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An i-P-a-d and an Android tablet walk into a pub… (#uoltech #edtech)

August 1, 2011

First of all, apologies for the weird spelling. I just don’t want to get spammed (again) by bots with You-Know-Who related offers 🙂 (that’s even funnier, as I made the mistake of watching Harry Potter recently; fab effects, but it seemed there was no budget left for dialogue… shame…)

So: I had an iPad2 on loan over the week-end. I must say I was getting nervous, so I kept my Android tablet handy just in case I had to counteract an Avada Kedavra move from the iPad (don’t worry, I’ve got better things to do than remember all the HP spells, but Wikipedia doesn’t ;))

I work in education and therefore I didn’t do any taking apart of the hardware to check out where things were. As far as I’m concerned, they all come from the same factory where people don’t make much a day, so that’s not a good start anyway…

Over two days, I have grown to like quite a few apps on the iPad.

  • iTunesU is just mind-blowing. How can rubbish TV continue to get millions of viewers when you can easily find inspirational (and occasionally funny) speakers on iTunesU is beyond me…
  • Popple is a great mind-mapping tool. It isn’t brill in terms of sharing your work (PDF and image by e-mail is pretty much all it seemed to handle, but it was extremely good fun to use).
  • Flipboard is the most beautiful RSS reader I’ve ever seen… I’ve got to say that! The fact that you can stick in a Google Reader account and presto you get your own magazine-style issue with the latest from the people you follow (similar to what paper.li is doing online) is just brill!
  • The Guardian Eyewitness app is both thought-provoking (some very powerful images you can start your lessons with), but it’s also an educational tool (it actually tells you what the settings on the camera had to be, how much time in advance the photographer had to set up, etc.)

I’m pretty sure you’ll find tons of other very cool apps in there (and I have, too, but don’t want this post to be excessively long), but was I ever regretting going for an Android tablet?

  • Yes when it came to missing out on iTunesU (but I guess I could go round the issues by watching the podcasts through an RSS or on my laptop, and there is also hope out there and work-arounds).
  • No, when it came to everything else. Fair enough, everything is pretty and slick on the iPad, but the Android is not so far behind.

First of all, my Android tablet doesn’t fall over when it comes to displaying Flash websites. That’s very important, especially when looking at Open Educational Resources created a while back. Moreover, not being able to quickly check out a Prezi show embedded in a webpage is just silly… I know there’s an app for that, but there’s also a limit to how modular my world is (and it may not be as Apple think…)

So what do I do currently with my Android? I read a lot more, try and keep up to date with the world and my social networks, and I play word games.

  • Pulse is a neat RSS reader. Not as flashy (LOL!) as Flipboard, but very good indeed.
  • the Polaris Office suite that comes free with my ASUS Transformer does the job of editing word files, presentations and spreadsheets very elegantly (ok, some tables are displayed in a bit of a wonky manner, but it’s nothing to cry about)
  • Hootsuite is not as pretty as on the iPad, but does the job of managing my Twitter activity well.
  • the Kindle app is brill! I was a bit low at just having Aesop’s fables to read (although they are superb, I must say), and then I just tried my luck on Amazon to see whether there are any free Kindle books. Guess what! There are tons (and my newly-acquired Don Quixote has just reached the inn at the end of his first day on the road…)
End of the joke (if you can extend your generosity to call it that…)
So: the iPad and the Android tablet walk into a bar/pub :). How do they get a beer? Well, the iPad needs to go to a particular spot (the Dragon Dictation app), ask for the beer, then e-mail the request to the bartender because that app isn’t allowed to talk to many other apps (I know, you are in a way centre stage, but it still feels like you’re in the naughty corner… until uncle Steve lets you out…). All this done, though, it will probably get the most beautifully-designed glass you could ever make if you could be bothered to spend the time.
What about the Android? Well, it will ask for a beer straight away from anywhere in the room (the Google voice recognition engine is built into the Android keyboard – how about that?) and the bartender will hear a request. Now it may not hear the right request, so the Android may end up with a deer, a meer..kat and a … something else, but it will get a beer pretty much at the same time as the iPad. What’s more, it will also have some new friends to talk to (the deer, meerkat and other thing) – but it may find they have little in common (but that’s another story) 😉
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