I couldn’t help but notice the plastering of this fair device on Google’s front page today, and with a price like that, you can bet that Google is taking a swing at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and it’s going to be a hell of a swing.
For me, a tablet would be a bigger phone. Having owned two Android-based phones I’ve found that there probably isn’t much of a need for a tablet, especially when you have 3G/4G on your phone and can use it away from a wifi point. Still, the allure of a shiny thin tablet and the types of things you could do with more screen real estate are too good to pass up in many ways. I own a Sony E-Reader for reading books and I’ve found that I haven’t used it all that much in my two-years of ownership. I tried to shoehorn manga onto it that was a hassle, and I don’t read a lot, at least until A Song of Fire and Ice came along. My fiancee on the other hand insisted upon a Kindle Fire for her birthday, of which she claims she will read books on it. This is impressive to me, because those same two years ago, she thought reading books on screens was a silly venture and wanted no part of it. She is easily swayed by shiny things though.
Everyone who makes an e-reader has a store to buy books from for the device, because of course you can’t buy books and put them on the device, DRM keeps your friends out. Sony’s Reader Store has been pretty good for books I want (all of two) and priced not terrible, but I’ve yet to really look at Google, Amazon, and B&N. I’ve always felt the prices for digital books are a tad overpriced in many ways, a paperback is often sold at the same price or less than a digital copy. I’ve heard lots of reasons and maths from a variety of sources, but in today’s increased digital world, these goods should cost less. I’m always comparing Steam to other delivery services, because while Gabe Newell likes food (voluntarily or involuntarily) he knows how digital distribution works. Fans will pay full price for something that comes out Day One, but on Day Two Hundred and Six, you need to sweeten the pot. Sales, combo deals, related items.
But beyond e-reading, what else would I make a tablet do? NYSE’s PocketCloud has been on the top of my list for some time. I use it to RDP to my home machine often to start torrents or check something. It’s free version only allows one saved connection, it’s paid version allows as many as you want. It’s a bit pricey, but I could effectively use a tablet at work to control in-house servers or our wall display with it. So what then?
That’s what has kept me from buying one of these neat little gadgets. I own a computer, I use two computers daily between home and work, I have a smartphone running Android, and I have a netbook for doing anything else. A tablet would be a novelty, a touch device, a phone with a larger screen and no gees to use outside of my apartment. Is $200+ worth it for that sort of thing? It doesn’t even have expandable memory, but as I was reading why that would be the case, for not only the Nexus 7, but for the Kindle Fire and other devices, is these companies are aggressively pushing for their users to enter the “cloud”. I like the cloud, I think it’s a long-overdue concept that should have come up many years ago, and I use services like Dropbox and Google Drive (formerly Docs) but I also don’t trust the cloud with everything I use. I still rely on hard disks and backups for my important data. I’m also very wary of using services that store my personal data for transactions. It’s not hard to hack into poorly secured systems these days, and companies like Google and Amazon use unified account systems, where Steam and other companies force you to create separate login information for their distro service, forums, and other site functions. The importance of multi-factor authentication will no doubt be stressed as Dropbox implemented it earlier this week. This is why I only trust a fraction of my data to the cloud and backup important things to offsite independent backup. microSD cards are good for those sorts of things, so I am slightly disappointed they aren’t included on these devices.
I suppose if I dig around the internets I could find things to do with it though, like on Lifehacker or something. But perhaps I’d be better served with buying a cheaper sub-200 tablet running Gingerbread or Froyo without that much power to accomplish what I want, and then if I find more things to do, get a new device, or maybe that’s silly, invest the extra money, get a Nexus 7, and figure it out from there? Decisions!
Because you know, Angry Birds is all people use tablets for, right?