credit: Wikitech

With the growing affordability of tablets and mobile devices, there’s a good chance that your family uses two or three different devices with different operating systems.  I could never give up my beloved iPad (frankly, the kids use it more than I do) but I recently bought a Microsoft Surface tab after being surprised at how much I enjoy using my Windows phone.  That’s three devices right there; add in my Lenovo 7″ tab and my husband’s Samsung phablet, both of which run Android OS, we have all of the bases covered around here.

What amazes me is that my kids – 6 and 4 – can use every piece of technology in this house with ease.  They can easily switch between tablets, and make a seamless transition back to the PC or laptop we have in our home office.  The kiddos also fully understand that each OS we use has a different store for buying apps, and understand that sometimes a game on the iPad isn’t available to play on the Surface or Android tabs.  My son even told me that he doesn’t like the iPad anymore because it’s not a multi-user device and he can’t create his own profile.  True story, I wish it was recorded because no one believes me.

If you are one of the rare cases who has avoided non-iOS devices up until recently and you’re having a hard time integrating your devices, here’s a great tip from The New York Times on how to use iTunes with your Microsoft Surface tab:

Microsoft makes two versions of its tablet, and they run on different operating systems. A Surface Pro (or Surface Pro 2) tablet using the standard Windows 8.1 Pro operating system can run Apple’s iTunes program. The Surface or Surface 2 models, which use Microsoft’s Windows RT 8.1 operating system, cannot run iTunes. (But they do have amusic app that can import iTunes tracks, as Microsoft demonstrates atbit.ly/LCMOOw.)

Windows RT tablets can install and run only apps available in Microsoft’s online software store, and Apple has not released a compatible version of iTunes. On PC hardware, iTunes currently requires a computer with either an Intel or A.M.D. processor, and Surface tablets use mobile Nvidia Tegra processors instead.

On a Surface Pro, iTunes can be installed through the Internet Explorer browser or by transferring an installer file from an external drive to the tablet using a USB connection. (Even though the software is intended to run on Windows 8 and 8.1, it has been finicky enough to install that Apple has prepared a troubleshooting guide in the support area of its site.)

Because Surface Pro tablets can run Windows 8.1 Pro, the devices offer greater flexibility and a wider choice of programs. Prices for a Surface Pro 2 tablet start at $899. The original Surface starts at $349, and the Surface 2 starts at $449, but both are limited to Windows RT-compatible software that can be downloaded from Microsoft.

How many tablets and/or devices do you have in your house?  Share your tips for integrating and streamlining your devices in the comments section below!

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