Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Beyond the iPad: Rivals offer attractive alternatives

For the first time, the phrase "tablet worth buying" isn't automatically synonymous with "iPad." • Unlike years past, when anything without the Apple label might have been met with a fallen face, this holiday season presents the gift-buyer with a real choice of sizes and prices.

Nexus 7

After two years of struggling to establish Android as a direct iPad competitor, Google this year tried a different tack. Working with Asus, it launched the Nexus 7, a more compact, Google-branded device.

Starting at $199, the Wi-Fi-only Nexus 7 features a bright and beautiful 7-inch display and swift performance. It also introduced "Jelly Bean," the latest, smoothest version of Android, which will eventually find its way onto phones and other tablets as well. The device's main drawback is the limited selection of content in some of the Google Play online stores.

Kindle Fire HD

Lack of content isn't anything that afflicts Amazon.com's 7-inch Kindle Fire HD. Indeed, it functions best as a front end to Amazon's enormous stockpiles of e-books, videos and music. And the same $199 that buys you eight gigabytes on the Nexus 7 gets you 16 on the Kindle Fire HD.

At the same time, it's heavier and slower than the Nexus 7, and although it runs a version of Android, it doesn't have access to the vast universe of Android apps. But if you've got a confirmed Amazon-lover on your list — especially one who already belongs to Amazon Prime and can take advantage of features like the Kindle Lending Library — this may be the tablet that warms her heart.

Amazon also offers a bigger, 8.9-inch version of the Fire HD starting at $299.

Xperia Tablet S

My current favorite may be Sony's Xperia Tablet S ($400-$600). The first version, released last year, won points for its unique teardrop design and built-in features that turned it into a super-duper TV remote — but lost them with cheap construction, poorly placed controls and connectors, and sluggish performance.

The new version addresses many of those shortcomings. It still can't touch the iPad in terms of battery life or richness of the app ecosystem. But it may be the best bet for the dedicated Apple-basher — there are a lot of them out there — on your list.

Kindle Paperwhite

While multifunction color tablets get all the attention these days, there's still a role for the humble monochrome e-reader among, you know, readers. The class of the field here is Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite ($119-$199), which uses a built-in light, improved contrast and higher resolution to create a more book-like experience, even in a dark room.

The Kindle Paperwhite gives you access to the best selection of e-books, extras like the Lending Library for Prime members and eight weeks of battery life between charges.

 
Comments

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17