A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, connecting to the internet used to happen at home, in the office or in the library. Today it can happen anywhere there is a wi-fi spot or 3G signal, which means you can connect in the vast majority of Great Britain. With this revelation comes a mind-boggling choice of devices on which you can surf the oceans of cyberspace.
For a small investment in a pre-paid dongle, you can surf the internet for as little as £2 a day. All providers also offer free laptop deals when you sign an 18 or 24 month contract. Typically these are 15” laptops, which are cumbersome when on the move. Netbook deals offer machines of between 8 and 10 inches, making surfing while on trains, in airports and coffee shops easier. Their drawback is most come with starter versions of the windows operating system.
The downside of the dongle is patchy connections in remote areas, or certain parts of the rail network. Providers will testify that their coverage spans 98% of the U.K. The remaining 2% is larger than it sounds.
Smartphones are the electronic equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife. You can browse the mobile web, email, take pictures, shoot video, watch video, blog , plug into social media, get GPRS mapping, play games and download apps – all this while retaining the humble features of sending a text message and making a phone call.
The iPhone was a watershed moment in consumer technology. Its sexy shell encases stable software that set the bar for many consumers. Its nearest rivals are Blackberry and Android.
The outer reaches of cyperspace may be less accessible because Smartphones have less bandwidth than regular network connections, so what you can surf is sometimes limited.
It’s a tiny tablet computer. There’s no phone, therefore no 3G network, so you’re restricted to wi- fi spots. It’s great for light surfing, or social media use, but not for word processing, unless you write yourself an e-mail. The 4th generation device comes with a camera, making mobile blogging easier.
Apple’s iPad makes the most confident strides in the tablet arena. It’s thin and lightweight, and the 3G model allows internet access wherever there is a 3G signal (additional SIM required). The regular model is restricted to wi-fi spots. It’s less appealing if you need to work on a business document while riding a train. Also, it doesn’t allow multitasking or support Flash… But wait; there is iPad 2. Expected in the Spring, the new model will include front and rear cameras and a faster processor.
iPad’s only current and credible rival the Samsung Galaxy TAB. The party is really set to start this spring with the launch of the Motorola Xoom in April. The Blackberry Playbook is set for release during the summer, with other companies joining the competition later in the year.
When you’re looking at 3G options for iPad or other tablets, it’s all about data plans and pricing. The Micro SIM is available from Vodafone, 3 and O2 and Orange.