More technology tips for the holidays

-A A +A
By Special to The Sun


Last week we talked about Windows 8 and we discussed some of the things that you should be aware of if you pick up one of these new machines.

This week I thought we would discuss what technology is available and what I would suggest. Some may be surprised.
The devices that require the most research and investigation are the myriad Android devices that are available. Android is the name that has been given to an operating system (OS) that Google developed. The latest and best version of the Android OS is called Jelly Bean, or version 4.2. Some of the lower-cost devices that are on the market are running older versions of Android and are not updateable to a newer version. There are websites that have a full list of devices that are updateable.
Are you only interested in a reader or a device for entertainment? Well, again, there are a world of options, but there are a couple that I like. The main thing to consider is how much are you willing to pay.
- One of the best hardware choices out there, especially for the price, is the Nook HD of HD + from Barnes and Noble. Pros: According to some opinions, the Nook HD is the best for a pure reading experience. Cons: The variety of options that are available through the other players is not as good. They do support Netflix and Hulu Plus video playback.
- Probably the best solution that is out there is Amazon’s Kindle Fire. It is not the least expensive solution, but it is not the most expensive either. Pros: It is good hardware, but it has a great store that is associated with it, Amazon. You can watch movies, read books, surf the Internet, pretty much consume anything that is available. Cons: The main issue with this device is that it is mainly a consumption device. If you are looking for a general purpose device, this is not it.
- Then there is Apple with its iPad options, the new iPad and the even newer iPad Mini. These are the Cadillac of tablet or consumption devices. Pros: Great hardware with one of the best selections of entertainment available. Cons: The iPad is a little too big when it comes to using it as a reader. In my opinion it is one of the main reasons that they came out with the iPad Mini.
What about something that does it all, a tablet that you can take to the office and still be able to use it as an entertainment device? I feel like a broken record but really there is a huge selection of devices out there, but here are some tips:
- The Android tablets or convertible laptops are inexpensive and there are a huge selection of them. Pros: They have all of applications, games that you could want. If you use Gmail and other Google products then this is a great solution. Cons: Compatibility with the other computers at work is most likely the biggest issue you will run into. Another major issue is knowing what you are getting. You want a device that is the Jelly Bean, or version 4.2. If you are not using Microsoft Office at your company, then this most likely would be a good solution.  
- Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro tablets or convertible laptops are new to the market. Pros: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro run any of the programs that run on Windows 7. Microsoft has invested and developed one of the best entertainment selections of music and movies. Put that with the Amazon Kindle readers and the full web browsing with the Office suite of your choice and you have it all. Cons: They don’t have the full selection of software available and that is why I don’t recommend the Windows 8 RT version.      
- Probably the best known option is going to be the iPad. Pros: Great hardware with one of the best selections of entertainment available. They have a variety of productivity tools and next year there will be a new version of Microsoft Office available for it. Cons: Printing is more difficult and managing it as part of a business network is more difficult. There are many tools to get around these issues, but it makes things more complicated.
I hope there is something in here that helps you make sense of all of the different options that are out there. Next week we will talk about the difference between a computer for $300 and one that costs $1,500 or more. If you have any questions or comments please send them to Smarrinan@outlook.com.