26 Jan 2012

Tablets deliver the digital revolution to reading

I bought a tablet computer a few weeks ago (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1), and I've had some time to get used to it.* FYI, I didn't buy the iPad because it had fewer features and (big for me) I was not interested in getting locked into Apple's "walled garden."

Here are a few notes:
  1. There's the awkward process of figuring out how to balance your "digital life" among several devices (I have a laptop, iPhone, iPod Nano and now this tablet). Looks like I am using the tablet more for casual internet browsing and emails and -- very important -- reading (more below).
  2. Android apps are definitely lagging Apple apps. I need to sideload my Economist (via Calibre, a free eBook program) and can't get the New Yorker. That said, I can't say I am really suffering from a "lack of apps."
  3. Reading on a tablet is no big deal. The Kindle is lighter to hold and has a longer battery life (30 days vs 3 days?), and the tablet has some problems with glare in the sun. I'd be happier with a lighter tablet, but it's a WHOLE computer with a bigger screen, so that's a tradeoff I am willing to make.
  4. Reading: I just downloaded about 30 free books.** The number of free, but good, books -- combined with "loaning" Kindle books --- means that I could probably read for free for the next few years (or decades). Ease of access (free, plus instant download) means that a lot of people are going to be reading these books.*** Writing and publication are definitely going in the same direction as music (and film). Awesome for consumers, tricky for producers.
  5. Size matters! This tablet is much easier to carry around, throw on the bed, etc. I can see taking it to conference, etc. instead of a laptop.
  6. I am starting to understand more about "the cloud" -- I've uploaded most of my music (via google music) from my laptop. I already use (and LOVE) Dropbox, so I can see a time when we will have most of our data stored and sync'd in the cloud. Security is not so much of a worry to me (hacked passwords are a bigger problem).
Bottom Line: Tablets are finally delivering on a "consumer-centric" digital experience that promises to give more pleasure than it takes in time, inconvenience and money.

* Damn. The price has dropped by $28 (6 percent) in the last month.
** I bought End of Abundance to make it easier to get it again from Amazon; I am pleased to see that the hyperlinks work as advertised, although it's annoying that the format doesn't look right unless you page fwd/page back so the Kindle can catch up, but that's typical with HTMP rendering. I was annoyed to find that hyperlinks do not work with Adobe reader for the PDF version of the book; I bought EZPDF Reader so that hyperlinks work but that program -- like Acrobat does not allow me to display 2-up pages. Any ideas there?

** Yes, I am thinking more about how to market TEoA via Kindle...


DW said...

I don't own a cell phone, a laptop, a tablet or any of those other gizmos that are weighing you down. I have a desktop computer and a telephone and people can reach me when I'm ready for them to, instead of intruding on my days.

Eric Morey said...

"hacked passwords are a bigger problem"

Perhaps you should look at last pass (lastpass.com).

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