The best tablet device out there – 1

tablets

I have reserved my judgment so far on which is the best tablet device out there. I think that is only fair. Tablets, being such nascent technology (with all due respect to Mr. Gates), it is not right to jump the gun and announce a winner after 15 minutes of random hands-on usage, as many tech blogs are wont to do (Interestingly, it is one such tech blog that actually made me write this post today).

Some of you might know that I own an Android Honeycomb tablet (Asus Eeepad Transformer) and a HP Touchpad. Mayuraa has an iPad2, which means I do get periodic access to it. So, over the past few months I have had enough opportunities to try out most of the standard tablet features and use cases across these devices. In the process, I also have had a few interesting/useful observations. I haven’t put fingers to keyboard on this topic and I can safely blame my laziness for that.

Today, as I was browing the Facebook app in one of these tablets, a shared status informed me that TechCrunch carried an article about a Zuckerberg interview where he might have said something to the effect that it is no longer required to run to silicon valley to start-up companies. Piqued, I clicked on the article, which opened in a browser, and I started reading it. The browser crashed. I tried again, with the same result. I launched the browser seperately, launch TC and opened the article again. Crash. Persistently. So, I presumed that the page might have had some rogue script or something, and so tried to open another tech blog. Mashable, this time. Crash. As my patience had run out by that time, I picked up another tablet, and swipe-touch-launch-scroll and I was reading the article comfortably. No jitters, no crashing and burning.

By this time, you have obviously figured out the direction this is taking, and you are right. To you I only say this: this is not a fanboy article and I just want to write down what I have observed as a regular tablet user, in the hope that someone somewhere planning to buy a tablet might benefit from my experience. No hyperboles when I describe my experience, iPromise :)

Fanboy Type 1 typically says the iPad is genius. He buys into Mr. Jobs’ famed RDF (yeah, that Reality Distortion Field thingy – annoyingly too lengthy to type out), believes that it is a thing-a-magik-voodoo, and is typically too busy fondling his device to recognize the other options out there. Fanboy type 2 spends more time dissing iCrapple, explaining how his device compares favorably to a piece of rock, listing out specifications, ports, modded RAMs and other gobbledygeekery and is typically celebrating his ‘freedom and choice’ by attempting the latest root which his device manufacturer clearly rules out as warranty-breaking anyway (some freedom, that). Fanboy types 3 and 4 do not exist as yet, contrary to whatever HP and Microsoft might think (smoke).

Let’s leave these fanboys out of this discussion, shall we? There is a now a tiny minority of the tablet market-base who are non-fanboy users, and this is the base for future growth of this technology. This is the base which will ultimately decide which is the winning horse, in the long run. Many of these people are still trying to understand use cases for a tablet. They are not entirely convinced that they need another device with a bigger-than-4-inch screen, apart from their desktops, laptops and probably netbooks and e-readers. Some of you are probably in this bracket. I know you cannot be convinced by laying claim to magic or showing a laundry list of specifications. You need use cases. Unfortunately, I am not here to list them to you, as it is more of a ‘to each his own’ thing. But, in case you are convinced of some use cases, my aim is just to show you how these devices can or cannot address some of those use cases.

So, how do we start? By telling how I use my tablets, may be?

(To be continued)

P.S: I know I have the habit of starting running topics like these and leaving them in the lurch later. Thankfully this is not one of them :) I have just split it so that the post doesn’t become too long. It would probably just need another installment or two.

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