Tim Wakeling’s tablet mini-course – Bonus Part

I originally wrote this to include in the mini-course.  But it’s not strictly to do with controlling your tablet, so I scrapped it.

I still think it’s worth you knowing about, though, so I think you’ve done the right thing by deciding to read it.  So without further ado…

In my experience hundreds of people get confused because they don’t know the difference between their tablet and other, different types of tablet.

They often don’t even realise that’s why they’re confused.  So when someone says “Just tap on the so-and-so” and they can’t find the so-and-so or it doesn’t do what they expect, they think they’re doing something wrong.

When really it’s often just that they have a different type of tablet.

There are three types. It does get a bit more complicated, but basically there are three types:

  • Tablets made by Apple, which run Apple’s own system, called iOS. They call these tablets iPads.
  • Tablets made by all sorts of different companies running Android, which is designed by Google.
  • Tablets made by a handful of companies running Windows, made by Microsoft (like you’d run on a PC or laptop).

Each of these are available in different sizes, with bigger or smaller screens and better or cheaper cameras.

If you’re not sure which you have, it usually says on the screen as you turn the thing on. Or sometimes if you look on the back it’ll have an Apple logo (an apple with a bite out of it) or the Windows flag – and if it has some other maker, chances are it’s an Android one.

They all work a bit differently and if someone has a different one from you and tries to show you how to do something, it probably won’t be quite the same on yours – so it’s worth knowing which you have.

So, there are three types of tablet and that’s it? No -when did technology manufacturers ever make it that simple? I’m afraid there’s more to it…

There are different versions of each type of tablet – I mean different versions of the system that make them work, called the operating system.

For example Android’s latest version is version 7, which they’ve also called “Nougat” (Google like to give every version of Android a name based on a sweet as well as a number. Peculiar, but they like it!) But if you have an ever-so-slightly older device, you might have version 6 (Marshmallow).

The Operating Systems do get updated so you get the newer version, but not always and not straight away.

So say you and a friend both have Android tablets (or both have iPads). You might still find they work slightly differently if you both have different versions.

I wouldn’t say you normally need to know what version you have – it’s not that important. But it’s worth knowing that there are different versions, so you don’t get confused if yours is different from a friend’s.

And even that’s not all.

With Android tablets, different manufacturers of the tablets will change and tweak the way it works – making changes to Android, the system that makes it work.

In some cases these are pretty small tweaks – maybe putting their company logo on some of the screens or changing some colours.

In other cases they’ll make bigger changes. Maybe adding some new options into menus that might not be there on other tablets made by other companies.

And if you have a Fire tablet (made by Amazon), it is based on Android, but they’ve changed it massively – so it’s almost like a totally different type of tablet. Fire tablets can’t even run all the same apps (we’ll come on to apps later) as other Android tablets – it’ll only run ones Amazon have decided to let it run (often blocking ones from their competitors).

So there are three things that affects how your tablet works:

  1. Whether you have an Android, Apple (iPad) or Windows tablet
  2. What version of the “operating system” you have
  3. If you have an Android tablet, how much the manufacturer tweaked it – from adding a logo and changing the odd colour to changing it completely if it’s an Amazon Fire.

I hope that makes it a bit clearer – and now you’ll understand why your tablet might not match your friend’s…