Smoothwall Firewall project

Sunday 30 May 2010

The Computer Tablet revolution?

Have you bought an iPad already, is it the best thing since sliced bread or the next fruit juicer destined for the back of the cupboard?

While taking the Paris Metro yesterday on my way home from Bruxelles, I noticed there were adverts for the just released Apple iPad everywhere, and I fully expect to see the same on Tuesday while taking the Tubes in London. 

This form of computer device has been tried and launched unsuccessfully before by several major companies, including Microsoft , who have never seemed to catch the public's attention, that has now apparently changed. The mood for this type of device seems to be right. I think this is due mainly to the success of the iPhone and and iTouch before it, and people can now see the benefit of this keyboard-less type of device. They are by no means perfect, but they are a lot lighter than the netbook's or notebooks must of us use while travelling so they will potentially have a place in our luggage.

There is great news for people who don't use or want to buy Apple technology, as Google have released a competing technology call Android, which is currently having a massive success in the smartphone market and now just starting into computer tablets.

The device that has really caught my eye in this mushrooming new genre is the French made Archos 7 home tablet, not least because of the cost. They start at a very reasonable £129, which means that if it does not quite meet up to what I think these devices will offer, I won't have wasted £600, like most of my friends who can't wait for the latest gadget.

The screen is smaller than the iPad - 7" as opposed to 9" -  and the technical specification is a lot lower, but for what I want it for I believe it should do nicely. It can play video upto 720p, the usual music formats MP3 etc, surf the web via WIFI (but not 3G), reading books via e-reader plus access to thousands of other applications from the Archos store - not the Android store currently - but that is on the way. The Archos 7 Home Tablet.

I think one the key elements of these devices will be the web applications that are coming down the pipe from all of the major software providers. If these can all be made to embrace the touch screen input method, then this is going to be a real winner. Things will have to change though, as trying to use old legacy programs on these devices is just not going to work. It will be really interesting to see how they cope with things like blog posting and writing in general. They will be fine for chatting on all the social media like Twitter, as that works fine on my smartphone, but writing real articles is another matter.

Having used my Android smartphone for a while now, the touch system works well and offers so much. Unfortunately for me the screen is just too small for reading books or watching films, so I think this new device will fit the bill, time as always in these matters will tell and testing these features will be part of the fun.

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