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And so, with a tear in my eye I begin Part 4, of this literary masterpiece entitled “Tablet Computer / eReader Comparison” Electric Boogaloo: Rise of the Fallen. During this series, we’ve shared a few tender moments, some laughs, tears, and a couple of uncomfortable weeks as slave rowers on a Viking ship. But that’s all behind us now, and we press ever onward to the conclusion of this epic journey. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2 and 3; you really should. It’s an epic story of woe, with more woe, and woe with a cherry on top. BTW, if you’re looking for links to the rest of the series; you’ll find them at the end of this article. Now, on to apps.

EReader Apps

By, and large, apps are not much of a consideration when purchasing an eReader. This is due to the fact that so few eReaders are equipped to accomodate them. The Kindle Fire allows apps, but remember, it’s classified as a tablet. The Barnes & Noble Color Nook also allows apps, but it also can be considered a tablet, given its title “The Reader’s Tablet™”.

The only app-friendly eReader we could locate is the Kobo 7″ Vox Touchscreen Colour eBook Reader (with Wi-Fi). Based on the Android 2.3 operating system (OS), the Kobo Colour does far more than typical eReaders. With it, you can watch movies / TV shows, surf the web, check & answer email; even access your Twitter account. Dubbed as “the first social eReader”, it’s the first eReading platform to be integrated with Facebook Ticker and Timeline. Because its Android based, it naturally allows integration of Android apps. Is there anything this eReader can’t do? We’ve checked. It’s not dishwasher safe, and can’t make a Daiquiri to save its life; totally forgot the cocktail umbrella. On the bright side, there’s an app for that.

The Kobo 7″ Vox Touchscreen Colour eBook Reader comes with Facebook, and Kobo home screen widgets, allowing you quick access to your accounts. Word has it that you can even download reading material, and use it as a reading device. Nice.

To give you an idea of just how fast the industry is moving, in the time I’ve written the above paragraph, we’ve since learned of still another eReader hybrid called the Pandigital Novel eReader. You can learn more about this device in our article entitled “Tablet PC and eReader Hybrid Wars Are On”. In this same article, we also announced that on November 7th, 2011, Barnes & Noble will likely unveil the Nook Color 2. Exciting times.

Tablet Apps

If, and when deciding on a tablet computer, apps can prove to be a significant determining factor when deciding on which brand to choose. Virtually all tablet computers accommodate apps. That being said, Windows 7-based tablets cannot abide apps. However, Windows 8 will soon change all of that. Scheduled for release in 2012, Windows 8 will be a touchscreen-friendly OS. According to Wikipedia:

[blockquote]Its user interface has been changed to make it better suited for touchscreen input…[/blockquote]

See: Windows 8 on Wikipedia to learn more.

Among its many improvements, Windows 8 will be far better suited for use with tablet computers. Accordingly it will allow for the development, introduction, and use of countless apps. In the mean time, Windows 7-based tablets cannot, and will not accommodate apps.

Your selection of apps will be determined by your tablet’s operating system. Apps are designed specifically to accommodate their operating systems. While it is possible to purchase the “same” game for different operating systems, apps will only work with their designated operating systems. For example, Angry Birds for Android will not work on an iPad. Accordingly, Angry Birds purchased from iTunes, will not work on an Android tablet, same game, different operating systems.

If you absolutely require a specific app, it’s vital that you find out which operating systems can support said app. You should make your tablet purchase accordingly. Below is a list of most of the significant operating systems available. They are as follows:

[bulleted]
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS (coming soon)
  • Android Honeycomb Mobile OS
  • Android Gingerbread OS
  • Apple iOS
  • HP webOS 3.0 (currently in limbo)
  • BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition OS
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Tablet OS (coming soon)
[/bulleted]

eReader Input & Output Ports

So, with apps behind us we move on to the topic of Input / Output Ports.

Whether you purchase an eReader or a tablet, in all likeliness, you’ll eventually want to hook up various accessories directly to your device. Accessories could include any number of wired or Bluetooth enabled accouterments such as headsets, headphones, microphones, speakers, etc. Naturally, if your device doesn’t have input / output ports, you won’t be able to hook up your wired accessories. Again, it’s very important to consider how you plan to use a device, before making a purchase.

If you own a set of wired headsets, and would like to use them with your new eReader/tablet, be sure to note the size of the male jack, and whether your choice of mobile device can accommodate it. Another feature worth considering is the availability of Universal Serial Bus (USB) Ports. USB ports serve as a common connection method for electronics. They allow for the connection a various peripherals, many of which are listed below:

[bulleted]
  • Memory Sticks
  • Storage Devices
  • Network Connections
  • Keyboards
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Digital Cameras
  • Webcams
  • Mice
  • Speakers
  • Joysticks
  • Modems
  • Telephones
  • Video Phones
[/bulleted]

While it’s unlikely that you’ll be hooking up some of these devices to your tablet/eReader, this should give you a good idea of the sheer variety of accessories that can be hooked up to your device.

eReaders & HDMI Ports

Lastly we come to HDMI ports. According to Wikipedia:

[blockquote]HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data.[/blockquote]

When it comes to tablet computers, and eReaders, an HDMI port allows you to connect to properly equipped televisions in order to display your high-definition video games, home movies, TV shows, 3D movies, etc.

So, that’s a wrap for this series of articles. We hope they’ve proven to be both informative, and insightful. If there’s anything we’ve missed, or something you’d like to comment on, please feel free to do so.

See Also:

Tablet PC and eReader Comparison Part 1
Tablet PC and eReader Comparison Part 2
Tablet PC and eReader Comparison Part 3

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