Saturday, March 26, 2011

Top 10 Tips For Visiting Angkor

Top 10 Tips For Visiting Angkor | The Expeditioner Online Travel Magazine, by Simon Mikolayczyk (that's me!)

Click through for the full article - let me know what you think...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Decision Time... iPad 2 or Android?

Shortly before the holidays last year, the urge to get an iPad was swelling up inside me. I was seeing them everywhere, and was starting to cave to the social pressure of the coolness factor. Just as I was getting ready to pull the trigger, I heard the first whispers that version two would be capable of video chat. For me, living away from friends and family, this was a key feature and one I was willing to wait for - especially as the new version was expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011.

Since then, a number of things have happened - Android tablets have started hitting the market, the iPad 2 was indeed announced, and people have offered some good insights into life with an iPad. Taking these in reverse order:

Dan Frommer shared what 300 days with his iPad have been like. My take away from this is really that the device will not replace a laptop, but that for certain things it is enjoyable to use. Browsing is convenient, checking email works alright, gaming is a plus, movies/tv watching on the go can be good. But this is not the hyper productive work computer of the future, it is a fun toy that might be more convenient in certain circumstances.

The iPad 2 was announced yesterday, and reviews are pouring in. From the sounds of it, people are quite excited about the case... and everything else is a marginal improvement. While they have in fact added the video chat feature, and Steve Jobs says this is computing for the post-PC era, it does not sound like Frommer's experience of usage scenarios will be altered by the new version.

The Motorola Xoom (wifi only) model is set to release here in the UK a week after the iPad 2, and is priced to match the pricing of a similarly speced iPad. It offers the same feature set and positive reviews, but as Robert Scoble points out with a much more limited selection of apps, which is possibly a strong negative. On this point I'm forced to think about how Frommer is using his iPad after a year - he certainly mentions a few apps (Netflix, MLB, Twitter, etc) but says his focus is on browsing and email. With the assumption that Android will be the number 2 platform, if not number 1, in the long term these major apps are likely to become available. In the short term, does it really matter if they are there considering a tablet is mainly used for non-app tasks?

In fact, it's worth going a step further. I am a "Google User," meaning I use gmail, docs, calendar, reader - unsurprisingly these are indicatively better on the Android tablet. Further, most of my friends are gmail users meaning they are on gchat - text, plus many on video - and therefor I'm more likely to be talking to them through that - which they already have installed - than I am to be through Apple's Facetime - which I would have to convince them to not only install, but buy.

With all that being said, I still have yet to hold either - perhaps there is some truly tangible reason to pick the iPad 2 (it weighs a bit less, and is built more solid?). However, by deduction based on how I envision using a tablet, the Xoom (or an equivalent Android tablet) seem to be the way to go.