I was recently in one of our offices speaking with a few of our members when someone approached me and asked if he should replace his dying laptop with an iPad for real estate. I thought about it for a minute and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t 100% sure how to answer him which leads us to today’s blog on tablets.
When looking at the world of mobile computing, tablets have become the new trendy device and many people are looking to upgrade from their laptops to an iPad or Android tablet. I’ve even heard people suggest that laptops are “old technology” and that you would be crazy to spend money on one when you could get a “latest technology” device.
While this is true to a certain extent, it is important to remember that tablets were not designed to replace laptops. Remember when Steve Jobs went on stage and told the world about the iPad? He told us that the goal was to place a device between the iPhone and MacBook. To the surprise of many, the iPad sales were not only outstanding, but actually hurt laptop sales. This resulted in several other companies rushing their tablets to the market.
“While this is true to a certain extent, it is important to remember that tablets were not designed to replace laptops.”
While I am a fan of tablets and do enjoy the instant on (just press the button to start using it instead of waiting for it to boot up) and touch screens, I have a hard time recommending one as a laptop replacement.
Consider for a moment that while tablets are great devices, they do come with limitations. They are not as powerful as laptops, they do not have the same business software, the file storage system is different and of course the now infamous lack of flash support on iOS devices. Not to mention they are a lot more expensive than laptops based on the hardware.
The other big concern I have specifically for Realtors is that many of the real estate websites and MLS site back ends are specifically designed for Windows based PCs running Internet Explorer and we have seen some odd glitches when trying to use different setups. Because of this, I always caution real estate agents looking to completely replace their laptop with a tablet.
So the obvious question becomes, “how do we know if a tablet can do everything we need it to?” For that I would suggest a simple trick. Try everything on your phone. An iPad is basically an iPhone with a bigger screen so if your iPhone is able to load and access all of the information you need, then an iPad should work. The same thing can be said of Android devices for the most part. The tablets are running a version of Android similar to the version on your phone.
Now, if you are planning on holding onto your laptop and adding a tablet into the mix to be able to check email and surf the Internet while on the go, then I am all for them.
“While they are currently not designed to be full laptop replacements, they are getting better as is the software available on them.”
Let’s now take a look at which tablets I would recommend based on a combination of reviews, feedback and hands on experience. Please note that this is just my opinion and other people may disagree.
In my opinion the tablets to consider are (in alphabetical order) the Asus EeePad, iPad 2, Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy. The ones to specifically stay away from are the BlackBerry Playbook and HP Touchpad or any built by a company that you are less familiar with. A quick Google search will be able to pull up lists of the 10 best and 10 worst tablets. While the BlackBerry and HP do show potential, the Internet suggests that major updates are required for both before they are on par with the others.
In conclusion I would say that in most cases tablets do serve as great mobile computing solutions. While they are currently not designed to be full laptop replacements, they are getting better as is the software available on them. I’m sure within the next couple of years we’ll see more tablets than we do laptops in both business and personal use. If you are looking to replace a laptop, make sure you find out if the tablet will do everything you need it to first. Otherwise if you’re looking to simply add one to your mix, I would say that they are pretty good devices and should make your life easier.
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