Smartphones and tablets are versatile little computers, and the Android open source mobile platform has exploded like crazy, with something for everyone. Here are five excellent mobile Android gadgets for the small business user, plus a bonus Linux tablet.
Qooq Splash-Proof Tablet: Versatility
The Qooq French Digital Cookbook is a splash-proof tablet designed to live in the kitchen and serve up recipes, cooking videos and cook's magazines. But it doesn't have to stay there because unlike most tablets it does not run Android, but rather a full custom Linux operating system.
This means you can install any of the thousands of applications that run on Linux: surf the Web, email, run productivity and business applications. Anything that runs on a PC will run on the Qooq. It features a dual-core Cortez 1gHz processor, 8GB built-in memory, an SD card slot for additional storage, wired and wireless networking, and USB ports. In other words, this is a slim PC with a 10-inch touchscreen and a built-in stand.
A portable water-resistant tablet with all of this flexibility can serve in any number of roles. It can hang in a shop window and display ads and daily specials. It can sit in an office lobby for visitors to use. It can display server status in the datacenter. It can sit in a break room with a Webcam as a line of communication to remote workers.
Qooq is cur
rently sold only in France, but an English-language version is coming soon to the U.S. It sells for 349€, which is about $455 of our U.S. dollars.
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx: Long Battery Life
Battery life is sorely tested by the demands of color multi-media smartphones, and the Droid Razr Maxx promises the longest talk time of any 4G smartphone: 21 hours worth of voice calls, 7 hours Web-surfing, watch movies for 15 hours, 50+ hours of listening to music, 380 hours standby.
In real life you're probably not going to see these fabulous numbers, but even allowing for hyperbole it is impressive how they stuffed a 3300 mAh Lithium ion battery into a slim, lightweight phone.
Figure 1: The slim Droid Razr Maxx.
Like all smartphones this sleek little phone is packed with features. It has a touch interface, a big batch of multimedia functions, supports U.S. cell networks and Wi-Fi, USB and Bluetooth, speakerphone for syncing with a PC, and GPS. It has pretty good speech recognition (for commanding your phone to do things), and helps hearing-impaired users with support for hearing aids and text telephone (TTY) interface. It comes bundled with a batch of business-ready applications such as Google Mobile Services, QuickOffice, phone conferencing and mobile wireless hotspot.
It is extra-durable: the shell is Kevlar, and the screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. The main downside to this little phone is it ships with Android version 2.3.5 (Gingerbread). It is upgradeable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), so it's probably a good idea to upgrade before loading it up with data and customized settings. $299 with a Verizon plan, $649.99 without via Motorola, and a little shopping should turn up some better deals.