation, I can only seem to figure out how to do it one handed on very few applications, for most I need two, and I am constantly tapping the top left corner to get “back” or to just control the device.
The worst keyboard. period.
I honestly do not even know what the default Android keyboard looks like anymore (I’m entirely on SwiftKey). But as someone who uses a variety of characters in my passwords (security people!), I find the keyboard useless. I’m always switching from the numbers to the letters, unable to input any passwords without having to toggle the keyboard. I immediately turned off the autocorrect, before I threw the device against the wall. The keyboard on the iPad makes it harder to use.
An operating system that doesn’t make sense
As slick looking as iOS might be, it doesn’t always make sense. When I’m using an Android device, I know what the back key does, the home, long pressing, swiping and searching. The lack of multi-tasking stinks. The settings app is a horror show and notifications/badges are so atrocious as to just be obnoxious. The fact that you are stuck just doing what Apple wants you really ruined the experience for me. I like to customize my experience to work for me. Whether it’s moving things around, widgets, or changing things, Apple doesn’t let me do it, and it ruins my experience. The other thing that totally ruins iOS for me is the lack of sharing. Any application you add to Android can partake in sharing, from Pocket, to Twitter. Pocket is so powerful for Android directly because of the sharing, anything you are reading can be instantly saved for later. Sharing items directly to Dropbox, or sending via app X is all possible on Android, and all but impossible on iOS. One of things that made me want to try iOS so much was the insistence of all users that it was just plain buttery smooth. I found apps crashing, lagging and stuttering all over the place.
The need for new cables.
This is a little unfair to the iPad, but it is more than a little obnoxious to have to buy new (extra) cables. While I think the move to the lightning cable was a necessary evil for iDevices, many of my universal chargers and battery packs have old 30-pin connectors, which would have saved me (some) money, and lots of hassle.
So what is good?
The iPad Mini does have a few shining points. The larger screen is sometimes nice when reading articles, and gives you more game playing area. While very few productive/valuable apps are iOS only, some games are. I don’t see much of a difference between “optimized” apps, but Apple’s inability to scale apps is completely inexcusable.
The iPad Mini’s battery life is unparalleled in the Android world. My Nexus 7 lasts a long while, but not quite as long. On a device that you might only use an hour or so a day, it is possible for the iPad Mini to last for almost a week.
Some apps are smoother, the Facebook app certainly is, though I don’t always like the need to touch the screen to find controls (getting out of a picture you have to touch or swipe…how am I supposed to know this?). It was sometimes nice that apps such as Facebook and Gmail opened links in “in-app” Safari browsers; however sometimes I wanted everything to be opened in Chrome, my browser of choice.
All in all my thoughts on the iPad Mini
Even if you’re caught in the Apple ecosystem, I would hold off on the iPad Mini just now. As Apple is changing their refresh cycles you might find yourself purchasing one (only to have it be replaced in scant few months). I was glad that Apple finally saw the value of the sub 8″ tablet world, yet the sacrifices they made with this device leave me frustrated. While product replacement is always a problem with technology, I feel the hamstrung iPad Mini is ripe for a refresh, only scant months after it was released. Right now, the Nexus 7 is still a far superior tablet (in terms of ecosystem, ergonomics, speed and display), so why pay a premium for a device that will be soon replaced? While I will keep the iPad Mini so I can still test iOS applications, it will no longer be my go to device, for that I have my trust Nexus 7.
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,193
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,266
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,239
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,116
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,088
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,382
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,216
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,599
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,840
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,930
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,592
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
Dec. 15, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,596
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Dec. 15, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,412
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
Dec. 15, 2014 08:45 AM EST Reads: 2,003
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 15, 2014 08:15 AM EST Reads: 2,691
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Dec. 15, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,143
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
Dec. 15, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,378
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
Dec. 12, 2014 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,244
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Dec. 11, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,449
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Dec. 11, 2014 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,914