Monday, October 25, 2010

Decisions, decisions: which gadget should I buy?

You probably won't be forced to choose between a tablet or ereader or make other similar difficult decisions very much longer. One reason, of course, is that their capabilities are being merged in ways that may make a single device suitable for many uses - but that is not the main reason you'll avoid these agonizing choices. With all the uses for this versatile crop of new devices, it's very likely you'll have more than one. We certainly have numerous magazines and books on hand not to mention newspapers. If tablets, ereaders and smartphones become universal tools, a family will most likely have several.

After all, it's not uncommon to have multiple PCs in the house; it often makes sense to keep an older machine when upgrading since they have little resale value and work quite well at common tasks. Of course students regularly use computers for homework and the competition for "the computer" can get fierce in the evening.

It's important to note that we are in the early stages of the Mobile Revolution and dozens of different shapes and sizes of devices will come out soon. Distinguishing between tablets and smartphones will become increasingly difficult and naming conventions will evolve rapidly.

In any case, it is quite likely that a variety of tablets and other mobile devices will be used to replace collections of books, magazines and other publications. No matter how much we enjoy the feel of a "real book", we will rely increasingly on electronic means for much of our information and that means more electronic devices will be needed for access.


  1. Found you on facebook, enjoyed reading your blog. I am in the market for a tablet that I can create podcasts on, skype, surf and of course access my calender and email on the go. What do us non techys need to look for in os, gb and processors. I do not have anything touchscreen at the present time. ps..i also wondered what you thought of this

  2. Hi Gretchen,

    Thanks for your note. Today, there is really only one reliable tablet computer widely available. That is the Apple iPad. Most major electronics companies are trying to develop a competitive product but only a few are trickling out right now. Many will be out in 2011.
    Most importantly, there are many, many fake or low priced iPad knockoffs out there and I would be careful even at the spectacularly low prices. Most reviews say things like some are "OK for the price but they're certainly no iPad".
    The next generation iPad will likely have a front facing camera and be able to handle the things you listed. If you look at one of the main low priced ones (aPad, IPed) can you live with the smaller screen, sluggish performance, poor touch screen technology and lack of support that are noted in the reviews.
    On the surface many of these imitators look like iPads but when it comes right down to it, no one could make the quality product like the iPad and sell it for $150.
    A quick google search with "NameOfProduct reviews" would be helpful if you see something interesting.
    Drop me a note if you have any other questions.
    Good luck.