Contemplating Tablets for Real Estate
READ MORE Discover 10 of the most useful mobile apps for eal estate practitioners (REALTOR® Magazine, July/August 2012). RealtorMag.REALTOR.org/
Just a couple of years ago, any conversation around
tablet computers began and ended with the iPad.
Apple’s first iteration of the device, which debuted
in 2010, quickly became the most popular solution
in that space due to a combination of a well-designed
interface, a bundle of compelling features in a portable package, and a galaxy of apps.
Today, Apple remains a leading player in the tablet sector, but the field is getting crowded. Tablets
powered by Google’s Android operating system are
gaining market share, and Microsoft launched its
Surface RT and Pro devices late last year.
With tablet options expanding, how can you
decide which is best for you? Both the iPad and
the Google Nexus will work for most
real estate professionals, says
Chad Curry, managing director of the N;;;;;;; A;;;;;;-
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R;;;;;;® Technology. Both
have an impressive number of
apps—in the hundreds of thousands and growing rapidly—
many with functionality that
allow you to do all kinds of work
on your tablet. The Surface products from Microsoft do have some
positive qualities, such
as a nice display and the
ability to use the O;ce
suite, but Curry doesn’t
recommend them just yet.
They’re in the early stages,
with only about 10,000
apps available. And although the Surface machines
boast a hefty storage capacity, a
good portion of that is taken
up with the Windows operating system.
For budget-minded shoppers, Curry singles out
the Nexus 7. This device, with a 7-inch screen, starts
at $199 and is supported by a library of approximately 700,000 Android apps. By comparison, the
iPad mini starts at $329—or about $70 below the
starting price of the full-sized iPad—and has a 7.9-
inch screen and at least 800,000 apps available.
Whatever you settle on, keep these tips in mind
while tablet shopping.
Understand the Limitations
The “Holy Grail” of tablet computers is to create a
device that has the ability to supplant other productivity tools. Certainly, they’ve come a long way with
features, processing power, and storage capabilities
in a short period. But tablets aren’t yet versatile or
powerful enough to replace your desktop or laptop
computer, he says.
As long as you have a data plan or Wi-Fi access
with your tablet, you can use it to prepare client presentations, look up listing information while you’re
out in the field, and find and share digital magazine
articles. ( While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out
“It’s great for reading, and it’s great for content
entry,” Curry says. “I use my tablet a lot to take notes
Don’t Skip the Enhancements
For less than $100 altogether, Curry says, you can
add some useful tools to augment your tablet use.
b Keyboards with Bluetooth connections make it
easier to type on a tablet. The Logitech K760 is
solar-powered and costs about $60.
b A case ($15–$40) allows you to easily carry a tablet, prop it up, and keep it covered.
b Stylus “pens” ($10–$30) enable you to write on
the tablet screen.
While smaller devices are easier to carry, larger ones
make for easier reading and video watching, so tablet size is largely a matter of personal preference,
Curry says. “I would recommend going to a store
and trying out these devices to understand which
feels best for you.” By Brian Summerfield W