Tablets were abound at this year's CES. However, few have seen the light of day, let alone become a functional part of our daily lives. Well, except for one brand and a couple that really are not tablets. As of this writing, the following tablets have been out in the market:
- Apple iPad & iPad 2
- Motorola Xoom
- T-Mobile G-Slate
- Archos 101
- RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
- Dell Streak 7
- HP TouchPad
- Acer Iconia Tab A500
While I personally own the Apple iPad and a Nook Color, I have tested the Xoom, PlayBook, and Streak. It all comes down to the interface really. Interestingly enough, I always thought I wanted a tablet with a complete operating system. I remember using early Window tablets in corporate america. I even designed surveys to be completed on those touchscreen devices. It always felt awkward navigating with a stylus. While the stylus is gone, and the touch part seems much better on most of the devices, the operating system is not complete. However, what I have learned over the last year while using the iPad is that I may not want a complete operating system as much as I thought I did.
The iPad seems to work. I can't do everything perfectly on it. However, I can play games without straining my eyes. I can read email and respond without going to my office. I can watch movies and read books. I can browse web pages, keep track of my finances, and engage in some environmentality by purchasing magazines electronically...no more little post card papers littering the ground...The Nook Color and the Amazon Kindle create a wonderful reading experience with enough material to keep those interested in reading books, magazines, and newspapers busy and engaged.
These other tablet devices seem to want to more of a complete operating system. Some, like one of the most recent additions, the Acer Iconia Tab A500, even comes with the ability to attach USB drives and mice. While the familiar is always good. It may also be the wrong way to use a touchscreen device.
As much as I would like to stick with my preference to only carry one device for everything, I would like to apologize for all of those manufactures who are trying to give the masses what they asked for in a tablet, a more complete operating system. I would like to apologize for all of those expectations consumers may still be putting on Dell, RIM, Samsung, and Motorola to come out with a different experience than Apple is producing. If those building these devices are reading this, think about your user experience rather than what we already know. Focus on your environment. Follow the example of Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, build an infrastructure around your device rather than building a replacement for the PC...we still need those. Be creative in the technology rather than repetitive.