Monday, August 23, 2010

What's the best size for a tablet?

It is no secret I'm enamored with the iPad.  My love affair isn't really with the iPad so much as it is with the tablet/touchscreen form factor.  It is clear to me that it is going to a major impact on technology going forward.

That we will take to the tablet shouldn't be a surprise.  As the photo with this post shows, we've been anticipating the touch tablet for some time and fully expected it to be in our future.

And what is the iPhone, the iPod touch and Android Smartphones but tablets albeit small tablets?

The iPad is simply the first touch screen tablet for the masses.  It is the vanguard of a wave to come.  Already Apple is rumored to have a 7 inch model ready to hit stores before Christmas.  A host of manufacturers are set to release Android versions and some are already out.

One concern I'd had was that while Apple re-engineered the iPhone operating system (now named iOS) for larger displays, I'd not seen any rumors of Google dong the same for Android.

I knew they had to be.  Google is smart--smarter than Apple I think.  Last night I saw a post by Jolie O'Dell of Mashable indicating the Honeycomb code named upgrade of Android OS will be for tablets.  I have no way of knowing if this is true, but it feels right; highly logical.

I worry about the control Apple exerts on their platforms. While that control might be ok for many non-techy users, I want something less controlled.  I want to be able to easily make apps myself.  Apple will never allow I believe, something as enabling as Visual Basic or even Hypercard were for the PC and Mac respectively for the iPad.  And that's a shame.

So, I'm hoping an Android phone and/or tablet are in my future.

"So what size?" is my next question.

We have both an iPod Touch and an iPad.  I never really used the iPod Touch much before we got the iPad.  I moved it my nightstand as an alarm clock.  Then eventually, while my wife was using the iPad, I picked it up.

In come ways that small form factor is more useful than the larger iPad.  A quick check of e-mail is fine.  Checking Twitter is actually easier.  The iPad requires two hands, one to hold, and one to touch/control.  I can hold the iPod Touch in one hand and control it with my thumb.

I think there will always be a place in my life for two screen sizes.  When I upgrade my phone next, I'll probably get an Android phone so the things I can do on the iPod Touch can be done on the phone.

So, will I continue to use the iPad, or want an Android tablet?

Probably yes.  Instead of netbook, I can see myself with a tablet.  For the few times I need to create content away from my home PC, the iPad has been more than suitable.  An Android tablet will likely be geared more to creation than the iPad is.

I do think I'll find myself leaning towards a 7 inch tablet.  The current iPad is a bit large, and a bit heavy.  I think a 7 inch device could be the right weight, and somewhat useful for one handed use in some, but by no means all, cases.

There will be some interesting releases before Christmas.  And I can't wait until January's CES to get a glimpse of what may come in 2011.

Update 08-28-2010:  PCMag disagrees.  I still want to try out a 7 inch, but it has occurred to me that a case for a 7 inch will exacerbate the man-purse issue the iPad has already created.  Any small case for a tablet, does not look like a computer case but more like a man-purse.  Maybe the answer for that is for we men to got over it as far as carrying a bag.  It's a new world.

1 comment:

  1. Chris commented :

    If you want an Android tablet, you don't have to wait.

    I got an Eken M001 to play around with. Are these tablets ready for primetime? Sadly, no. Are they fun to play around with and cheap, yes.

    Mark again: I accidentally deleted this comment instead of approving it during comment moderation. Ironically, I touched the wrong thing while trying to moderate while groggy first thing in morning, on the iPod touch. Guess a bigger screen is better for early morning.