I remember back when the laptop was a big as a VCR, and a VCR was as big as a bazooka. However, the laptop revolutionized the way we did work, because for the first time... we were mobile.
Adam Osborn invented the "Osborn 1" in 1981. It cost $1,800 and it looked like this:
The Grid Compass followed shortly thereafter in production, and looked more like an actual laptop that we might recognize: Many people regard this as the first laptop because it was designed in 1979. But not released until 1982.
This Laptop sold for $8,000. It could host an external 10mb hard-drive (Mega...not Giga), 360K floppies, and had a modem that would deliver a whopping 1200bps. For those of you who don't remember what a modem even is, this would be the equivalent of your current computer downloading info at 1 kilobyte per second. Watching a YouTube video would have taken weeks.
Now-a-days, everyone is sporting the Ipad. I remember when the Ipad first came out, I was like "Why?" Being a tech guy and programmer, I just didn't see why people would want to purchase something that couldn't be used for production. The Ipad to me was just a glorified Ipod. One realtor thought he was so cool bringing his Ipad to a convention and whipping it out to take notes, lead us on the GPS using Google maps, etc... until I whipped out my Toshiba Libretto W100, and crushed him with a full operating system, USB support, webcam, and so on.
Novelty is one thing, but as a professional Real Estate Agent... you probably need a device that can handle work as well as play.
1. Ipad: Simply not my favorite pad. I'd prefer the Samsung Galaxy or the Motorola Xoom. The Ipad is too large for one thing...might as well buy a laptop. And the non-multitasking, non-upgradeable memory, and locked down interface is simply annoying.
2. Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom: These both run Android 2.2 and/or the new Honeycomb OS, and have an array of features to beat the Ipad. Google products are set to beat Apple products with their large array of features and apps. Plus, Google is much more "open source" than Apple which means developers can tweak the product without fear of lockdown. Both of these pads out-perform the Ipad in my opinion, although the Motorola Xoom is a bit glitchy. Give it a few months, and it'll be the best Pad on the Market.
3. Nav9: One of my favorite devices. This of course originally was the Nav7, HP's first 7" touch screen Pad. This was the device I was waiting for. I had already owned a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet, so there was no need for another device, except the ThinkPad was not "finger-touch" friendly, and did not have the capabilities of the newer Pads. The Nav7 was an Ipad with a full operating system, which means I could edit docs, use Adobe CS5, and it would run Flash online. The only problem was its size. At only 7", the screen was great for viewing but hard for typing, so a peripheral of devices were needed. We'll, might as well bring the old laptop if I have to cart around a keyboard and mouse! Then came the Toshiba Libretto W100.
Toshiba Libretto W100: This little dual 7" touch screen was the problem solver. Keyboard on one side, screen on the other... then the keyboard magically disappears, and it becomes a dual-screen device, with two separate desktops, or a single screen split between the two monitors. Oh, and it runs a full version of Windows7.
In the real estate world, if you're going to spend the money and invest in something fun, you might as well get some use out of it also. If you plan to spend, spend smart. Get a device that can be written on...meaning that you should be able to have someone sign the contract on the screen with a stylus. The device should be HDMI so you can display your latest presentation on a television. It should also have Bluetooth so you can communicate with your headset, wireless printer, keyboard and mouse.
Although the Ipads and Xooms are fun... they are also not a full operating system...yet. These devices are for play, not business. If you're going to spend the money, get both and go for the Nav9 or the Toshiba.