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Tech Tuesday

A Little Not-so-Farm Tech Update

New phones enter the market, and tablets remain ever popular.

Recently I did a talk to a farm group that didn't want me to talk "farm technology" my job was to talk only about technology - the smart phones, theĀ  Internet and other tech stuff that has infiltrated our lives. Basic tech has always been of interest to me and it's fun to talk about it. Thought I would do that in this week's blog.

Those of my farm readers who were first to the smartphone world by purchasing a Blackberry may still be carrying around the versatile device. You've been watching those of us buying "keyboard-less" smart phones and you've stuck to your trusty machine. Well times are changing. Recently, Blackberry brought out the new Z10, which looks more like an iPhone than a standard Blackberry.

This keyboard-free phone uses the company's latest software backbone and retains its business-friendly e-mail and server solutions that keep corporations happy. However, it does offer a big, bright screen and a new way to type that should help.

Response to the Z10 from AT&T has been tepid, but there's hope that T-Mobile and Verizon will give it a better push in stores. I wonder if AT&T's network isn't part of the problem, given that Verizon is really pushing up the coverage of 4G LTE nationwide. You may want to check out the Z10 if you like Blackberry phones. Reviews have been, on the whole, positive.

Meanwhile, over at Samsung the new Galaxy s4 has come out. And Samsung has made it a life-mission to take out the iPhone. In fact, this newest Android-based phone has a lot of features that put it past the iPhone. If you're an Android user you may want to check it out given that it offers a wide range of new features and a much faster processor. You may want to look at that when you're visiting the Verizon store to look at the Z10.

The smartphone choice is getting as personal as the computer choice once was. The Android v. iPhone conversations are fascinating. Add in the Windows phone discussion (not many of you out there though) and it gets a little more diverse. Whether the Blackberry crowd will grow again to chime in remains to be seen.

Finally, there's the tablet question. Sales of those tablet computers - iPad is still the winner and champion here - continue to rise. The latest annual figures reported a few weeks ago shows interest in these devices continues to rise. They're handy to have and handy to use, and I'm seeing more farmers with them all the time.

You have the Android vs. Apple choice there too and more folks are buying the Android tablets than in the past. This will become a tablet arms race with more features being added all the time. The good news is that each is elegant, gets work done and brings a lot of handy tablet features for you to put to use.

If you're finally in the market for a tablet - perhaps to have in the cab with you during farm-time planting to make it easier to check email or keep up with your expanding social media presence, check both versions out. You can do that on the same trip to the Verizon store to look at a smart phone. Or travel over to Best Buy - if you live near one. Given the declining number of electronics stores, your choices for buying from a store are sliding, but that's a topic for a different day.

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