And Then I Broke Down and Got a Tablet

Ok, I caved and got a tablet. This is a post about my experiences with the tablet and some general thoughts on the format.

I opted for the Motorola Xoom. It's an Android device, I appreciate the Motarola build quality, and I'm very pleased with my choice. First impressions first:

  • Reading on the tablet is great. I have a Kindle, and while I respect how lightweight the Kindle is itself. Despite the extra weight, the slightly larger screen and the back light is very very nice and very welcome.
  • I don't expect that I'll be doing a lot of writing on the tablet, a laptop is never really going to be that far away, but I'm really surprised by how easy it is to (almost) touch type on the tablet. A number of very simple and probably straightforward innovations to the keyboard could make things so much better.
  • I think all devices need some sort of "don't auto rotate" hardware switch. In fact, I think apple's whole "lets get rid of hardware buttons," movement to be really annoying. Buttons should be overloaded, sure, but I hate having to hunt through menus to modify basic behavior. Having said that, the "software control bar" at the bottom of Android 3.0 is brilliant and a good move (given screen rotation.)
  • I lament not having a Google voice widget for the tablet. Makes sense that they wouldn't want this for tablets that had data plans, but I just have a wifi tablet.
  • The Kindle app doesn't let you bookmark your place in periodicals. Which might make sense if you were reading the Times, but doesn't make a lot of sense when reading fiction magazines with articles in the rage of 10k words.
  • I'm in love with the calendar application, except for the "full month view," in which you scroll by weeks, not by months. Even with this glitch, I'm curious as to why there aren't (stand alone) calendar applications of this quality for desktops.
  • I've tended to use the tablet for situations where I want to have a distraction free experience (usually for reading,) or where I want to do "computer things" in a situation where I might need to interact with other people. Having a tablet in your lap is more social than a laptop. As such, I don't think it would ever be able to replace a "real" computer for very long, but that doesn't make it less useful.

I'll be writing more about the tablet experience and some cyborg features of tablet use and usability.

Onward and Upward!

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