What Makes a Tablet Great?

It’s not the size of the machine that makes it appealing. It’s the content. And the connection.

Let me start by saying that as a woman, the idea of a small, light, purse-size computer has always appealed to me. I started saying that at Intel in 1996, when the company shut down its “digital personal assistant” project after the failure of the Newton, saying no one would ever want one again. As the engineers in the room rolled their eyes at my lack of numbers, the marketer inside me said that half the workforce was women, and we’d love to run through airports without heavy laptop cases. “That’s a data point,” they said disdainfully.

I left Intel soon after. Since, I’ve invested in machines like the Sony Vaio, 13" MacBook, 11" Macbook Air, IPads 1,2,3 and the Nexus 7. For the past three weeks, I’ve been comparing the iPad to the Nexus 7 and here’s what I have found.

  1. The form factor of the Nexus 7 is awesome. It fits in a smaller purse than the iPad, and it has longer battery life. It’s “pretty.” Men call it elegant. And it’s easy to “type” into. (Typing, by the way, is a metaphor).

  2. Its integration with Google is equally awesome. As a user of Gmail, Gcal, GReader, and Google Drive, I am a happy camper on the Nexus, although the small screen makes reading glasses necessary. The Google mobile Apps on the iPad aren’t great. And I hang out a lot on G+.

  3. JellyBean is the best Android OS so far, and I found it remarkably easy to use after my first difficulties figuring out how to turn on the machine and swipe up and down to find things.

BUT:

  1. I can’t take it with me, because it doesn’t have LTE or any kind of cellular broadband, and I have Verizon LTE on the iPad. While I COULD make my iPhone a personal hot spot, to enable that functionality would kill my unlimited AT&T data plan, into which I am grandmothered.

  2. Most of the TV series I want to watch seem to be in the ITunes Store, and not the Google Play store. And I can’t get HBOGo on the Android either. Google doesn’t get the movies Apple gets, because it has made different deals.

SO:

When that Mini-iPad we’re all gossiping about comes out, I will Gazelle a bunch of old gadgets or waterfall them down to the grandkids and get a smaller iPad. And it won’t be because of its size. It will be because of the content and the connection.

 
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