Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011: the Year of the Tablet

In my reading of computer magazine and various tech sites, plus technology articles in major newspapers, the message is clear- this is the year of the Tablet. Ever since the iPad burst onto the scene, people have been wondering when other computer manufacturers would decide to follow suit and challenge what seems to be the run-away success story and the template of such devises. One can read about commentators defining what will be the iPad killer. When in actual fact, there is probably no such thing.

It has gotten to the point that even PCWorld Magazine has articles stating that my next PC will be a tablet. The article begins by stating the obvious, but it is a good place to start:
The world of computing is at a crossroads. The primary computer for most users today is not a PC; it's a phone. While the PC sits on a desk at the office or on a coffee table at home, smartphones go everywhere with us and integrate into every part of our lives. But despite getting smarter and smarter, phones are too small to replace PCs completely. We need a device that bridges the gap between what PCs do and what mobile phones do. That device has arrived. Welcome to the age of the tablet.

This is very true, the evolution of the cellphone, from brick to smartphone has seen the devise transform from a telephone to an always connected mini computer. With our phones, we text, we take pictures and videos, we email, we surf the web. In fact the last thing we probably do is take phone calls. Go to your last bill and count the minutes you've used in telephone calls, I'm going to suspect its very small. Then look at the usage on your data plan, or the number of text messages you've sent out.

However, the problem with all phones is this, they are too small, the form factor still demands it to be a telephone first and everything else second. Which is why the tablet PC, or plain tablet is now the talk of everybody. From what I can see, the tablet is making inroads into everyday life. I was at Starbucks a few weeks ago, which is always the place to discover what technology is making a difference and there was a couple with an iPad. Mind you I've sat at Starbucks and the local library with my little tablet as well, doing the surfing thing and putting upgrades to Twitter or Facebook, because that's what we do. PCWorld also had an article on my devise, the little iPad Knockoff from China. Personally, I still use it, it's a good thing to have around when all I want to do is look up my email or that sort of thing, and I don't want to start the laptop.

It still has good functionality, and for all that talk about it being an Android tablet, it's comfortable to use. I do recognize that its only one hundred dollars so its not top of the line. It falls under the catagory you get what you pay for, it's 1/4th of an IPad, so I can't expect it to function like an IPad.

What is impressive is the long list of companies producing or promising to produce a tablet. I've been looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab and must say I've been very impressed with its functions

It has a nice function and does look good, my problem is the price, its quite expensive and one needs a data plan from the various cell companies to get it going. I know it has wifi, but probably the always on function needs 3G to operate successfully. I at one time, did balk at the whole idea of getting onto the 3G network, something about giving Rogers even more of my money, but I do understand why this is necessary, after all, why have a devise that needs to, or at least works well when connect to the Internet when you aren't always guaranteed a hotspot. I still dislike the idea of giving Rogers more money though.

What is going to be interesting is the Blackberry Playbook. This might be interesting in that RIM is already a success and has a whole bunch of users who might be happy to move over to the Playbook. They are comfortable with the form and function of the Blackberry and understand the OS. From talking with someone who works at RIM, he spoke of the fact that it is impressive. Couple this with the fact that there's a bit of a war going on between Apple and RIM, I asked if Steve Job's comments aren't on the bulletin board at work, he said it features around the place, then that tells me that things are going to be interesting.

If you go to the main page, there is a link to the comparison between it and the IPad, which is going to be for every devise I have to believe. I also have to believe its going to be the thing all the crackberry users are going to buy and use. Which is probably a good thing to have such a loyal market already. It should be interesting to watch how the Playbook does in the opening weeks of its introduction. I know people will make comment if its not as good as the IPad, which probably won't be fair, but that's how some people operate.

One of the devises I'm looking forward to is the new Dell Streak 7. Of course as you know I'm a bit of a Dell fan, I've owned to Dell laptops, plus a few of their Axim's, so when they announce this devise, I've got my ears up to read more and learn more about it:

If I have any concern about the tabs, and some of them are answering this concern, is the fact that they are a consumer devise only. I like the idea that many of them are featuring slots for SD or miniSD cards, after all if the camera is going to be on them all, you got someplace to store the pictures, and you might as well use them to edit the photographs as well. I've tried taking pictures with the 7" and I can see it is possible to grow onto it, even thought at first it feels a bit awkward. I can't imagine having a camera on a 10" IPad, that is going to feel funny and probably look funny as well.

So will 2011 be the year of the Tablet, it will be an important part. Will it take over, probably not since they are still limited an limiting. Will I get one? Have to save my pennies for that answer.

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