No, I haven’t gone completely schizophrenic. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. In this post, Why You Might Not Want to Buy a Tablet/Slate This Christmas, I outlined some reasons why you might want be like a Cubs fan and wait until next year. In this post, though, I’m outlining reasons why you might want to spend your Christmas cash for a Tablet/Slate or put a Tablet/Slate on your Christmas list.
We’ve got 10 inchers, 7 inchers, and 8.9 inchers out there. There is some debate over which size is the best size for a Tablet and whether or not the larger devices are more portable than mobile. That’s a debate that only you can decide for yourself. Regardless, these lighter devices can free you up to do things you want to do on a computer in all sorts of locales and locations. They are not great outdoor devices at the moment, but carrying around a Tablet/Slate in a bag or a pocket beats toting even a Netbook around in my view. But again, that depends on what you want to do with the device. Whether it be sitting on a sofa, stall surfing, reviewing notes, or watching video, a Tablet/Slate feels much more natural than a computer with a keyboard does on your lap.
Tablet/Slates offer a very personal viewport into the Internet. Browsing feels very natural using multi-touch. The “reach and out touch” metaphor certainly applies when it comes to browsing on a Tablet.
The iPad is a powerful gaming device and the Android Tablets coming out now look to also offer a good gaming experience down the road. If you’re a casual gamer, Tablet/Slates offer a good solution when you want have some fun and sling birds at pigs.
Whether you’re reading an eBook, a website, the news, or whatever, Tablet/Slates make a great reading platform. With the exception of Apple’s proprietary iBooks that only works on iOS devices, you can load up Apps that can give you access to all the major eBook vendors and what they have to offer on the other platforms. Magazines and periodicals have had a slow start so far and also some mixed results, but eventually they’ll figure it out. Whether you’re using a browser or a dedicated App from a publication, consuming the news is a really pleasant experience on a Tablet/Slate.
Netflix is a must have App on the iPad and it will quickly become so on other platforms. Viewing video on these devices is a key selling point in my view. The content controllers have to figure out how they want to make money on this, but Tablet/Slates are a great way to view video regardless of the source. If you’re streaming video you’re at the mercy of your broadband provider and most don’t like all that HD video coming down their pipes, but that’s going to be the case for quite some time to come here in the US at least.
Handing someone a Tablet/Slate to view a collection of photos will make you their best friend for life. There’s no better way to view and share photos in my opinion.
Getting Some Work Done
What? Aren’t these consumption devices? Yes, they are, and that will be their primary usage for many. But, if you need to follow email, or do some work, it can be done on a Tablet/Slate. Presentations using an iPad are becoming a new cliche. Attach a keyboard and you can very easily get some writing done. We’re seeing more and more use of Tablet/Slates in the entertainment industry and education sector. I think this trend is only going to continue.
Tablet/Slates Are Where The Future Is
Speaking of trends, the future of computing in many ways will be set by the Tablet/Slates we see today and will see tomorrow. Application (Apps) development has already moved that way and will continue to do so. Apple is making some noise that some think mean it will eventually merge iOS with its more traditional OS. Application developers are certainly looking this way as we see development in all aspects and all kinds of software. One way or the other, personal, mobile/portable, connected devices are the next wave of the future and if you don’t want to be left out, now is when the ground floor has some room. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll still see laptops and desktops and applications that need that kind of horsepower. But for most of the consumer market in the future, Tablet/Slates will set the pace.
Summing up the Fun
Just about everything I’ve talked about above can be summed up by saying Tablet/Slates offer a fun way to enjoy computing. That’s a key. The winners in the Tablet/Slate games will be the manufacturers that offer the easiest and most fun experience from “out of the box (OOBE) onward. Apple has a big leg up here at the moment, but once Tablet/Slates that don’t need to be synced to computers become more common place Apple is going to have to consider breaking its historic umbilical chord tie to iTunes if it wants to stay ahead of the pack. This is also where current Windows 7 Tablets fail as well. That OOBE is as painful as it is on every other Windows device and in away we’re all used to that. But, these devices scream out for a grab and go fun experience, not something that has to be sycned up, updated, and re-updated before you can use it.