8 min

Have tablets jumped the shark?

Feb 6, 2014 re/code story titled Our Love Affair With the Tablet Is Over

Is it a link bait story or valid perspective?

The tablet couldn’t possibly shoulder all the expectations people had for it. Not a replacement for your laptop or phone — but kinda. Something you kick back with in the living room, fire up at work and also carry with you everywhere — sort of.

My current laptop and my recent cell phones have been used, hand-me-down or hand-me-up devices. My last new purchases: laptop in 2002 and cell phone with plan around 2001.

In 2009, we bought a new HP laptop for my wife's daughter when she graduated high school. A year or so later, my stepdaughter purchased a new laptop, so I took the the HP that we bought her to replace my old Gateway laptop that I bought in October 2002. My Gateway started with Windows, but later, I installed Ubuntu Linux.

I still use the 2009 hand-me-up HP laptop, and it still runs Windows XP. I do all my programming on remote Linux servers. But this year, I would like to replace this HP laptop with a new thinner, smaller laptop that runs Linux.

For several years now, the cell phones that I've used were phones that my wife or stepdaughter formerly used. And for a couple of those years, I used a Tracfone.

For about a year now, I've been using a dumbphone that's an LG flip phone. I didn't realize that we had this activated phone, which was stored in a desk drawer. It's small but bulky. I like using it to test my web apps, which all run fine on this phone after installing the Opera Mini browser last summer (2013).

I've held off upgrading my phone because I couldn't decide whether to buy an iPhone or an Android phone. My wife uses the iPhone. My stepdaughter used to use the iPhone, but in the spring of 2013, she changed to the Samsung S4. In 2013, my wife exchanged herwork phone, which was an old-style Blackberry, for a Samsung S4. I like both the iPhone and the S4.

In November of 2013, I tried to buy an iPhone 5C, but I was not eligible for an upgrade yet, according to our Verizon account.

I bought my first cell phone in 1997. I bought my second cell phone in 2000 or 2001, and after that two-year plan expired, I did not renew it, and I've never purchased a new phone since.

So it's a bit funny that I was not "eligible" for a cell phone upgrade in November 2013. I think this spring, I can upgrade my phone.

I'd like to get a smartphone, but I would still like to own a dumbphone or a low-end feature phone that has web access for testing web apps.

In August 2011 when HP decided to exit the tablet market, HP unloaded their 16-gig and 32-gig 10-inch tablets in a firesale. I managed to buy a 32-gig HP tablet for $150. This tablet runs WebOS. I received the tablet in October 2011, and I've used it nearly every day.

I like reading websites on my tablet. I despise typing on the tablet's screen keyboard. I have used my tablet with a Bluetooth wireless keyboard, and this makes for a nice, portable writing machine.

But for heavy writing, searching, cutting-and-pasting, linking, etc., I find the laptop superior to a tablet.

In recent months, I'v discovered that I no longer like the larger 9.7 inch or "10-inch" tablets. My wife owns an iPad. I find these larger tablets too clumsy for holding for longer periods of time. I like my Mom's iPad Mini and my one brother's 7-inch Kindle HD Fire.

My wife uses her iPad tablet in the kitchen as a cookbook, and I also use my HP tablet in the kitchen when I'm cooking, since I have recipe procedures stored at JotHut.

If I bought a new tablet, it would be the 7-inch or 8-inch size. But I would like to limit myself to two devices. The laptop is a requirement for programming, photo management, and writing.

The other device would obviously be a phone, but I wish a larger iPhone already existed. I think the Apple 5C and 5S are larger than my wife's iPhone, but the Apple products are still smaller than the Samsung S4.

Apple may release a larger iPhone in late 2014, but that's too late for me. I've held off long enough. I like the idea of a $99 iPhone 5C because it would be my first Apple product, and I could get more familiar with iOS and the apps that run on this device from the perspective of being curious about design. Some mobile apps are unavailable for Android. I think that I could learn more about design by using apps on the iPhone. I would install writing, notetaking, social media, and news apps.

With a $99 iPhone, I could switch to something larger from Apple or switch to an Android phone in a year or so without losing a ton of money.

I suppose that if I buy an iPhone, I would still use my HP tablet for reading at times. As websites incorporate more sophisticated CSS3, HTML5, and JavaScript features, those sites either function less or don't function at all on my HP tablet. But I've used this tablet heavily for nearly 2.5 years, and at a $150, it has definitely been a worthwhile purchase.

I could replace the HP tablet by purchasing one of the larger Android phones. I like the size of the Samsung S4. It's in between the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy Note.

In 2013 when I first saw the Note up close, I decided that would be the phone for me. It would be both a phone and a small tablet. Or as I described it: a tablet that happens to make and receive phone calls.

Price-wise, the S4 and the Note would cost me significantly more than the low-end iPhone 5C. I'm really interested in owning an Apple product. But I need to play around with the Note again.

If I decide to pay the money for an S4, then I may as well go with the Note instead, so that it can be my phablet. That would put me in the two device category: laptop and phablet.

As of now, Feb 10, 2014, I'm leaning toward the iPhone 5C and using my old HP tablet for the rest of this year. And then either late this year or in 2015, I would mothball the HP tablet and switch to a larger iPhone, if available, or to an Android-based phablet. Also in 2014, I'd like to purchase a new laptop.

Staring in 2015, I would use only two devices going forward.


Gone are the days when mobile phone manufacturers competed to create smaller and smaller devices, since 2008 the average screen size has been increasing.

"The operating system market for Phablets will be dominated by two major players, Android and Windows," the report notes. "The Windows ecosystem will be driven by Nokia's Lumia range, which is anticipated to find success in the more affluent demographics of developing nations.

"Meanwhile, the Android ecosystem will be driven by the latest in Samsung's Note series in developed markets as well as local vendors such as Intex."

However, the report warns that this dynamic may well change if Apple is to introduce its own phablet to the market.

Rumours of a phablet-style device dubbed the iPhone 6 emerged last year, with some reports stating that Apple may look to rival Samsung's Galaxy Note 3. According to sources working for Apple's component suppliers, the tech giant was undergoing trials of screens ranging from 4.8in to 6in for it next major device.

Business analysts believe that Apple needs to make a bigger "splash" in 2014 with its new products. It's fairly certain that Apple will release the iWatch later this year, so if Apple can also release a 5.5-inch to 6.0-inch cell phone/phablet, that would be fascinating. If Apple does create a phablet, I hope that it's larger than 5.0 inches.

Additional info:

From my Aug 2013 posting about people reading news on tablets:

No surprise to me. The tablet is by far my favorite reading device for long reads.

We'll see if that's still true in Aug 2014. It is possible for device preferences to change that fast. Again, I'm no longer a fan of the large tablet. I could see spending a lot of time reading on a small tablet.

#mobile - #laptop - #phone - #tablet - #design - #phablet - #blog_jr

By JR - 1498 words
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