I've been lucky enough this afternoon to have hold of an iPad Mini, and a Nexus 7 next to each other. However, I've only had them for half an hour, so this comparison will be brief.
Both devices out of the box have a fairly simple method of getting them going. That is of cause as long as you have an Apple ID and a Google ID. Both connected to our school Wifi quickly and once proxy information (yes I am still waiting for a transparent version from my LEA) was complete, both devices were setup and working.
With only a limited amount of time with the devices, this quite review will only be able to cover hardware, and basic software functionality. I may revisit this topic later if I get another opportunity.
Firstly I looked over the whole package. The google Nexus is one of the better built android tablets on the market, but it doesn't compare to the iPad. The iPads aluminium construction and gorilla glass feels like a higher quality device in the hand. Weight wise the Nexus comes in at 340g and the iPad is only 308g despite it's bigger size.
The screens are very different. The Nexus 7 has a seven inch 16:10 screen (1280 x 800) running at 216 points per inch, where as the iPad has a 7.9 inch 4:3 screen (1024 x 768) running at 163 ppi. Some reviews have been disappointed with the iPads screen and suggest a new 'retina' model will be out sooner rather than later.
One of the most important aspects of those screens is the aspect ratio in my opinion. The nexus suffers from its ratio, because of the way android is designed. The home, back and task switcher buttons take up valuable screen space, particularly noticeable when the device is in landscape mode.
The glass on both devices seems as strong, and time will tell how they deal with scratches, but the iPad screen deals better with finger prints.
I opened up the browsers; in my view the single most important application. Side by side I asked both devices to load my website IrritableTech.Co.Uk. Chrome on the nexus automatically requested the mobile site. So after finding the option to 'Request Desktop site' and clearing all the caches, I reloaded my site on both devices.
The nexus was faster at rendering the page, but only by half a second or so. I decided to use the text on my website to decide for myself if the difference in ppi makes a huge difference.
I did think the text was slightly clearer on the nexus, however because of the width of the screen it was also smaller. I had to zoom in a little on both devices to comfortably read the text. On the iPad it was even quicker to press the 'Reader' button, and let the iPad remove everything but the text. A function I couldn't find immediately on the android.
The physical size difference makes the iPad more of a two thumb typing tablet, with the Nexus being more comfortable typing with just the one thumb. Two thumb typing might get easier with practice on the Android.
To further test the screen I opened a picture from my web site, saved it and opened the image in the respective gallery apps.
The image quality looked very similar, but once again, the Nexus' screen ratio meant the standard 4:3 image had black bars down each side when viewing.
I'd love to do further comparisons, but sadly for me my time with these devices is up.
Which is better for our school? I'm still stuck. The apple devices can be managed by us more easily, the number of quality apps is far greater, but the price tag is considerably more.
I think the most important piece of software on a tablet is the browser. There are some fantastic apps, but ultimately I think learning through a browser will outlive any other software. I've found that Chrome is just a little bit better than Safari, but not enough to win the competition outright.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you've played with these for longer than I have!
Box.net, Dropbox.Com, SugarSync.Com, are just three of the bigger names in online storage / backup that have persuaded me to sign up. But the market has been swamped by start up companies mainly using Amazon storage as their backbone. They all come with different offerings and people quite rightly sign up with the company (or companies) who best fit their needs.
I've blogged before about the use of these services within a UK based education establishment. That post probably needs updating, but please remember to check with your senior information risk officer before utilising them for any school data!
Today, Microsoft announced a change to it's skydrive service. There are new windows phone, and iOS apps to play with. Better intregration to office and windows. HTML5 support and an API so that thrid party applications can utilise the service. All good stuff.
It surprises me therefore that Microsoft has also announce it is to reduce the size of SkyDrive from 25GB's to just 7GB's. More space is available, but at a cost. This seems especially odd this week, as Google is expected to launch GoogleDrive.
However if you act quickly, you can reclaim your full 25GB's by logging into Skydrive, and clicking the banner.
It surprises me that Microsoft suggest people need less storage space, rather than more. My shared drive here at school has recently tipped over 80% of the space I allocated a couple of years ago. Something I'm going to have to deal with very soon.
I am quite excited about google drive, and although all the rumours suggest otherwise, I hope they will come to the market with a service which blows all the others out of the water. Let's say 50GB's with the apps to sync your pc, phone, mac, tablet. Dare I say 100GB's? I'm looking forward to finding out what google drive will offer my school on our Google Apps for Edu account too.
— IrritableTech (@IrritableTech) April 24, 2012
Google apps for education is a suite of hosted communication and collaboration tools designed and maintained by google and supplied to schools, universities and non profit organisations for free.
Yesterday, after registering a suitable domain name, I applied for a google apps for education account for the trust of nine schools for which I work. After numerous meetings with head teachers and trust board members, our google journey has started.
I believe putting these tools into the hands of our staff and pupils is a huge leap forward in our ICT provision. I hope that they realise the massive potential for teaching and learning. Students creating websites together, parents viewing school calendars, staff working on the same document at the same time. I can't wait.
Unfortunately, I never realised just how long it takes to get approved as an educational establishment in the eyes of Google. It seems from the email they have sent me, and replies on twitter that it is going to be at least another three weeks. So until they are able to confirm our educational status, we are limited to just 10 accounts. Not enough to give the 'beta testers' an account each. Oh, and the promise I made of no ads doesn't hold on a standard free account either.
Unfortunately, our adventure will just have to wait until Easter is over.