What if I wanted a tablet that wasn’t an iPad?

They’re everywhere – iPads. On the train to New York City, on planes, all over the globe I see people using them more and more. As yet I have not succumbed to Apple or any other tablet maker.

Part of my hesitancy in general has to do with the monthly charges that come with tablets when not using Wi-Fi. It appears to range from $ 15 – $ 25/month depending on usage. I am well aware of iPad’s Wi-Fi connectivity. I am also aware of the geographic limitations of that same connectivity. Having used an iPad a few times it is an impressive piece of technology.

There are alternatives. The most recent effort is from RIM (maker of Blackberry) called ‘Playbook’. The website ‘Digital trends’ has listed a number of them and reviews have been lukewarm. And the cost for a supplemental data plan from Sprint can be $ 30 per month. PC magazine recently did a review of iPad alternatives – http://bit.ly/l2R0yB, There are indeed a number of options but none really that have been deemed a worthy competitor to the iPad as yet.

At Computex in Taipei Tuesday, some new models were introduced. A company called Asustek offered the ‘Padfone’ to be released in time for Christmas. Already there are countless tablets currently on the market – Dell has a ‘Mini 5’, HP the ‘Slate’, Lenovo the ‘U1’, Archos (I had not heard of this) the ‘Archos 9’, Asustek the ‘Eee Pad Transformer’, Acer the ‘Iconia Tab A500’, Gateway has the ‘EC18T’, HTC the ‘Flyer’, Motorola the ‘Xoom’, Samsung has the ‘Galaxy Tab’, and of course Barnes and Noble has been making noise with the ‘Nook’ which is not really a tablet as it only has WiFi connectivity Many of the newer tablets are running on Google’s Android platform. As for other tablets there are more and I could go on but won’t.
Since I still read newspapers (3 of them daily) the idea that I could get them delivered on my tablet is interesting but then I remember that my wife and I both like to share and read the newspaper in the morning (at least when I am not traveling) and tablets are not really ‘sharable’. And subscriptions to iPad content while less expensive than print content are not all that less expensive.

I don’t see myself watching many movies on a tablet – I simply do not have the time nor interest. It could be useful when traveling and a downloaded movie could be played on the hotel television but I am guessing that hotels are on to that idea and will disallow Fire Wire or connection to the television so as not to cannibalize their usurious charges for in-room movies (really – $ 14.99 for a movie in a small hotel room?).

I’ve seen my associates use the iPad to deliver PowerPoint and other presentations and that’s kind of cool as tablets are much lighter and more portable. But I remain on the fence. Will I really use a tablet? Will it be a replacement for a laptop (you can purchase a foldout keyboard for a tablet so there is a way to not have to type on the screen which seems like a big pain in the neck to me)? Or will a tablet purchase add to the technology I lug around – mobile phone, laptop, extra batteries, cords and such?

I think I am getting closer to purchasing a tablet and at this point the iPad still is the clear front runner. It still bugs me that Apple does not support Flash and HTML5 is still not ready for prime time. But until a clear alternative emerges I am likely to watch the tablet game from the sidelines.

Ok all you iPad and other tablet owners – let me know what I am missing.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Innovation, Living in the World Today, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to What if I wanted a tablet that wasn’t an iPad?

  1. David Adelman says:

    Mark, as you know my wife and I have own our iPads and I recently did a four day, three city road trip including multiple presentations. I did not bring a laptop. It was liberating. As for the charges, you’re paying more per month for internet access now for a computer–or two or three if you have wifi at home. I pay $15 a month for data and it’s still cheaper than my Time Warner cable internet access. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m finding that I am using my iPad at home more and more every day and my desktop less and less. I think the cost of the iPad and the cost of the data plan beats the PC wired internet access costs by a mile.


    • markkolier says:

      You’re a prime example David of the iPad being just right for your situation. I don’t see us dropping our home internet access which of course would more than negate the iPad access charges. But that time is approaching and old habits die hard. Thanks for the insight.


  2. Mark, I feel your pain. I am in the exact same place. Was very close to springing for an iPad until my friend and client at Meredith called his “just a big iPhone” and “an entertainment delivery device more than anything else.” I have limited time for entertainment as it is so I am not sure it is for me. On the other hand some LA friends (who, admittedly, work in the online video space) can’t live without it. Another friend likes the freedon he has at home to roam around with it. My home isn’t that big and I don’t find myself surfing that much at home anyway. My laptop is larger but highly functional for what I need for the most part. Haven’t heard anything great about the other tablet alternatives (I am a Blackberry guy). Let me know what you decide to do!!


    • markkolier says:

      As a Blackberry guy as well I am disinclined to purchase a RIM Playbook – especially since RIM has annnounced an entirely new platform yet to be released. I believe they only release the Playbook so RIM investors would feel they were doing something. The iPad still seems to me to be a lean back and not a lean forward device but it will evolve and I probably will succumb to some sort of tablet when the next generation is brought to market. Thanks for the comment and thoughts Mark.


  3. Tom says:

    Until someone comes up with a device that will fit in my jacket pocket, I think I will wait (e.g. foldable please, Mr. Jobs). My observations of the people I see using an iPad is that 80% is for entertainment. Certainly it is great for that, but not enough that I want to lug around another (sizeable) piece of hardware.


    • markkolier says:

      My observations are similar that tablets are being used mostly for entertainment. The foldable tablet idea is interesting. E-paper is also gaining traction – rollable, foldable, renewable – Eink (like that used in Kindle’s and Nook’s). A merger of the two technologies might be the true killer app. Thanks for the weigh in.


  4. Mark,

    So far I haven’t seen anything that the IPad brings to the table aside from the wow factor — which is quickly wearing off. From a marketing standpoint — I still think the SuperBowl ad for the Xoom is one of the best ads I have seen in a while http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BPFODsob1I

    One good thing about the IPad on a plane is that it is small — but a tablet PC is small too…and is a lot easier to do work on.


    • markkolier says:

      The Xoom ad was very well done Chris. And I see it as you do – I still can do enough on my phone and that is only going to get better. Thanks for the always interesting comment.


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