Take Two Tablets and Call me in the Morning, or Why Using Two Different Sized Tablets Makes Sense to Me

I’m a two Tablet kinda guy these days. Actually, depending on how you qualify things in this age where qualifying things occasionally needs more qualification, I could be called a three Tablet kind of guy. The reason? Google finally put itself on the path to understanding what it takes to create a decent Tablet experience with the Nexus 7. Although I’ve been pilloried, tarred and feathered, and railed against in the past for not liking the 7-inch form factor and the Android experience, I have nothing against either the smaller devices or Android. I just think they never measured up to what I (there’s a qualifier in case you’re counting) expected out of a Tablet.

So, here’s the deal. The Nexus 7 is the first of what I hope Google continues to improve upon when it comes to Android Tablets. As I’ve said previously, I’m impressed. So much so that I’m now toting both a Nexus 7 and an iPad daily. (I’ll get to that third Tablet down the line.) I know that’s probably not the normal scenario. Most folks will choose one Tablet and be happy. But this two Tablet scenario is one that works well for me. Actually, it is working better and better the more I find myself working and playing this way.

Here’s why:

IMG_1975My days are pretty much equally divided between creating and consuming. I do a lot of reading and research. I do a lot of writing and report creation. I also do a lot of digital note taking in rehearsals and meetings. I could very easily spend my time doing all of that on the iPad. I did until the Nexus 7 came along. Now that the Nexus 7 is in my arsenal, I find there are many times (stall surfing, meal breaks, script research, reading) where I prefer the 7-inch form factor for much of that kind of work/play. But there are also times (some of the same above, plus writing and note taking) where I prefer the larger form factor iPad.

The iPad excels in the creation parts of my day. (Note that a desktop and a laptop do also). There is a synergy, or a connection, or a fuzzy, warm gut feeling I have with the size of the iPad display and an attached keyboard that allows me to focus on what I’m doing. That larger screen size also works very well for me when using a stylus.

I’ve tried to do some of that work on the Nexus 7 but my reactions are totally different when doing so. This is an emotional response but that combo just doesn’t resonate in the same way for me as an effective tool set. Can it be used that way? Sure. But my enjoyment experience is much less when I do. Believe it or not, the enjoyment factor weighs heavily with me when it comes to choosing the tools I use.

The bottom line for me is that the iPad serves the note-taking and other work related functions very well. Both the iPad and the Nexus 7 serve the reading, listening, viewing, browsing, functions well, and in most of those cases I prefer the Nexus 7 because of its size. And the key is that I can now switch back and forth with ease when I’m in consumption mode between either Tablet/OS.

Two future points to look at here. First, the rumors about some sort of smaller iPad have reached the white hot stage. For many that’s a done deal. As someone who has been skeptical about Apple’s intentions here, I’m finding myself less so. Some think a smaller iPad will crush any nascent 7-inch offerings on the Android platform. I’m not so sure if crush is the right word, but it will force the Android folks to rev things up a bit. Again, I’m an unusual case. I really could care less about which 7-inch Tablet I use, as long as I’m able to do what I need to do and expect to do on it. That said, now that I’ve found an Android Tablet that I actually like to use, I’ll most likely continue down that path, parallel to using an iPad, (or maybe two) if a smaller version of the iPad does materialize. As long as I can go back and forth between both platforms with relative ease, I’ll enjoy that scenario.

Second, I’m sure I’ll be picking up a Windows RT Tablet when they become available to see how that fits into my scenario. I’m looking very much forward to that experience. Microsoft has a long way to go to get me to shake up my current situation, and I’m going to give it a chance.

Now, about that third Tablet. While the size of the Nexus 7 makes it more of a mobile Tablet than the iPad, there are many times I don’t carry either the Nexus 7 or the iPad with me. This is a personal preference, but even with the 7-inch size I don’t find it convenient to use when running errands. Instead I rely on my iPhone for whatever needs I may have or desire when I’m out and about. Certainly I could do the same thing with an Android phone. I’m just not in that camp at the moment. But there is some discussion going around that the 7-inch Tablets might diminish the need for the smaller smartphones. I can see that as a possibility for some. But I can’t see that in my future.

There is a convenience factor in using a smartphone for many of my communication and some of my note-taking needs. If I need to share something quickly with a colleague, I prefer to do so with a smartphone rather than with a Tablet, even though the Tablet is usually within reach.

So, in reality, I guess I’m a three device kinda guy. And I very much enjoy that. Again, my case isn’t yours and I’m not advocating one use case over another, or one solution over another.

I’m curious to know how you view your scenario. Things are evolving in the mobile scene. Is your use case evolving? How do the devices you use serve your use case?