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Mobile Computing Cage Match

Busy business owners don't always have time to be technically savvy. Sure, you can pick things up pretty quickly, but when it comes down to the latest technology, you simply don't have the time to sit down and do the research. Walking down any electronics aisle you are likely to be bombarded by choices. Remember when it used to be simple? (Wait, it was never simple!) Let's classify some of the modern devices out there for mobility geared towards someone just like you.

Netbooks, Ultrabooks and Tablets Oh My!

If you want a portable device to take with you and get things done no matter where you are, you are in luck. The consumer electronics realm is flooded with great options to suite your need. The downfall? There are some bad eggs, and there are a ton of choices. Let's look at an old standard for our first contender.

The Laptop

These days, laptops, usually referred to as notebooks, don't carry the same commercial weight as some of the more modern devices. A notebook is a portable desktop, in a sense. Typically powerful, bulky, and not all that great on the battery life, this is the device you take from the office to your home, plug in, and keep tethered to the wall. They are pretty capable of replacing a desktop, and the more expensive ones are great for running more resource intensive applications like video editing and modern games. The pricing of notebook PCs vary greatly, from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand.


Netbooks are essentially small notebook PCs. What does it take to be classified as a netbook? A screen smaller than 11 inches. They are very portable, have decent battery life, but they aren't very powerful. In fact, netbooks have received plenty of criticism, although they certainly do have their place. A typical netbook is cheap, usually substantially below the $500 mark, and travels very well. Many manufacturers have stopped producing netbooks although it's likely it will be a while before they are completely extinct. Honestly, if you just want a cheap, reliable device that can do basic document editing and web surfing that isn't a hassle to lug around conferences and events, a netbook is the low-cost way to go.


Ultrabooks are the new thing (at least one of the new things). Ultrabooks are designed to be ultra-portable laptops. Think of them as a hybrid between notebooks and netbooks. Ultrabooks are actually defined by some standards put in place by Intel. They are typically less than an inch thick, weigh in less than 3.1 pounds, and have a good battery life of 5 to 8 hours. These razor-thin devices are fairly powerful and can load standard business apps quickly. Ultrabooks aren't quite desktop replacements but have significant power over a netbook without sacrificing portability and battery life. Think of the Ultrabook as a lightweight notebook.


The tablet market is still fairly young but we're seeing a lot of great devices hit the market these days. Of course, the standards have been set by Apple's iPad, although several manufacturers are producing great Android tablets. One word of warning; you really get what you pay for with a tablet. If it is comparably cheaper than the iPad, it's quality is likely to be similarly less. The true test of a tablet is the apps available for it. Currently this puts the iPad on top, with Android quickly catching up. Later on this year Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system will start rolling out on tablets too, so we're likely to see some pretty interesting things over the next year. Don't think of a tablet as a replacement for your laptop/netbook/ultrabook unless you are willing to cope with the fact that it doesn't run all of the same applications. You can surf the web and edit documents (and even get separate keyboard peripherals for easier typing), and there are plenty of solutions to make a tablet very productive.

Looking for a mobile solution and need a little advice to determine what would work best for your needs?  Contact Motor City Technology at (248) 737-7920 and we'd be happy to discuss your needs.

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Joshua Van Berkum is passionate about embracing the positive change that technology brings to small businesses. Having been in the "technology trenches" for years, as well as owning his own business for 15 years, Joshua is equipped with the patience and know-how that it takes to make technology decisions carefully and implement proper plans quickly. Still learning and always adapting, Joshua is continually striving to grow his customers' businesses through innovation, while ensuring his client's return on their technology investment.


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