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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tablets The Ultimate Travel Companion

The iPad and other tablet computers are essential accessories for photographers on the go

Labels: ComputersGear

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Tablet computers have taken the world by storm, and with good reason. With one small handheld device, you have the basic features of a computer, but in a far more portable package than even a laptop can provide, also featuring a futuristic design, exceedingly easy-to-use interfaces, fast startup and wireless capabilities on par with cell phones. With one convenient device, you can enjoy games, movies, music, television, literature and more.

For photographers, the ability to carry a portable portfolio is an added bonus, but the real advantages of tablet computers are the workflow possibilities. When using a tablet, it's simple to email images, select your best shots, upload them to online galleries or websites, create password-protected accounts for clients and friends, and so much more. Between the bright displays, lightweight designs and extensive range of inexpensive applications, tablets allow photographers to do a lot while carrying very little.

Just in time for summer, the tablet wars are about to heat up. Apple and the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch iOS operating system is unarguably the king of tablet computing with more than 80% of the current market share of tablet computers, but even Amazon is rumored to be moving into the tablet game later this year with a possible replacement for the Kindle, and there are likely to be many more tablet computers on the table soon.

Released only a little over a year ago, Apple's iPad (with a 9.7-inch, 1024x768-pixel display) started the tablet revolution, and its sequel, iPad 2, was announced only a year later, adding a dual-core Apple A5 processor and twice the RAM for faster operation. Other enhancements include a 33% reduction in size, as well as front (VGA) and back (720p) cameras (the original iPad had none) that are FaceTime-enabled for chatting with other FaceTime users through the video-calling service.
For those who want an alternative to Apple's iOS, there are a handful of other tablets currently available. Most run on the Android operating system pioneered by Google. If you choose to run with Android, it would be best to select a tablet running the latest 3.0 version, named Honeycomb, which is optimized for tablet computing rather than the mobile operating systems that older versions of Android were translated from.

iPad 2 includes a couple of fun photo apps right out of the box. Photo Booth lets users play with snapshots taken by the iPad, and the Photos app keeps images organized with GPS information and integration with iPhoto, Apple's basic image browsing and editing software. As of right now, iPad 2 supports RAW as a storage device, but it's unable to display these types of files within the native iPad Photos app, though there are apps available from the iTunes App Store for working with RAW files on iPads and iPhones. Capacity is available in 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB. List Price: Begins at $499.

Most tablets range between 7 and 10 inches in size. While 10 inches is obviously better for enjoying bigger images and multimedia, 7-inch tablets are much easier to carry with you. Built to be compact, the 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook weighs less than a pound, but packs in a 1024x600-pixel screen. Dual-core 1 GHz processing with 1 GB of RAM means that it's built for speed, as well. The BlackBerry Tablet OS operating system allows application multitasking, and the tablet has a 3-megapixel forward- and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, both of which are capable of 1080p video capture. It's available in three capacities: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. List Price: Begins at $499.


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