A UK company has come up with what it hopes is the perfect tablet for beginners. Breezie is a custom interface for Android tablets that hides all the clutter and customisation and cuts to the chase -- and it's sold pre-installed on a Galaxy Tab.
For a limited offer of £299 (the price goes up to £329 on 15 September, so hurry if you're interested), you get a 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and a year's subscription to Breezie's Hub, a remote control service that lets you set up and manage the tablet for a loved one, and also provides support from the company.
Technically, Breezie is a launcher, a kind of uber-app that changes the tablet's interface, like Facebook Home. It's a bit more than that though because it has a range of popular apps like Chrome and Skype preinstalled -- which the user never sees as icons. Instead they're hidden behind more intuitive menus based around the people you want to talk to.
If you go into the address book, for example, if a person you want to contact is available on Skype, you'll be able to hit the video call button. The tablet will then fire up Skype and ring that person, without you having to know what Skype is or how to find a contact on it.
Here's a video explaining more:
"Our goal was to design software that makes the online environment considerably more accessible for people with little or no technological nous, and to do so without patronising or limiting them," says Breezie founder Jeh Kazimi. "Breezie is about giving people a solution that works straight out of the box and lets them see the universal and immediate benefits of being online."
As to the device, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is last year's model, recently succeeded by the Tab 3. You can find the standard Samsung version of the Tab 2 online for about £250, while the new version is £329. Both run on Android, which while supremely customisable and functional can be confusing for tech novices. The best value Android tablet is still the Nexus 7, which starts at £199 (or £159 if you can find last year's model).
Breezie is far cheaper than the iPad though, which starts at £399 for the 10-inch version and £269 for the 8-inch iPad mini (last year's iPad 2 is £329). From my own family experience, the iPad is very easy for novices to get to grips with -- FaceTime is an incredibly simple video calling experience, for example, but requires both callers to have an Apple product. The ability to set Breezie up remotely, as well as the lower price and support, may tempt some families away from Apple. We'll try to get hold of one for a full review as soon as possible.
Have you tried to get older family members online? What have you found the easiest to set up and maintain for them? Are you in the market for something simple like this yourself? Let me know your experiences in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.