|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 not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
May. 30, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,932
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
May. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,599
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
May. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,618
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In this session, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, will describe how to revolutionize your architecture and...
May. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,153
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,761
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, will analyze how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Pay...
May. 30, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,015
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 ...
May. 30, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,600
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
May. 30, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,218
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC 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. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
May. 30, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,943
The world is at a tipping point where the technology, the device and global adoption are converging to such a point that we will see an explosion of a world where smartphone devices not only allow us to talk to each other, but allow for communication between everything – serving as a central hub from which we control our world – MediaTek is at the heart of both driving this and allowing the markets to drive this reality forward themselves. The next wave of consumer gadgets is here – smart, connected, and small. If your ambitions are big, so are ours. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jack Hu, D...
May. 30, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,467
The multi-trillion economic opportunity around the "Internet of Things" (IoT) is emerging as the hottest topic for investors in 2015. As we connect the physical world with information technology, data from actions, processes and the environment can increase sales, improve efficiencies, automate daily activities and minimize risk. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ed Maguire, Senior Analyst at CLSA Americas, will describe what is new and different about IoT, explore financial, technological and real-world impact across consumer and business use cases. Why now? Significant corporate and venture...
May. 30, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,174
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...
May. 30, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,946
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
May. 30, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,763
"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.
May. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,933
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
May. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,737
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of 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. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participa...
May. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,557
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
May. 30, 2015 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,281
2015 predictions circa 1970: houses anticipate our needs and adapt, city infrastructure is citizen and situation aware, office buildings identify and preprocess you. Today smart buildings have no such collective conscience, no shared set of fundamental services to identify, predict and synchronize around us. LiveSpace and M2Mi are changing that. LiveSpace Smart Environment devices deliver over the M2Mi IoT Platform real time presence, awareness and intent analytics as a service to local connected devices. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sarah Cooper, VP Business of Development at M2Mi, will d...
May. 30, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,281
Thanks to widespread Internet adoption and more than 10 billion connected devices around the world, companies became more excited than ever about the Internet of Things in 2014. Add in the hype around Google Glass and the Nest Thermostat, and nearly every business, including those from traditionally low-tech industries, wanted in. But despite the buzz, some very real business questions emerged – mainly, not if a device can be connected, or even when, but why? Why does connecting to the cloud create greater value for the user? Why do connected features improve the overall experience? And why do...
May. 30, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,390
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
May. 30, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 7,410