Someone wrote in with a question about their tablet, but didn’t specify which tablet they were using. When I asked, they responded, “I don’t know, how do I tell what kind of tablet I’m using?”

That’s a pretty good question. Let’s take a look at this simple tablet identification guide.

If you see the word “Apple” or the image of the Apple logo on your tablet, you are using an iPad.

ipad-logos

Your homescreen should look like this:

i-pad-homescreen

Only tablets manufactured by Apple are iPads.

Now let’s check out Windows tablets. They are made by multiple manufacturers like Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo and more. Many run full versions of Windows and act just like a PC, while others run Windows RT, a now discontinued OS that cannot deal with desktop programs.

windowstablet

You will also likely see a Windows button on the screen that looks like this:

win-8-windows-key

Odds are, if you don’t have an iPad or a Windows tablet, you’ve got an Android tablet. It’s the most popular operating system, but can be a little harder to identify because there are literally hundreds of different kinds of Android tablets by hundreds of manufacturers. And since Android is open-source, developers can tweak the interface in many ways.  Here’s an example of an Android Homescreen.

androidhomescren

But it could also look like this:

androidhomescreen2

One sure giveaway that it’s an Android Tablet is the Play Store. That you’ll only find on Android tablets.

playstore

Now what about Kindles and Nooks?  If your device looks like this:

kindlematchbook

What you have is an eReader and it won’t be able to run any apps. It’s just good for reading (and there’s nothing wrong with that.)

Fire and Nook tablets, however, both run specialized versions of Android.  The Nook not only lets you purchase from Barnes and Noble offerings, but it also allows you to use the Google Play Store.  Here’s a look at a Nook homescreen. Once it is registered, you’ll see a welcome message on the screen.

nookgoogle

With a Kindle Fire tablet, your limited to using the apps available in the Amazon store. Here’s an example of that homescreen and it should actually say your name at the top of the screen. Example: Cynthia’s Kindle.

fire-hdx-homescreen

~ Cynthia