Last night, a line of powerful thunderstorms went through north Georgia, bringing strong winds, torrential rain, and hail. To me (and a lot of other people) it also brought quite a few hours without electricity. But thanks to my smartphone and tablet I was barely inconvenienced.
Of course regular TV was out of the question, but I had plenty of other options. I missed the Bones season finale, so I headed over to Fox.com on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 I’m trying out. It was all I could wish for: the Android version of Flash Player 10.3 works beautifully, and the stereo speakers on the tablet were all I needed — though the audio was occasionally drowned out by especially violent claps of thunder.
I needed an Internet connection to do his, of course, which was provided by the hotspot app on the Android phone I’m using right now, the HTC EVO Shift 4G. I decided to leave WiMAX off, as I didn’t know how long I’d be without electricity, and 4G is hard on the battery.
After the Bones episode was over, I switched over to Facebook so I could see how my friends were weathering the storm. Even without WiMAX, I didn’t notice that page loads were slow.
After another half hour or so I started thinking about the battery life on the EVO Shift 4G. It was still above 50%, but I didn’t know whether I’d need the connection to be able to work the next day, and the hotspot app takes a lot of power. That’s when I switched over to the ebook I’m reading with the Kindle app on the tablet. That kept me occupied until I was ready for bed.
What’s the point of all this? I was in an situation that could have been really inconvienient, but thanks to having the right gear it wasn’t at all. It wasn’t much different if I’d been stuck in an airport, or a doctors waiting room. If you have the right smartphone/tablet you’re not going to be caught out.
Tablet vs. Laptop vs. Smartphone
I’m sure some of you are thinking “He could have done all that wit a laptop”. But I don’t think so. It’s true about the video — though watching TV without a keyboard in front is a better experience — and Facebook can be accessed with just about anything, but have you ever spent a couple of hours lying on the couch reading on a laptop? Years ago I read a book on a notebook computer, and it’s not experience I have any intention of ever repeating. Tablets and smartphones are so much lighter and more convenient to read on.
And there’s the issue of power. I spent close to two hours online and at least another two reading my ebook. At the end, my smartphone had about a half charge while the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was ready for many more hours of use. My laptop would have been about dead by that point, leaving me up the creek if I was still without power in the morning.
If I hadn’t had the tablet, I could have done all of this with my smartphone, of course. I know because I’ve done it before. But tablets are better suited for video, so I used the best option I had for what I was doing.
p.s. Apologies to Vicki Lawrence.