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Tablet Computers Offer Connectivity On-The-Go

May 16, 2011
By: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
Galaxy Tablet
Because of their size, tablets can keep you connected to important farming data and a host of other information with an increased mobility that fits somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone.  

If you’re contemplating the purchase of a tablet computer, chances are you’re eyeing the highly popular Apple iPad, which was introduced in the marketplace just last year with great fanfare.

If you’re not considering a tablet, chances are you don’t see any benefit to buying one.  But consider this: because of their size, tablets can keep you connected to important farming data and a host of other information with an increased mobility that fits somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone.
 
There are other potential benefits as well, depending on what you value.
 
For instance, a tablet gives you an easy way to make quick notes on-the-go, and you always have access to them. You won’t need to worry anymore about finding that small scrap of paper with that all-important reminder you jotted down last week while in the field planting corn.  You also can set up your tablet to sync with a PC, laptop and/or smartphone, so you always have access to those notes and data no matter which tool you’re using.
 
Tablets are also useful for research purposes and, of course, for consuming media.
 
At roughly 1.5 pounds, with a 10-inch screen, the Apple iPad sets the industry standard in tablets. What you may not realize, though, is other tablet options are available—a lot of them. In fact, more than 120 other brands are in the marketplace today with more on the way, according to CBS Early Show Tech Expert Katie Linendoll.
 
Earlier this week, Linendoll provided highlights on a handful of tablets she considers viable competitors with the market-leading iPad.
 
She also shared her perspective on data plans.  While two-year plans are common, she encourages consumers to go for a shorter plan if available.
 
“I say go month-to-month on the data plan if possible because we’re evolving so quickly with gadgets, and sometimes you can move your data plan contract over,” she notes.
 
Remember, too, that if you go with a 3G service plan (which also gives you Wi-Fi), it will add somewhere between $15 and $60 per month to your costs, depending on the carrier.
 
The five tablets Linendoll highlights on the Early Show include:
 
  • Dell Streak 5: This is the smallest and least expensive of the tablet options.  Based on the Android operating system, the Streak offers a 5-inch, high-resolution screen and full phone features, including GPS. The price of the Streak starts at a very palatable $100.
 
  • BlackBerry PlayBook: This tablet is great for people who want to wirelessly connect to their BlackBerry smartphone. The PlayBook provides real-time access to email, calendars, address book and task list, Documents to Go and BBM. The screen size is 7 inches.  It’s lightweight and portability is good. Price starts at $500.
 
  • Motorola XOOM: Linendoll says the Xoom is a great tool with great apps but sells at a high price point, starting at $600 dollars with a two-year contract.  The Xoom screen size is 10 inches, and its total weight is 1.6 pounds.
 
  • LG G-Slate: This tablet is the most novel one Linendoll reviewed.  Buy this tablet, and you can record video in 3-D. If seeing how your crop progresses during the growing season, or you want to track some other project visually, this could be the tablet for you. The Slate starts at $530 with a two-year contract.
 
  • Galaxy Tab: Samsung is introducing the new 10.1 version on June 8. Linendoll describes the Tab as lightweight and fast, and it’s her personal favorite after the iPad.  Starting price: $500.
 

Bottomline:

Linendoll says the iPad is still king of tablets, but having options to evaluate is almost always a good thing.  You can glean more information on these five specific tablets by checking out Linendoll’s Early Show report at the following link: Tablet Talk.
 

 

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