tablets for parents

Nicholas Clark nick at
Sun Mar 2 21:20:39 GMT 2014

Dear knowledgeable hive mind,

It seems that my parents are finally cracking and amenable to the idea of
buying a device for the purpose of videoconferencing. My sister and I
suspect that the right thing is a tablet connected via 3G

(my parents alternate between two locations in southern England, so fixed
line would mean 2 fixed lines, and two lots of fixed infrastructure, which
feels like a pain)

So, what is good to get. Specifically

1) What tablet?
   (with camera, obviously, 3G, and possibly not much else "special")
2) What data plan?

You can infer from this that they don't currently have an Internet
connection, and I don't think that once they get one they are going to start
heavy surfing or high bandwidth activities such as watching videos on
YouTube or iPlayer.

(They have had the "recording the TV" thing sussed for a decade or more now,
and whilst they have migrated from VHS to hard drives, I don't think that
they are going to move from the idea of a box under the TV connected to an
aerial, that they program after circling programmes in a paper listings

I don't think that they care what OS, and I don't think that I do hugely
either. I just that care it doesn't get abandoned by the manufacturer as
soon as the next model comes out*, and it needs to work without assuming
that the owner has a PC for any sort of regular service activity.

My sister has Macs (and a Blackberry too, I think), but is dealing with
Windows at work, so between us I think we can hand-hold most things.

Nicholas Clark

* So *this* would put me off Windows RT even if it ticked all the other boxes,
  as I can't see how MS are going to sanely sustain 3 different OSes and
  ecosystems, and I suspect that RT is more than 33% likely to be the one for
  the chop. And even if it isn't, well, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7,
  Windows Phone 8 - they have a pedigree now of dumping their customers.

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