Sumsung Galaxy 10.1, Android, iPad and Word Press Fail
How I learned a tablet is not a substitute for a pc
Every cyclist I know owns a cell phone that no doubt has an array of various apps installed that make them more useful and fun for that matter. My life changed when I installed Kindle on my T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant (SGH-T959). Tablets are becoming increasing popular as a mobile device and I recently picked up a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab. My experience with my phone is what made a tablet so appealing to me.
I’ve read more books on my phone in the last couple of years than I had in the previous decade. Reading a book from my cell phone is so convenient that I find myself doing it all the time. When I am not reading a book I’m glued to various news sources or blogs. I like to read.
I’ve used a Kindle device but it’s less appealing to me because it’s yet another device I have to carry and in spite of it’s portable size I already carry a cell phone that works fine for me, so why bother and yet another thing to keep up with? Then one weekend I played with a friend’s iPad for the first time and I knew I had to have one. Yeah it represents another thing I’d have to carry but this would be well worth the effort I thought.
Not only could I use the tablet to read books on Kindle, but news aggregates, RSS readers and such would be much easier to access, organize, read, I could surf the internet too, and do all this from a more full sized display. Extra bonus was I figured I could take the tablet with me on bike rides and pull over and edit my photos and blog from the great outdoors, or comfy coffee shop or bar. I had to have one.
After spending a couple of weeks researching the various tablet offerings I settled on the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet (WiFi) which runs the Android
operating system. Two primary reasons lead me to choosing the Android, First, I already use an Android cell phone, so there would be no new learning curve, and secondly I had upgraded my Samsung phone to FROYO 2.2 which allows you to use it as a mobile WiFi access point. In other words, anywhere I can get cell coverage I can get any tablet connected to the internet using my phone. T-Mobile, unlike most everyone else, doesn’t charge extra for this.
So I bought the Samsung 10.1 and was very happy with my purchase but I slowly began to realize all tablets have some real limitations, and the tablet “app war” between Apple and Android is just silly in many respects.
Let’s start with the app wars.
The iPad, which is considered the BMW of tablets, has somewhere in the neighborhood of 140,000 apps; Android has three dozen, ha ha just kidding, they have closer to 25,000. I’d wager 90% of both Apple and Android apps are useless or a complete fail and here’s why: a tablet is not a cell phone so creating apps that give you a tiny little cell phone view on a laptop sized display is silly and renders many apps useless.
Many apps do not distinguish between a phone and a tablet, so in those cases you have an app that is inferior to a browser experience. One example is the New York Times app for Android, it’s simply useless but why in the world does a tablet owner need an app when they can surf the entire New York Times website with their Android (or iPad) browser? NPR and FOX are examples where a browser is far superior to their simply weird (NPR) or buggy (FOX News) apps.
This is true with many apps I have looked at. They might be nice for a cell phone but pointless (and terribly frustrating) on a tablet. One exception is the CNN app which is remarkable and a must have if you like CNN.
Facebook is another example of an app that’s useless, or at least terribly frustrating, on a tablet. Nice for a phone, I suppose, but completely inferior to a browser on a tablet, so why use it?
I’ve experimented with a few apps on an iPad and my experience was the same. Why use a web site app when you can surf the entire site with your browser? I mean if this isn’t a “duh” moment I don’t know what is.
And it’s true that iPad has more apps but bragging about who has the bigger, uh, apps collection is pointless when you factor in that in most cases a browser provides a superior experience over an app designed for a cell phone, and most apps that I have experienced are indeed designed for a phone and not a tablet. WordPress is a perfect example of an app that is no where near ready for prime-time, on Android or on an iPad. Hell it’s not very useful on a phone for that matter.
Android and iPad fail WordPress
As I mentioned I was really looking forward to blogging while I’m running around town. Sadly I learned the WordPress app for Android is so limited I can’t use it at all. The iPad app for WordPress is no better unless you like coding everything in HTML, and trying to use the WordPress admin panel within an Android or iPad browser is a triumphant fail – you cannot click many of the buttons you can otherwise see such as insert photo and you can give up on using radio buttons. This makes Word Press (app or via a browser) utterly useless to me on either platform. Bummer, but not everyone is a blogger, so my disappointment in this area is not going to affect the typical tablet owner.
A tablet is not a laptop killer
In spite of my WordPress frustration, there are many things I really like about the Samsung including the camera, portability, the docking keyboard I added later, the native photo editing software, etc. It’s very cool. Yet what I have learned is a tablet (Android or iPad) is not a substitute for laptop. In spite of the near laptop appearance and full sized display, the fact that you can surf the internet does not mean you can interact with the internet as you would with a pc or laptop. Hopefully that will change sooner than later because tablets are convenient and fun devices.
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