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January 10, 2013

Don’t Fall For Cheap Tablets

NoTablet

This week the world descended on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.  After seeing the tablets unveiled there, I felt compelled to write a commentary about tablets.  Over Christmas break, a lot of family members purchased cheap Android tablets for their family members and kids.  Well, low and behold I spent most of my Christmas trying to help and explain to people why they cannot install Angry Birds on their tablet.

Don’t get me wrong, when you see a tablet for $60, you get the itch.  But here is why you need to keep that credit card in your pockets.  The one thing that all theses cheap tablets lack is the ability to access the Google Play Store.  Most of these cheap tablets get their apps from some lesser known app stores which have a very limited selection of apps.  Simple apps and games such as Facebook, Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Twitter are difficult to find and install in 3rd party app stores.  So if you get a cheap no name tablet for your kid, expect to hear the words “why are there no games on here?”

One of the solutions to this problem is to install the Amazon App Store.  Amazon’s selections of apps are pretty decent.  However, the majority of you who buy cheap tablets have the goal of giving it to their kids.  There is a caveat.  You need an Amazon.com account and to have a credit card on file in order to get free apps.  Go figure.  Do you really trust your kids to a tablet with access to the world wide web and your credit card?  I think not.  I think one way around the credit card issue is to get a pre-paid credit card.  But you know something, the majority of people who buy cheap tablets do not have Amazon.com accounts, are unwilling to sign up for one, and does not want to go through the trouble of getting a pre-paid credit card.

Remember a tablet with no access to a reputable app store is like having an iPad with no access to iTunes.  The Google Play Store only support tablets that meet a quality and performance standard.  And for good reason.  Google does not want users to be pissed off at Google for inadequate hardware.  The first thing people will complain about when an app doesn’t install or force closes is the crappy app, even though the hardware may not be able to handle the app.

Honestly, as mentioned in my previous blog post, the Google Nexus 7 is the best tablet you can get for under $200 and have the full access to the Google Play Store.   Later this year you will see offerings from Samsung, Vizio, Acer, and Toshiba that will be affordable and have Google’s blessing for access to their Play Store.

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