Mobile Computers & Internet Access

Smart Devices

WiFi free Internet Access
Cellular Broadband Internet Access

Notebooks/LaptopsNetbooks Smartbooks/TabletsSmartphonesSmart  Devices
    good desktop substitute
    good for video/ movie viewing*
     good for editing pictures, etc.
    good game playing*
     large screen 13"-18.4"
     large keyboard
     WiFi or cellular 3G3GS (optional)
     fast performance*
     more I/O ports*
     large storage*  
     CD/DVD R/W*    

           *more expensive units
      weight, size,  price
   low cost
   very portable, light weight, thin
    battery time: 2.5-9hrs
    good for web, email & book reading

   good for video/movies (HD & flash)
    Most have webcam
    WiFi or cellular 3G/3GS (optional)

   slow performance 
     multi-tasking limited/none*
     small screen
     small keyboard
     limited storage
     No CD/DVD built-in/none*
           *Windows 7 Starter Edition
   very portable, light weight, thin
    instant on
    battery time: 3-10hrs
    good for web, email & book reading

    WiFi or cellular (3G/3GS)

     small screen
      no keyboard**
      limited storage
      no CD/DVD**

     multi-tasking limited/none**

     no webcam (no VoIP & Skype)**
     no USB & SD card port**
     video limited (no HD/flash)**
        **Apple iPad not built-in
    maximum portability
    instant on
    Cell Phone
    Good cloud computing
    fits in pocket
    Downloadable apps

    Some WiFi & cellular (3G/3GS)

   price & data connectivity cost
   works only with one telcom
   very small screen
   touch screen or tiny keyboard
   limited storage
   cellular battery time limited
   maximum portability
   instant on
   fits in pocket
   long battery time
   good cloud computing
   data storage 8-250GB
   Downloadable apps

  WiFi only

   computing limited
    very small screen
    touch screen keyboard
    limited storage
Weight, typical:
     12" screen - under 3lbs
       18.4" screen  - 10lbs
Weight, typical:
       7" screen    under 2.0lbs
       8.9" screen   2.2lbs
       10.1" screen  2.5lbs
       11.6" screen  2.8lbs
       12" screen     3.5lbs
Weight, typical:
    iPad    1.5-1.6lbs
JooJoo   2.4lbs
Tabletkiosk  3.57lbs
Weight, typical::
  iPhone          4.8oz
  Moto Droid   6.0oz
  Blackberry    5.6o
Weight, typical:
   iPod Touch 4.1oz
   Zune HD      2.6oz
   Archos 5     10.1oz
Dimensions, typical:
 WDH (inches)
     1.7"x8.9"x1.4 "

Dimensions, typical (WDH):
  screen size/computer size     
      7"/     8.2" x 5.5"x 1.2:" 
      8.9"/  8.9" x 6.5"x 1.2"
      10.2"/ 10.2"x7-8" x 1.7"
      11.6"/ 10.7"x 8-9"x 1.7"
      12"/     12.6"x9.3"x 1.7"
Dimensions, typical (WDH):
   iPad             7.47"x"x9.56"x0.5"
   JooJoo         12.8"x7.8"x0.7"
   Tabletkiosk 11.81"x8.66"x1.02"

Dimensions (inches):
   iPhone         2.4x.4.8x4.5
   Moto Droid 2.4x.5 x4.6
   Blackberry  - varies

Dimensions HWD (inches):
   iPod Touch 4.3x2.4x0.33
   Zune HD      4.0x2.1x0.4
   Archos 5      5.6x3.1x0.8

Screen: Sizes  (inches diag)
 13 - 18.4
pixel resoution varied
Screen Sizes : (inches diag)
7, 8.9, 10.2, 11.6, 12 
 pixel resoltuion varied
Screen Sizes:(inches diag/pixels)
    iPad             9.7"/1024x768
    JooJoo        12.1"/1366x768
    Tabletkiosk 12.1"/1024x768
Screen Sizes: (inches diag/pixels)
  iPhone         3.5"/480x320
  Moto Droid 5.6"/480x854
  Blackberry    ?"  /480x360
Screen Sizes: (inches/pixels):
   iPod Touch 3.5"/480x320
   Zune HD     3.5"/480x272
   Archos 5     4.8"/640x480
Price: $185-$3,000Price: $150-$900Price: $400-$900Price: $200+ monthly fees typicalPrice:$200-$400

June 2009 NPD study found that 60% of netbook buyers never take their netbooks out of the house.
September 2009 NPD study indicated that, Netbooks accounted for 20% of all portable computer shipments.
Typical specifications:
    Screen sizes & Resolutions - 7" screen                          800x480 pixels
                                                     8.9"/10.1"/10.2" screen    1024x600 pixels
                                                    11.6"/12" screen               1366x786 pixels
    Processor: Intel Atom, or equivalent
    Memory: 512MB or 1GBytes, expandable to 2Gbytes typical (1GB RAM module typicially $90)
    Storage: HD - 160Gbyte  or SSD - 4,  8, or 16GB 
     Operating System: Over a dozen companies make netbooks using Windows, and over two dozen companies make netboooks using Linux
    Applications: Windows systems include IE, email client, games - Office suite optional
                           Linux systems also include Office suite and productivity apps
    Input devices:  Keyboard (10-25% smaller than laptop), Touchpad, Webcam (1.3mpixel typical)
    Connectivity: 2-3 USB ports, CD card reader, Bluetooth, audio input & output, VGA external display typical
    Networking - Ethernet & WiFi-Wireless
    Battery:  2 cell (2-3hrs) , 4 cell (3-5hrs), or 6 cell (6-8hrs) - ratings usually based on WiFi turned off
 Optional add-ons:

           Add RAM, improves performance- stick (1GB limit for Windows) $90 typical
           Add USB connected CD/DVD drive (not for Windows 7 Home Edition) $50 typical
           Add Storage - USB connected external HD
           Add 3G cellular modem - PCMCIA card or USB (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Cingular)

Tips on buying a Netbook
   Video - Netbooks versus Notebook/Laptops - Consumer Reports Comparison
  There are more an a dozen manufacturers of Windows Netbooks, and there are over two dozen manufactuers of Linux Netbooks
   Video -  Consumer Reports - Buying a Netbook
   Video - Features to look for in buying a Netbook - January 2010
   Video - Windows 7 Starter Edition differences - video
        Lastest netbook news
        PC Magazine - How to buy a netbook - updated Feb 3, 2010
        PC World magzine - May 2009
        Linux versus Windows 7 on a Netbook
        Kim Komando Netbook buying advice    April 2009

   Alternate Free OS's for use on Netbooks
      Jolicloud  - Linux-based - for systems with weak specs (storage, RAM, screen size)
                 Video - Joilcloud - overview    website
       Ubuntu Remix - optimized for netbooks - website preinstalled on some netbooks
       Easy Peasy - based on Ubuntu

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Smartbooks & Tablets
Over a dozen smartbooks/tablets are available, or announced to be available soon
Features - typical 
        Touchscreen (some tablets also include a keyboard and touchpad)
        Very thin - 0.5"-1.5" thick 
        Light weight - 1.5 - 3.5lbs  
        Good for web, email, book reading, music/video
        Some tablets  also good for general computer use (e.g.have Hard Disk)
    Apple iPad - WiFi units available by April 1 - 3G units available by May1
         Video - overview
         Review by Walt Mozberg (Wall Street Journal)
          Instant on - no wait for OS and applications to load
          Very thin (less than an inch) and light weight (1.5lbs)
           Smaller than most Netbooks and larger than most smartphones/smart devices
          9.56" screen - not widescreen (1024x768 resolution-not HD (576p/480i))
          Solid State storage 64GB - no hard disk
          Book reader application included
          Several Mac appplications included
          Can run most iPhone/iPod Touch applications (over 100,000 available)
          Wireless & 3G/3.5SG network (AT&T) option
                  3G option $14.99/mo (250B)/$29.99/mo (unlimited)
          Battery rating - 10 hours (WiF/3G access turned off)
          $499 (16GB WiFi)-$829+$30 monthly fee (64GB+3G)
              Accessories & Applications
          Videos & games, on the web, may not work, as most require flash (e.g Hulu)
          No multitasking
          No builti-in webcam (no VoIP & Skype)*
          No built-in USB & SD card ports (no import pictures & videos from cameras/camcorders)*
         Cannot directly output to printer*
               * optional accessory expected  to become available. 
         browser-based operating system - cloud computing
         Video - demonstration of prototype
            Instant on - no wait for OS (Google Chrome) to load
            Very thin (less than an inch) and light weight (2.4lbs) 
            12.1" screen - 1080p HD video(1366x768), Flash and Java compliant
            WiFi & bluetooth connectivity
            Solid State storage 4GB - no hard disk
           Includes USB port & webcam
           battery rating - 5 hours.
          Video - overview
         12.1" screen
         Wireless, bluetooth, 3G/3.5G network
         HD or SSD
         Uses Windows XP or Vista OS
         Use pen to select on screen
Touch screen + keyboard Tablets - most popular units
         Videos - HP and other units
         Buying a tablet PC - Kim Komando
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Smart Devices
   Ultra-portable - fits in pocket
   Wireless access
   Touch screen keyboard
   Good for Internet, play music, play video, run applications (email, browse web, etc.)
Most Popular
    Apple iPod Touch
         Video - 2nd generation review
         Apple Information - Apple iPod Touch
         $180/$270/$360  8GB/32GB/64GB
         Comparision of  iPod Touch with iPhone
     Microsoft Zune HD
          Video - overview
         Micrososft information - Microsoft Zune HD
          $170/$235    16GB/32GB
     PC Magazine comparison - Touch vs Zune
     Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet
         Uses Google Droid OS & Windows Media Player
         Includes FM radio
         4.8" screen  640x480pixels
        $380/$490  120/250GB
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Smartphones (most popular)
Over 50 different smartphones are currently available. Below are the 5 most popular smarphones (January 2010).
    Video - How to buy a cellphone - may can also access web, do email & run a few applications
    Video - Buying Smartphone
   Tips on buying a Smartphone
   Comparison chart
Apple iPhone 3G
    |Video - overview
     100,000 apps via Apple App Store
     3G (older) 8GB storage $99
     3GS 16GB storage $199 (3GS is faster than 3G)
     3GS 32GB storage $299    "     "    "         "     "
     only works via AT&T network (mediocre service in many areas)
     cannot run more than one app at a time
     can check contacts, search Google, and check email during a call.
     storage cannot be expanded.
     keyboard is on screen
      Comparision of  iPod Touch with iPhone
Motorola Droid
   Video - overview
   Video - review
can run multiple apps
16GB storage via microSD card.  Can be expanded.
Works only via Verizon (good service in most cities)
GPS included (mediocre service in many areas)
Slide out keyboard
Replaceable battery

Palm Pre
    Video - overview
Uses Palm OS
8GB storage
Works only via Sprint network (CU reports poor connectivity)
Slide out keyboard

Blackberry Storm 2
     Video - comparison to iPhone 3G
2GB storage built-in + 16GB microSD card.  Can be expanded
Keyboard on screen
Works only Verizon network

Motorola Cliq
       Video - overview
Uses Droid OS
Extra features for social networking
Slide out keyboard
2GB MicroSD storage included
Works only with T-Mobile network
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Notebooks/ Laptops
        Laptop Buying Guide - Consumer Reports
        How to buy a laptop/notebook - PC World Magazine - Dec 2009
       What you need to know when buying a Laptop
    Tips on buying a laptop computer - PC World magazine
    Laptop buying guide - CNET
    Buying a laptop on a budget - Kim komando
Screen - 12"-18.4" - typically faster and higher resolution than netbook
Keyboard - full size and typically same layout as desktop system
Hard Disk - 256GB - 2TB - typically faster than netbook
CPU - typically faster than netbook
RAM - typically much larger than netbook
Windows, Mac, & Linux based systems
Connectivity 3G modem - PCMCIA connects to cellular networks (verizon, sprint, Cingular)
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Cellular - 3G/3GS - Broadband Wireless Internet Access

Requires cellular plan and card or USB unit - depends on system requirements
Pay for amount of data you transfer
     Example - 5GB/month  (e.g. 1.7million text-only e-mail messages, or view approximately 17,00 web pages, or download 1,600 songs)
     Provider has tool to monitor data usage & display remaining data left for current billing period
Slower than wired broadband - 400-700Kbits/sec. 3G provides 600Kbps-1.4Mbps
Choosing a PCMCIA card and a a service (verizon, sprint, Cingular)
    AT&T - card $20 with 2-year contract - 10MB $20/month, 200MB $35/ month, 5GB plan $60/month  Hptspots free
    T-Mobile - laptop card free with 2-year contract -200MB $30/month, 5GB $50  Hotspots free
    Sprint - laptop card free with 2-year contract - 5GB plan $60/month  No hotspots
    Verizon - card free with 2-year contract - 250MB plan $40/month, 5GB plan $60/month  No hotspots
Tethering - connect netbook/notebook (via bluetooth or USB) to cellphone or smartphone, plans start at $15/mo. - example Verizon
WiMax -  Video - 4G wireless technology - higher speed Internet Access for metropolitan areas
- Connect & create a Mobile Hotspot - Verizon MiFiReview
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WiFi Free Internet Access

You can use the Internet free using a WiFi hotspot.  There are several ways to find one.
       WiFi  security issues and ways to protect yourself
       Video -
dangers of using free WiFi Access

Directories: These require a little forethought. They are on the Web, after all. You can plan out your connection needs before you leave the house.

Wi-Fi Free Spot: Directory categorizing hotspots by state, city, airports, hotels, RV parks, campgrounds and more. Some link to company Web sites.

JiWire: Directory of WiFi hotspots all over the world - both free (clearly marked) and for-pay  locations. .

Hotspotr: Maps hotspot locations in many major metropolitan areas - marked on a map. Free hotspots marked in green. You can add new locations.

LaptopFriendlyCafes: tried and tested cafes worldwide with free WiFi access.

Public Libraries: A directory of public libraries offering free connections.  You can also search for Wi-Fi-equipped libraries internationally.

On the road:  Applications to find a connection on the road - some easier than others.  IPhone users can save on battery power by using WiFi instead of cellular service.

JiWire Apps:  For iPhone - Two free apps to find free, and for-pay hotspots.  Uses iPhone’s GPS. .

NetStumbler: For Windows laptops. Detects nearby Wi-Fi. Includes hotspots, as well as business and home networks. Indicates if they are open or encrypted. Be careful to connect only to a hotspot for public use.

iStumbler: Like NetStumbler, for Macs. Again, make sure you’re connecting to a public hotspot.

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Web page created by
Sol Libes
February 2010