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Monday, November 18, 2013

Does TapToTalk run on the "Brand X" Tablet?

It's holiday shopping time again. Everyone seems to be advertising inexpensive tablets to give as gifts. We get a lot of questions this time of year whether "Brand X" tablet will run TapToTalk.

Here are some things to look for:
  • Does the vendor have a web site with support information? This is the first thing we look at if we have not heard of the brand. The site should have a support link and a copy of the user manual to download. If not, we recommend that you avoid buying it.
  • Is it an official copy of Android? Android is "open source." That means that it is free for tablet vendors to use and make changes to. Unofficial versions are legal, but, don't include the Google Play Store. That is the app store where you can find our free app for Android to try. While you can install the free app manually by yourself, you'll need to be comfortable with hooking up your tablet to a computer, copying files and changing settings on your Android device. Proceed with caution with tablets with unofficial Android versions. Things often don't work well.
  • Are there online reviews of the tablet? We try to find any past user reviews of the tablet or brand online. We suggest you do so, as well.
  • Can you try it or return it for a full refund? Some inexpensive tablets have touchscreens that are not responsive, bad WiFi and/or cheap speakers, to name just some items where they have cut corners to bring down the cost. Nothing is more frustrating to a child as tapping on a screen that doesn't respond. Some stores charge a restocking fee if you open the box and return it.
What we have learned over the last several holiday shopping seasons is that these "bargain" holiday tablets are no bargain, especially if your loved one is planning to use it as a communication device.

There are many great, economical TapToTalk tablets that are under, $200, and often a lot less, from reputable companies like Google (Nexus), Amazon (Kindle Fire), Barnes & Noble (Nook  HD), Samsung, Nabi and Dell.

In summary, if you are buying a tablet for communication, buy a known brand from a store or web site known for selling consumer electronic devices. During the holidays, other stores stock inexpensive tablets that may be okay as e-readers or for watching Netflix, but they cannot and will not support you. A "red flag" is when the device only surfaces during the holiday shopping season. Avoid them, if you can. If you must, please try them with our free app before you buy or during their return period.

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