Tablets: A Look Back. May 2013.


Since tablets will be dead in five years (at least, that’s what Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins thinks), I thought that I’d look back at the tablets that I have had over their short existence.


1. Palm TouchPad

When HP announced that they were discontinuing the TouchPad and selling off all remaining stock, I picked up a 32 gig for $149. I was already sold on Android at that point, but really liked the user interface of WebOS, and the TouchPad was a fun toy to play with. After about 6 weeks, it was collecting dust on my desk, and seeing that they were selling for $300 on ebay, I sold it.


2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

I later decided to give the tablet another try, and picked up the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. The size worked well for reading books, but felt too small for browsing the web and watching videos – I found myself reaching for my laptop when I wanted to spend more than 5 minutes browsing the web. The tablet was slow, but I could have been ok with that, if I didn’t have to put up with TouchWiz. I was used to stock Android (from using a T-Mobile G2), and the user-interface enhancements, and custom programs replacing Google stock programs, just made it slower, ugly, and not what I wanted. Again, this sat on my desk for weeks at a time, not getting used, so it ended up on ebay.


3. Apple iPad 3rd Generation

Since the only tablet I would see around the coffee shop was the iPad, and it seemed like people were actually being productive with it, I decided to go ahead and give it a chance. This was my first experience really with iOS, and, well, it wasn’t that bad. The iPad had a great screen, it was really comfortable to use, and had plenty of apps for productivity and play. My only real complaint about it at the time was it’s integration with Google stuff – I use Gmail, depend on my Google Calendar, use Google Docs/Drive for almost everything – and I just didn’t think that they worked well together. Luckily, the price they were selling for on ebay was about the same price that I paid for it, so off it went.


4. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

Asus had a hit with their Transformer series (at least as much of a hit as possible with Android tablets at the time), and the specs on this one were great, so I picked it up, along with the keyboard accessory. This really was the ultimate tablet – fast, almost-stock Android, and really usable. With the keyboard attachment, I could do almost everything that I could do on my laptop,  but in a smaller package. The screen looked great, it was light, but sturdy – everything you should want in a tablet. After about 3 weeks, I noticed that, although I was using it more at home than I was my laptop, that it cost as much as a mid-range laptop, but Android didn’t have all of the functionality of Windows or Mac, so it was returned.


5. Apple iPad 3rd generation (again)

For some reason (maybe an 18-months no interest credit card helped), I decided to give the iPad another try. It was just as good as it was before, but had the same limitations as before as well. I just didn’t love it, and to add another form factor & operating system to what I was used to using (Android phone + Windows PC), I really wanted to love it. So, probably within a week, it was returned.


5. Nexus 10

Now I have the Nexus 10 from Google. There is a lot to like about it: stock Android, perfect size, fast, amazing screen – in fact the only complaint I have about it is that it doesn’t (yet) have a Smartcover-inspired screen protector/keyboard, like what has been made for the iPad or what Microsoft has with the Surface. It’ll probably never come, but it would be convenient. Android 4.1 (for tablets anyway) allows for multiple user accounts, which makes this perfect for work – I can have one account with all of my personal stuff logged in, and another account with all of my work stuff logged in, and which makes it great to use for both. Samsung’s build quality on this threw me off – lots of plastic, but feels very durable. It is the only tablet that I’ve stuck with for over 2 months, and I really don’t see a reason to change to anything new.