tablets for parents

Ashley Hindmarsh ash+perl at
Mon Mar 3 11:39:13 GMT 2014

> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2014 21:20:39 +0000
> From: Nicholas Clark <nick at>
> Subject: tablets for parents
> To: at
> Message-ID: <20140302212039.GH22650 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> 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
> magazine)
> 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.
My in-laws manage fine with a 3G/wifi dongle/doodad on PAYG. Then you have
to option of finding the best coverage for their location, and decoupling
network from hardware.  I've found HSDPA to be fine for Skype, but maybe
that's just my luck.

Nick - you don't mention screen size?

How about remote support? I'm not sure how that goes on iOS/Android. Very
useful for PC/Mac.

Apart from that... I'd say iPad vs Nexus (on Wifi).


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