I'm finally catching up on the latest tablet hype. Here's a link to the Microsoft Courier video on the Gizmodo tablet device, and a second link to the Apple tablet device that Gizmodo says is going to "redefine newspapers, textbooks, and magazines."
Personally, I'm as interested in the comments on these articles as I am in the devices themselves. I read the same thing over and over, comments like this: "I don't need anything like this, but it looks so cool, I want one."
In my current lifestyle I feel exactly the same way. Between my MacBook Pro and iPhone I don't see why I need another device. However, I'm a fan of history and interesting business decisions, so I think it's important to remember this feeling, so if these devices actually ever do come to the marketplace AND succeed, I can think, "Wow, I certainly didn't see the need for this device, but they nailed it", something like that. (Or, conversely, if the devices fail miserably we can all say "What were they thinking?")
In the previous paragraph I specifically wrote "In my current lifestyle ...", because I can see where these devices would be helpful if I traveled a lot, especially in situations where I was a passenger (plane, train, bus, carpool). I know from experience that it's hard to open my MacBook Pro on a plane, so a smaller device would be helpful there. And it could be a very cool idea for college students, potentially replacing textbooks. And improved battery life is always welcome.
One more caveat here: If you're going to use a tablet like this AND another PC, syncing content between the devices is always important.
My Fujitus tablet - a great presentation device
My old Windows tablet was a Fujitsu "convertible" style tablet which could flip between a notebook PC and a slate-style tablet, and I have to say this: It was a terrific device to use for delivering presentations. With some additional third-party software, I could write on top of my PowerPoint presentations as I delivered them, highlight different areas, etc. After every presentation I gave using that tablet PC, people came up to me and asked how I did what I just did. If I were a teacher or regular presenter, I'd still have a tablet like that.
(And while I'm writing about that tablet, here's a review I wrote about my Fujitsu Tablet PC back in 2004.)
Handwriting recognition woes?
One more note: I sure hope the handwriting recognition on these devices is better than what I had on my Windows tablet in 2004. The handwriting recognition was a real beat-down with that tablet. I couldn't spell "google.com" right to save my life, and if I couldn't even get to Google, you know that I couldn't search for anything once I finally got there. Using handwriting on these devices sounds great, but my experience is that (1) handwriting is slower than typing, and (2) handwriting recognition is prone to errors, and makes handwriting even slower.