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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Acer Tablet ... can someone explain a few things? (Details follow)

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11213 points ) May 20th, 2011

My brother went on and on about his Acer Iconia A500 (I had to look it up) and told me that I needed to get one. I probably sound like I’m Paleolithic or Wilma Flintstone but what is Android and how exactly would a tablet be of benefit over a laptop?

Is it the apps that are attractive? And how does this work against phone apps? Do we just have to many different options in techno- stuff that are duplicating the same things? Can you transfer the stuff you work on from your regular computer to a tablet for portability? Or is it mostly for emails/apps and basic surfing? Is it just a giant phone screen?

I finally got a new laptop (for those of you that followed the saga) and ended up with an Asus. It’s fabulous. But it has mega-memory and is heavy. Does it work like a laptop? What doesn’t it have that a laptop does? (Maybe that’s a better question.)

And if Android is connected to Google, does that mean that this tablet will be able to watch you from its secret built-in eye and track how much water you use and flourescent mercury bulbs you are not using and who you dated in 1984 with that “Flock of Seagulls” hair bob? just a thought :)

<0> big eye

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6 Answers

Luiveton's avatar

Android is a new operating system designed by google for phones. Just like the ‘Blackberry’ uses OS as an operating system, and Nokia uses Symbian (OS).

Personally, the tablet as an overall would not benefit over a laptop seeing that a laptop is honestly more efficient that a tablet. There are certain things that are not easy to complete on a tablet such as typing up documents etc.
The tablet is mainly for leisure not serious work, so if you’re going to get tablet, you need to have a laptop.
But congratulations anyways. :)
I’m guessing you already did that but I had to stress over it.
Source? Me.

jerv's avatar

As @Luiveton says, Android is an operating system that is not unlike the one on the iPhone (iOS), and actually operates quite similarly.

Tablets have a few advantages over laptops. For one, they consume far less power; little enough to actually be left on standby for instant activation for days or be constantly used for 6–10 hours. Many laptops take at least 30 seconds to “wake up” from standby, and many get less than four hours of battery life. Tablets tend to be more portable as well. My laptop is considered a “thin and light” at about an inch thick and just a hair under four pounds. Tablets are considerably thinner, a bit smaller, and weigh a pound or less.

They also have a few disadvantages, most notably processing power and storage. While I can run AutoCAD on my Droid X (basically a 4.3” Android tablet that also makes phone calls), it doesn’t run nearly as well as it does on my 13” laptop, and while 24GB is enough to hold a fair amount of stuff, 320GB is enough that I don’t have to keep a close eye on my storage. RAM (and thus, the ability to run better apps and more of them at the same time) is another. Many tablets have 512MB to 1GB of RAM, whereas many computers have at least 2GB. Sure, Windows is bigger than Android, but I have never run out of RAM on my laptop (3GB) or Desktop (6GB) while my Droid X (512MB, or 0.5GB) often runs low enough to behave sluggishly if I go too crazy.

Tablets are great for casual stuff like web surfing, watching videos, playing games (and there are a lot of games for Android and iOS), reading (though less true for iPads than for Android tablets for reasons I won’t get into here) and many of the things that most people use their computer for. I mean seriously, do you run CAD/CAM programs on a regular basis? How about working with large spreadsheets?
While I can do those things on my Droid X (4.3” touchscreen and a 1GHz ARM A7), it would be easier on a tablet with a larger screen, better with my laptop (13” screen, a 1.3 GHz Intel SU4100, a trackpad and mini keyboard), and be just ridiculously fast and easy on my desktop (31” screen, an i3–530, a mouse, and a full-size keyboard) so you can guess which one I use for my serious work. Then again, which one would I take with me on the road? Wellll…. there are times when I feel the laptop is overkill for what I plan to do and wish I had something one-quarter the weight. Then again, there are times when no tablet could do what I need, at least not well enough or fast enough to be preferable to a laptop. Try converting a FLV file to MPEG, or read an AutoCAD drawing file and see which system does it faster.

What do tablets lack that Laptops have? Surprisingly little. I mean, they don’t have regular keyboards, but the onscreen ones aren’t terrible and Swype™ is a kickass way to enter text, and touchscreens offer things that a mouse can’t. I can edit photos, videos, and songs on my Droid X if I need to, and a tablet is better at reading PDF files (one of the reasons I even have a laptop in the first place). As I said, some things are better on a real computer, but that doesn’t mean that tablets can’t do those things. For what I do often, I have yet to find something I can do on my laptop that is actually impossible under Android.

janbb's avatar

I have an iPad 2 and it is a phone, very portable reader and add-on to my arsenal but it would not supplant a laptop or desktop for serious work.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

As usual….....the Jellies have answers!!! Huzzah!!!!

@Luiveton…No need to stress out…lol! Thanks for answering. I do have a laptop and I love it.
@jerv…What can I say? You always, always come through with the info on all the techy stuff I can’t make heads or tails out of….thanks so much!
@janbb…That’s what I thought, too. For now, I have my hands full.

I think I will have to play around with his tablet to simply see how it works…etc. I’m okay with my laptop for now….I was gearing up for getting an IPhone…as my next tech toy to get befuddled over…but that is still months away.

Thanks again….lurve coming to you all….!

jerv's avatar

@janbb I am eyeballing a Nook Color to supplement my laptop as it is basically a 7” Android tablet, but it sure as Hell isn’t replacing my Toshiba laptop.

HungryGuy's avatar

A tablet is a laptop with a touch screen display and without a keyboard or mouse. I.e. instead of typing on a keyboard or mouse, you tap icons on the screen and move your finger across the screen to do the same things you would with a keyboard and mouse on a PC or laptop.

Android is just another operating system (like Windows, Mac/OS, or Linux), but optimized for touch screen input rather than mice or keyboard input.

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