Last week, Dell launched Streak, its tablet computer, while Microsoft said you can expect to see its slate computer by Christmas. Meanwhile not one, but several brands such as Binatone and Vox have announced tablets costing less than R9,000 in the Indian market while Dell's offering costs more than R 31,000.
Apple's iPad and BlackBerry's Playbook are also due for a launch soon. In such a market it's better to be a smart buyer than an impulsive one. So, here are my five rules for those who might be eyeing a tablet.
Wait a little: Tablets have only just hit the market, and more are on the way.Samsung, Toshiba and Microsoft are among the key brands that will join BlackBerry (which recently launched PlayBook) and others including Indian and Chinese brands. As competition hots up, you can get the machine you want at a price point that could be more affordable if you can wait a few weeks or months more. If you have money to burn or insist on being the Cool No. 1, that's another story.
Screen size is important: While 7-inch tablets are here, I would urge you to look for the screen size that gives you the best experience. Smartphones and tablets are actually just variations of the laptop/notebook computer with added connectivity. As I see it, the real difference will be in the way you can watch videos, do interactive applications, read e-books or play with the touchscreen when you are a tablet user. The larger the screen size, the better it would be, considering, of course, your need for mobility.
Memory makes the difference: Look for the right memory size and RAM — Random Access Memory and the hard disk space. Songs, videos and e-books will take up a lot of memory. For effective downloads, games and videos, a good RAM and enough storage space are vital. Don't fall for the price or looks alone.
Check the pre-loaded apps: Applications make the difference as devices become essentially enablers for you to stay connected with the Net and friends. Choose the ones you like and learn about downloads and purchases.
Enquire about the battery life: Even in simple voice phones the “talktime”issue is critical. As your machine takes more loads in songs, videos, and “always connected” lifestyles on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks, you should make sure that your machine is not one that needs frequent charging.