Tablets, No Thanks

iPad 3G and iPad Wi-FiCreative Commons License Yutaka Tsutano via Compfight

I still don’t own a tablet. Not an iPad or a Nexus 7 or anything in between. How can a tech savvy guy like me not own the shinny that is the modern tablet? I must be a techno Luddite. How can I live without apps and flat, thin  screens that beg for my fingers to caress them? Don’t I know that everyone who’s anyone has at least one tablet, if not more? What is wrong with me?

Nothing. I just don’t need one. Tablets are consumer candy for first world gadget nuts with more disposable money than common sense. But they are so cheap now, surely I can afford one. Oh yes, I can afford lots of tablets, even the Mac ones; but I prefer to use that money to pay down my mortgage or pay off my car faster. Unlike most people, I understand that we are in a depression and my budget reflects that.

But, don’t I think they are cool? Yes. Because, Star Trek. But do I actually need one to get my work done, or to make my life easier? Nope.

I have two consumer grade items that I use on a regular basis. A smart phone and a laptop. I use the phone for just about everything except producing content. It’s my portable, always connected to the internet entertainment device. I get to use my fingers to use apps, play games, read books, get information and news, be social, navigate my car, make phone calls, send email, take pictures, watch movies and listen to music. Aside from size, how is a tablet better than that?

My laptop gets used for content creation. It runs a modern, full sized operating system – Linux. I use it for writing books, programming, creating art and making ebooks. It’s light weight and the battery lasts longer than the usual time I have available to create anything. I can listen to streaming music, or watch a movie on it. It also has a great keyboard, and a clear, 13″ screen, perfect for long form writing.

I can go off to any location that has cell service and use the internet with my computer through my phone. So portability is a key feature. I can carry my light, laptop for a long time and not be burdened by it. My phone fits snugly in my pants pocket.

So tell me again why I need a tablet?

Smart Phone Thoughts

I really have not played with the new Droid X much. A friend at work had one and let me hold it for a few minutes. The thing that struck me the most was how honking big it was compared to my Droid. My first thought of course, was how great it must be to read an e-book on the new Droid. I mean that new screen is damn near Kindle size!  That got me wondering if I would want a Kindle so badly if I had the larger phone model.

I’m not so sure. I’d still be unable to read in sunlight. In the long run, it doesn’t matter for me. I won’t be in the market for a new phone until next year or later. I’m happy with the size of my Droid and I continue to read fiction on it almost daily.

I think the acceptance of hand held computers with phone apps is gaining in the public mindset. For that we have Apple to thank. When the original iPhone came out, many people, including myself could not see a need for it. Of course my view was mostly economic. I just could not afford a fancy toy phone like that. But over time, two things happened that swayed me to the hand computer scene. The first was the introduction of Android and the rapid acceptance of it by phone makers and programmers. I’m a sucker for Open Source projects. The second was the steady and strong sales of my novel on Kindle. The added income on a monthly basis went a long way in convincing me to purchase a more expensive cell phone plan.

The future of computing seems to be mobile, from phones to pads. Desktop computers and operating systems are becoming passe and are quite frankly mature to the point of not allowing much innovation. But the mobile computers are hot beds of innovation and design right now. Just look at how many Android phones are evolving before our eyes. Next year will be the year of the Android pads and that market could take off. Although once again, I just don’t see the need for a pad device. I guess I’m just slow to adapt new things. I hope that’s not because of my age.