|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.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 4,384
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 22, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,680
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,963
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 22, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 3,703
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 4,760
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 3,011
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
Jan. 22, 2017 08:30 AM EST Reads: 4,990
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Jan. 22, 2017 08:30 AM EST Reads: 966
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Jan. 22, 2017 07:15 AM EST Reads: 1,968
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Jan. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EST Reads: 5,066
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 2,907
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 7,910
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 11,755
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Jan. 22, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 6,586
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Jan. 22, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 4,194
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
Jan. 22, 2017 01:00 AM EST Reads: 5,203
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 22, 2017 12:15 AM EST Reads: 2,336
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal ...
Jan. 21, 2017 11:45 PM EST Reads: 2,480
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Jan. 21, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 3,160
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Jan. 21, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 3,852