PC Made EZ Mike Smothers

It is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that is true, there must be a global love affair with Apple products of epic proportions. My longtime readers know I have mixed feelings about the sensibility of paying the higher prices charged for anything that begins with an i, but I also feel the “i” products have changed the way we work and play. Just a few years ago, we had one computer for the whole house and that was loaded with the latest and greatest software that would allow us to use email, surf the Internet at a blazing 56K/second speed and possible create a birthday card for Aunt Gladys. These days everyone walks around with a personal computer in their hand that also takes phone calls.

I still believe the home-based PC plays an important role in our technologically advanced world, but if you are considering replacing an outdated laptop or need more portability, you may consider an iPad or one of the impersonators. Since Apple released the original iPad, every other computer manufacturer has been racing to catch up and get their share of the pie and for good reason. The iPad and/or similar devices allow you to connect to your email, Internet and social networks almost anywhere you can get a cell phone signal and they are much lighter and less bulky than a laptop. They also seem to need less charging so you have more time not being tethered to the power cord.

For the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on the Samsung Galaxy and the iPad as the best students in the class, so to speak, although many people may prefer the Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, Blackberry Playbook or any of the other imitators.

Samsung has long been a technology company who is not one of the innovators of the industry but rather they prefer to take what the competition introduces and improve upon it, then release their updated and modified version to raving reviews along with a slightly higher price tag than their competition. They can command this higher price because their product is better than that of the manufacturers who raced to market with a clone of an Apple product. Given Samsung’s track record of performance and good customer service, the added few dollars seems to be worth it. The question is, “Are they better than Apple iPad?”

I recently read a book called, “All About Steve,” which is a compilation of stories about Steve Jobs from the people who knew him best and while I do not approve of the way he treated his family, employees and friends, he was a true innovator. He spent a lot of time and resources developing not only unique, niche filling products, he also focused on support vehicles that were designed for the comfort and ease of the consumer. He knew that people would not instinctively know how to program their iPhone or put email on their iPad so he bought a huge warehouse and built a number of full-sized prototypes of what became the Apple Store. Anyone who puts that much time and money into making certain consumers are able to use and enjoy their devices rates pretty highly in my book.

If I were in the market for an iPad type device, I would definitely give Samsung the first look and then visit the Apple Store and compare features and prices. Having said that, I will not be one of those crazed MacHeads camping out for three days just to get the new i-whatever. Nothing is worth that, trust me.


• Resident Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services, based in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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