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RainyDayGiftGuide 2011 : Tablets

Tablets and smartphones will be popular gifts for the 2011 Holiday season. In spite of the increasing variety of tablet and smartphone options, if you are looking to get or give one, the decision process is thankfully rather simple. With the introduction of Siri, the only phone which can actually claim the “smart” label is the iPhone 4S. Other phones may be pretty, but they are not smart. So the choice of smartphone is clear, get the Apple iPhone 4S. As for tablets, if the person you are buying for knows what they want, get them what they want. If they don’t know, then get them either an Apple iPad or Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Which to buy will depend on the answers to some simple questions.

It will be another five years before tablets will surpass laptops in power and capabilities, but tablets will surpass laptops in popularity way sooner. Most who buy a tablet now use them mainly to check emails, access the web, and for entertainment (games, movies, music, books). So to decide whether an iPad or a Fire is your choice, consider the following three factors:

  • Price: iPad $500, Fire: $200
  • Size: 10″ iPad – easier to read, 7″ Fire – easier to carry
  • Content: iPad – lots of books and apps, Fire – lots of books, some apps

Other tablets may have similar specs and features, but for now they will not be able to compete against the iPad and the Fire. The reason is that only tablets with a thriving ecosystem (app stores, content, etc…) that nurtures their growth will survive. Most hardware-only companies will not have the resources to build what Apple and Amazon have built from the ground up.

While the Boogie Board LCD tablet is not in any way similar to either the iPad or the Fire, we felt they deserved a brief mention in this Tablet Gift Guide. We reviewed this collection of Boogie Boards in the Summer.

Boogie Boards are great for quick notesdoodling, and other such activities. They are like an electronic version of the “magic slate” of yester year. Think of them as a nice alternative to paper pads and post-it notes. There are a few different boards, the only difference being the form factor. The smallest Boogie Board is the 8.5″ tablet. The next larger size is the 10″ board. There is even a version designed to fit in a 3-ring binder. Want to put it on the fridge or a door? No problem. Slide it into a mount and you are good to go!

We hope these recommendations will make your 2011 tablet gift-giving decisions a little easier. However you decide, just remember that tablets are still in the early stages of their evolution. The basic rule-of-thumb we use is to not buy more than we need and plan on upgrading only when absolutely necessary. Happy Holidays!!!

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