In Mobility, Product Reviews

The iPad was a game-changer. It served as the perfect medium between our smart phones and home & work computers. It’s not to say that it does anything exclusively, but it does seem to be the best mobile platform for particular tasks.

Tablet vs SmartPhone vs Workstation Chart

The tablet has a bigger screen than our cell phone does, which makes it more capable of delivering an authentic and feature-rich web experience; and being in a bigger box it affords us the comfort of packing more hardware which gives us raw power. It’s instant-on, so no annoying Windows 3-minute load time. We simply turn it on, stream our content, shop for that new item, and then, as suddenly as it begun, we put it back in our bag and go about our day.

Right now there’s only one snag: it costs about $500-$700. You can get a pretty capable laptop at that price if you can swallow waiting for the world to end by the time it powers up and lets you use it. So what’s an attorney to do?

Well, it depends on what you need the tablet for. Let’s take a look at who does what better:iPad2 vs Kindle Fire ChartThe iPad is clearly the better device offering more power, more storage, 10x as many apps, and it is a proven market leader. That said, it’s about 3 times the cost of a Kindle Fire.

Value is all in the eye of the beholder. Take a niche-buyer, Mr. Attorney.

Mr. Attorney wants a tablet for two or three reasons: first, to take notes at his Starbucks meetings and in court. He likes a tablet because when he opens up his laptop on the table it can impede his line of sight with whomever he is meeting with. A tablet lies flat, turns on instantly, and the battery lasts longer. While in court the tablet is preferred because it is smaller and more compact. That said, other than note taking, which both can do equally, he wants a tablet for shopping and web browsing. That’s it. He has no intent to type up documents (maybe some quick email replies) and none of his mission-critical workplace applications, except Worldox, has an Apple-only app – 95% of them are web-browser based apps that work on any device.

For Mr. Attorney, since notes, email, and web-browsing are the only things that are important to him, Apple’s 16GB-64GB hard drive space advantage over Kindle Fire’s 8GB doesn’t really matter, since all the little stuff is hosted offline by Amazon and since the rest of it is on his primary workstation. Since he doesn’t intend to put his pictures, videos, or documents on this device – he just needs to be able to have access to a better web browser than what’s offered on his mobile phone, and he needs this while on-the-go.

Additionally, Amazon is bragging about a unique “cloud-accelerated” web browser  called Amazon Silk that uses powerful machines to do all the loading while in the cloud and then it spits those results onto Mr. Attorney’s screen. It means he doesn’t need a powerful machine to get blazing fast results (since Silk isn’t out until 11/15/11, we won’t know how well it’ll perform just yet).

Finally, Mr. Attorney thinks the Kindle Fire is a better device for him because Apples 100k+ app store doesn’t intrigue him; a.) he’s suspicious of apps, b.) he uses them once and forgets about them, c.) he really only wants to hit the web-browser. So, of Apples two primary advantages, storage & apps, neither apply to him. For 1/3 the money, I think the Kindle Fire is right for Mr. Attorney.

Again, in full disclosure, the iPad is the better device: it has more internal storage, 10x as many apps available, and is proven in the marketplace. That said, for all the attorneys out there just looking for a more capable mobile-internet experience than what’s offered on their Blackberry, Droid, or iPhone, and not all the stuff in between, Kindle Fire might be a better value since it has a price tag of $199. So, the only question left is, what do you want to use your tablet for?

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