How do you introduce someone who's watched the new world of tablets, launched with the first iPad, go by very rapidly and evolve into many stronger models three years later - and who does not believe in them? Very gently...!
Despite the prevalence of iPads and other tablets at conferences, on the TV news, and even around Nairobi, I still have not met anyone, other than @Wanyama, who uses a tablet productively as their main business device.
I recently got a generous offer to review the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (Model GT-N5100) from Samsung Kenya after the recent 2013 Kenyan Blog Awards in which Samsung was a sponsor.
The first order of business was to get a SIM card, and that was at Safaricom who also cut the card down to micro-SIM size with a special stapler. It's also very easy to switch the Note from Safaricom, to a Wi-Fi when you find a signal, and save on some money. I also bought a Micro SD card, but when it came to getting a hard shell/case for the Note that took a bit longer. I went to several shops, who all had a variety of 7" and 10" cases, and this is a new size in the market at 8" (the Note is aimed at Apple's new iPad mini), but eventually I found one at Fone Express.
|Need to invest in larger Suit Jacket pockets|
Another challenge was portability of the Note. It does not seem to fit in many jacket pockets, but larger pockets are something one should request from a tailor when ordering a suit in the future!
Tablet's are about apps, and there is a Google Play Store and a separate Samsung Store that I've not really tried. In the first month, from the Google one, I downloaded several apps I was familiar with such as:
- Evernote (great when you take notes on different devices like laptop's or mobile phone and sync) and Adobe Reader
- Waze, Ma3Route and Ushahidi for Nairobi traffic updates
- Skype for communications
- The New York Times, Bloomberg, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal for news
- DSTV to see programming highlights
- Tried out several simple farming applications to track farm inputs and sales.
Road Bump: Swype is a nifty program that makes typing faster in touch screen devices. It costs $0.99 and I was able to buy it from the Google store (which also prices paid apps in Kenya Shillings) after I added my credit card details. However when I uploaded Swype, I found that I could not access the tablet as there was no keyboard to Swype/type in my access password on the top screen.
I spent a few days going back and forth with the Swype (online) and then Samsung (in Nairobi) teams without success and I had no choice but to go for the most radical option - which was to wipe out the tablet. This seems to be a common issue in the tablet world in which people are constantly adding and deleting apps, some of which don't work properly, or compromise all devices.
There were quite a few guides online and videos on YouTube showing the simple commands to reset it to factory mode - and fortunately it worked! Within a few minutes, the tablet was back to life, and once I got online, the previously downloaded apps were ready to re-install including Swype, which I've re-added, without incurring an additional charge.
So far the Note is growing on me. It's nice and easy to use for taking notes at meetings, where I previously used to carry around a laptop. With a hard case, and larger jackets, let's see where how far this can go.