Hot time for tablets: Mini-computers a hit with business people constantly on the go

Kelly Fernandez, left, and Zac Herrera, mobile sales consultants for Best Buy in Grand Junction, demonstrate some of the most recent electronic inventions to hit the retail shelves. Tablet computers and mobile phones remain popular, especially for business people on the go. (Business Times photo by Mike Moran)

Mobile media continue to dominate the discussions in many retail electronics stores.

A year after the Apple iPad made a splash with its debut, five different brands of the tablet gadgets are now available. And like most electronic inventions, they seem to offer increasingly better quality as the months go by.

“Pictures are getting better and the number of applications is increasing,” says Liz Burkey, customer solutions manager for the Best Buy outlet in Grand Junction.

That says a lot, because the iPad offers more than 150,000 applications.

“They are a mini-computer,” Burkey says of the new tablets.

The tablets are tailor-made for the business person on the go. When wireless Internet service is available, business people can check e-mail, monitor their social network sites and download videos. They also can download electronic versions of books and create their own photo albums.

“They’re huge for business travelers,” Burkey says.

Another hot item this year is the Android software stack for mobile devices. Android services include e-mail, Internet browsers, cameras, a global positioning system, calendars, maps and a memory storage system.

Mobile phones of any kind are also popular, particularly the iPhone 4. The new phone offers video phone calls and high-definition video recording.

People continue to buy standard computers to replace old units or to add to their current stock.

One downside in buying electronic devices is that they become outdated in a hurry as new inventions hit the market. Burkey said her company has developed one antidote for the problem. When customers buy a new gadget, they can purchase membership in a buy back program Best Buy has established to help users upgrade their products. The company will buy back older products, giving customers funds with which to help purchase new products. Customers don’t receive the price they originally paid for the products, but the company does pay half the original price if the product is turned in within six months of purchase.

“You can get the latest and greatest,” Burkey says.

The Buy Back Program can be used for laptop computers, netbooks, tablets, mobile phones and televisions.