So, there’s a new kind of Android device in the world. The world still isn’t sure just where it is that tablets are the right tool for the job. That granted, this is a nifty product. And I’m developing my own theory of what tablets are for.
My impressions are based on a couple hours playing with one, which at this point is a couple hours more than almost anyone else. The model I played was not quite production — among other things, the product name stenciled on the back wasn’t “Galaxy Tab” — but close.
Impressions · All the apps I tried ran just fine, including a couple of immersive games that really benefited from the extra inches. I’ve heard of a few apps that misbehave, but their problems were obvious & easy to fix; watch for details over on the Android Dev Blog, starting later today.
Samsung has sprinkled some sugar on the out-of-the-box Google UI elements, and while the community’s opinions on hardware companies’ efforts to improve Android software have been, um, mixed (my own is extremely mixed), I have to say that the Samsungers have shown restraint, putting the extra real estate to good use in good places, for example the notifications pull-down. There may be some of that integrated-social-everything that frankly gets up my nose, but my nose remained clear around the Tab, so if it’s there it‘s at least easy to ignore.
It’s snappy, especially on games where that matters; maybe there are places where servicing the extra bits in the 1024x600 screen will hurt, but I didn’t run across them.
It’s got a phone but (at least on the pre-release model I used) you can’t hold it up to your head, which is a good thing as that would look supremely dorky.
Did I mention that the screen is beautiful? Also it feels really good in the hand and looks pretty nice, and is obviously in the first microsecond’s glance not an iPad.
What Are Tablets For? · The trade-off is obvious. You win because you can show a bigger picture, which is important, and you lose because it just won’t fit in many pockets, which is important. It’ll go in most purses, though.
I know what I’ll use the Galaxy Tab for: to show off Android. The big screen just makes everything easier to see and point at, and graphics look outstanding, and it passes from hand to hand easily. Showing off Android is part of my job and this will help me do my job better.
Which leads to a general theory, reinforced by informal observation of hipsters with iPads in coffee shops: a tablet is, crucially, a more shareable computer. A laptop, with its fragile hinge-ware and space-gobbling keyboard, is just not comfy to share. A tablet is easier to bring to the café, easier to hand across the table or along the sofa, easier to seize in the heat of the moment, easier to hold up in triumph, easier to set aside when you need to meet someone’s eyes.
How big a market is that? Anyone who says they know is lying.