Tablets


Summary

I can imagine that in a few years, my family will have a bunch of tablets just spread around as general computing devices throughout the house. As we become more and more attached to the 'Net, we're more likely to need it everywhere. Count me as a believer in the tablet revolution.

iPad 2 w/ Smart Cover

I bought an iPad when they first came out. Lately I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab to experience the Android side of things. Tablet computers have changed important parts of my life.

The iPad wasn't my first "tablet." I had a Compaq TC1100 for a while and used it when computing in places that a regular PC didn't work well. The TC1100 was a pen computer and used Windows XP. I bought it, rather than other tablet computers of the error era because the keyboard completely detached and left a slate. That's the mode I used it in 99% of the time. Ultimately, though it was underpowered and I found myself just using my laptop more and more.

The iPad is different. Part of it is design, power, and size. But mostly, I think that the world has changed in some important ways.

For example, I read a lot. Since I got the iPad and the Kindle app, I've almost exclusively cut over to ebooks. The only exception is when a Kindle version isn't available. The fact that the Kindle app is available for every device I own and so my books are with me anywhere I go is a huge part of the appeal. When I owned the TC1100, there was no Kindle app and I was an ebook skeptic. Also, the form factor of the iPad is nicer than most books, I can increase the font size, and the screen is lit. The battery life on the iPad is such that I almost never worry about not having power. The only downside is having to put my book away when the plane is landing (stupid rule, but that's a different blog post).

The Galaxy Tab is a great device. In fact, I wanted to dislike it, but find that I use it more and more. I haven't had it long enough to comment on things like battery life vis 'a vis the iPad, but the platform itself it well made and Android works well--after you get used to it. I have found a few apps that aren't available on it that I like on the iPad (like Zite), but there is a vibrant app community with a lot of choice. What's more, there's a Kindle app, so it has my books.

I recently went on a trip (personal, not business) and just took the iPad. I didn't really need anything else since it had email, a browser, my calendar, and my books. I didn't miss my computer. I don't think I'll travel for business with just an iPad yet, mainly because of presentation and demos. Also, for working all day writing or coding I love a big screen and keyboard.

A few years ago, my Mom and Dad bought a computer. They didn't take to it--although my Mom likes to play solitaire on it. But I can see my Mom using a iPad with a 3G connection for email, reading, and doing Facebook. She would be more comfortable with the form factor, sitting in her chair and using it like a book or tablet.

That brings me to the chief disadvantage. These things aren't cheap. The Galaxy Tab with 32Gb of RAM cost more than what my parents paid for their inexpensive PCs at Wal-Mart.

Still, I can imagine that in a few years, my family will have a bunch of tablets just spread around as general computing devices throughout the house. As we become more and more attached to the 'Net, we're more likely to need it everywhere. Count me as a believer in the tablet revolution.