|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.
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 6, 2016 07:15 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 704
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 324
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 6, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 351
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 6, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 341
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 6, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 536
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 6, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 117
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 6, 2016 11:00 AM EST
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 6, 2016 09:00 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 6, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 328
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 772
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 402
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 838
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 922
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 717
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,135
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,197
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 798
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 772
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,258