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Mobile Devices Face-Off: Smartphone vs. Tablet

Which mobile technology might be right for your small business?

Being available anytime, anywhere can be a boost for any small-business owner or executive. However, deciding on which device to take along can be a challenge.

Do you go for the smartphone, with its smaller size and calling capability, or opt for the fuller-featured tablet? Both are strong contenders. When making the choice, here are some factors to consider.

Smartphones

There are plenty of smartphones on the market, with a wide array of operating systems, such as the Windows Phone, Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry and Google’s Android.

Strengths

•    You can make phone calls and use other calling features like speakerphone.

•    Text messaging is a breeze.

•    Smaller size makes the device easier to slip in a pocket or a bag.

•    Increasingly sophisticated hardware is giving smartphones more power and speed.

•    You can take advantage of basic computing functions like email and Web browsing.

•    It’s easy to take photos and videos and then share them across social-media accounts.

•    The price is usually lower than that of a tablet computer.

Drawbacks

•    Web surfing can be a pain on such a small screen, especially if you need information quickly.

•    There’s less processing speed than with tablets.

Tablets

Unlike laptops, mobile tablet computers are often operated through a touchscreen interface. Examples include the Apple iPad, Windows Surface, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Sony Tablet and Google Nexus 7.

Strengths

•    The larger size makes Web browsing far easier than with a smartphone.

•    The wider keyboard makes for easier typing.

•    Documents or book pages appear in their full form, enhancing the reading experience.

•    Presentations can be launched right from the device.

•    You can take advantage of video-call capability via services like Skype.

•    You get higher resolution for movies or streaming media.

•    You get more processing power and faster performance than with most smartphones.

Drawbacks

•    The larger size means you can’t put it in your pocket as easily as a smartphone.

•    Those who want a full keyboard might be frustrated by the tablet’s limitations.

•    Often, a tablet is more expensive than buying a smartphone.

•    Because you’ll always need a phone, including a tablet in the mix means carting around multiple devices.

Combo

Of course, you can always opt to carry both a smartphone and a tablet to eliminate the downsides of each type of device. Although this might require more toggling between the two, the dual-type strategy will keep you connected more effectively.

If you’re going with this idea, just be sure to synchronize the two devices often, if not automatically. Make sure that calendars, contacts and other vital information match up; this will keep you from searching for numbers or missing appointments.

The smartphone vs. tablet decision is never an easy one. Once you decide, however, you get to do the fun stuff: purchasing a new device and loading it with apps.

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