By TEDDYE SNELL
Less than 10 years ago, cell phones were at the top of the heap of “must-have” gadgets. Today, electronic tablets dominate the electronic media market, the most popular among them being the iPad.
Larger than cell phones, electronic tablets are sleeker versions of laptop computers, many of which come with wireless Internet or 4G cellular capability, meaning they provide Internet access, without the pesky voice protocols of a telephone.
Streaming video has also gained popularity, and tablets, which have much larger screens than cell phones, provide users with optimum viewing pleasure.
Consumer Reports recently conducted a study about the preferred medium for streaming video, and 60 percent of those polled said they use tablets, particularly when they’re at home, but want to remain mobile.
On Sept. 12, CNET.com reviews showed the top-five tablets rated by editors as being Apple’s 16 GB iPad, Asus 32 GB Transformer Pad Infinity, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Asus Transformer Pad TF300.
Local resident and business owner Melissa Matthews owns a first generation iPad, and said she uses it daily. She’s the owner of a local comic book store, and uses the iPad, along with a credit card-reading attachment, as a cash register for the business.
“We use our first-generation iPad every day,” said Matthews. “I love it.”
People who use electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops find they prefer the electronic tablets overall, including Roger Graham, videographer at the Cherokee Phoenix.
“[I prefer] the iPad,” said Graham. “The ease and the size [provided by the iPad] have turned my iPhone and laptop into lost souls.”
Isabel Baker, retired educator said she has an iPad, and prefers to use it for certain applications.
“I use my iPad for everything, especially emails,” said Baker. “I love my iPhone, but it is so small and hard to read email and facebook entries.”
Lowrey School Gifted and Talented teacher Jeff Lawrence is using iPads in the classroom. Previously students in the program received MacBook laptops to work from, as part of a 1 to 1 grant initiative. Lawrence said the iPads are less expensive, which provides him more bang for his buck.
“I’m switching my gifted and talented program students over from Macbooks to iPads; [the iPads] are cheaper and work better. I’m using my gifted class as guinea pigs to see how it works out, and so far, it’s been great. We will probably switch[all students] over from MacBooks to iPads, because its a better use of the 1 to 1 initiative funding. As the students need apps, we download them for them. Overall, I really like the way it’s working out.
Lawrence received an iPad for his birthday, and said he, too, owns a MacBook laptop.
“I carry the iPad everywhere, and never use the MacBook anymore,” said Lawrence.
Ruth Anne Nelson, former student at Northeastern State University, teaches junior high school English in Fort Smith, Ark., and has a number of electronic media gadgets. The gadget she uses is determined by the task.
“I have an iPad and iPhone; my son has a Kindle Fire and iPod Touch, which I borrow,” said Nelson “I love the iPad, because it has a better size than the phone, but works with my desktop. After purchasing the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation apps, it’s really quite the mini-computer. I prefer the page size, but not necessarily the glare/backlight, for reading rather than on my older Kindle and a little better than the Fire.”
As an educator, Nelson believes tablets provide lots of practical applications in the classroom.
“The possibilities include tying it into a grading/attendance system and doing those things while walking around rather than at a desk, using it to control an interactive whiteboard - like a SmartBoard, taking notes in meetings, taking pictures of projects, hooking it to an overhead projector and screening presentations or videos, etc.,” she said. “I’m still learning ways to incorporate it. My biggest handicap is that I’m overwhelmed by the app store and don’t know yet what I’m missing.”
What you said
The Daily Press conducted an online poll, asking readers if they use an electronic tablet, and if so, which one(s)?
Of 93 respondents, 46 percent, or 43 voters, said they don’t use a tablet; they use mobile phones or a desktop or laptop computers. Seventeen repondents, or 18 percent, said they use a tablet mainly for reading, like Kindle or Nook. Sixteen respondents, or 17 percent, said they use a combination of platforms, including tablets.
Eleven percent, or 10 respondents, said they don’t use any type of electronic media gadget. Eight percent, or 7 respondents, said they use a general purpose tablet like an iPad or Samsung Note.
Get the scoop
To find out more about electronic tablets, specifically the Kindle Fire, visit http://tinyurl.com/96pegn8