MobileGuide: Recommendations and common questions

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Smartphone and tablet use at IU

For desktop and laptop computer recommendations, see ComputerGuide: Deals by vendor, recommendations, and common questions.

Although smartphones and tablets aren't recommended as your main computing device due to hardware limitation, smartphones and tablets can keep you connected to your email, classwork, and emergency notifications wherever you go. Tablets may also be helpful for taking notes in class, or for viewing IU eTexts.

Indiana University's mobile services can make smartphones and tablets even more helpful. Using One.IU, these devices can perform a variety of services, such as displaying bus arrival times or available seats at a computer lab. With IUanyWare, most smartphones and tablets can run full-featured Windows applications on the go; for more, see About One.IU and About IUanyWare.

Cellular service discounts

For information about cellular service discounts for the IU community, see:

Smartphone and tablet recommendations

UITS recommends a smartphone or tablet that runs the most recent version of your desired operating system. Older versions may not provide the same level of compatibility with IU resources.

Consider what network your device will use. The 802.11n network provides a more stable wireless connection, especially in 5 GHz. The 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz client space is generally more congested and traditionally has more sources of interference (such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, game controllers, microwaves) than the 5 GHz space. Additionally, there are more channels available for 802.11n in the 5 GHz space. For those clients that can take advantage of them, the extra channels allow for additional 802.11n access points in congested areas. Many mobile devices support 802.11n only in 2.4 GHz frequencies, and may not perform as well as a 5 GHz client.

To connect to eduroam at the university, the mobile device must be capable of making a "WPA-2 Enterprise" connection; note that this is different from simple "WPA-2". Check the manufacturer specifications to ensure compatibility.

Common questions

Which operating system (iOS, Android, Windows) should I get?

While iOS and Android are the most popular, any of these three mobile operating systems should work well at IU. They differ mainly in application depth (for example, Windows RT 8.1 tablets may lack the application depth of iOS and Android). By contrast, Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 8.x tablets can run anything your Windows laptop or desktop can. Android and iOS apps tend to run on both smartphones and tablets, but this is not the case with Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.x, or Windows RT 8.1 tablets.

What's the difference between the various mobile Windows operating systems?

  • Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 8.x are full-featured versions of Windows that run on tablets, laptops, and desktops. Applications are purchased and downloaded through standard distribution models (disks, downloads, etc.).
  • Windows RT 8.1 is a reduced version of Windows and runs on tablets only. Applications are purchased and downloaded through the Windows Store; you can't use any desktop or laptop applications you purchased through standard distribution models on Windows RT 8.1 devices.

    If you decide to buy a Windows tablet, know which version of Windows is installed and understand what your limitations will be.

    Windows RT 8.1 is the only version of RT that is still supported.

Which applications do I need to download?

Mobile operating systems generally come with applications that let you use most IU resources (email, web browsing, etc). For more, see Apps to download at IU.

This is document bdhj in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-07-19 11:38:30.