Practical Technology

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Five great Android tablets you can buy today instead of waiting for the iPad Mini

I like iPads. I own one and often use it. That said, I never cared for its size; Apple’s locked-in, proprietary software ecosystem; and lately Apple’s iOS updates have been including a lot of sloppy mistakes. So it is that more often than not I’ve been using a variety of 7″ Android-powered tablets instead of my iPad. And, you know what? Just because it seems almost certain there will soon be an iPad Mini, I don’t see any reason to be rushing out to buy one.

Why not? From the top: Price. Whatever Apple ends up charging for the Mini, it’s a safe bet it’s going to be more than the 7″ Android tablets. Apple’s never been anyone’s idea of an affordable brand.

Next, I really don’t appreciate Apple’s Big Brother approach to third-party software. For example, the reason you can’t watch most Website videos on an iPad is that Steve Jobs decided he didn’t want Adobe Flash on iDevices. I also really don’t like Apple’s patent lawsuit happy ways.

Last, and to the point, over the last few months, Android and its hardware vendors have finally gotten their tablet act together. In 2010, Android tablets weren’t competitive at all with the mark one iPad. In 2011, the Barnes & Nobles’ Nook Color, while still primarily an e-reader, became a reasonable Android tablet. In late 2011, the small, 7″ Android tablet took off with the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Then, as far as I’m concerned, the first Android tablet came along that was actually better than an iPad: the Nexus 7.

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