I have now been living with a baby, an iPad, a cr-48, a netbook, 2 Android phones and a kindle for the last few months… and it is not easy here are some of my conclusions from this experience.
Touch is the king here.. my 9 months old plays with anything that has buttons and keeps trying to change the TV channel back to the Night Garden as soon as he can. It is now impossible to keep him away from the iPad. I loaded an interactive rattle app, and he loves it. In fact, I am sure he looks at me thinking “why are you playing with my toy?” every time I pick it up. Second to the iPad , he loves the android phone touchscreen.
Conclusion, there is something quite basic and primitive about interacting by touching stuff.. and you can’t beat it.
Here the iPad shines. Granted that we had to overcome the limitations “by design” introduce in the iPad.. you need a case holds the iPad on a viewing position (£10) and you need to hunt down all the apps that replace web-based flash players (a couple of hours). After 4 months of consuming online video, I came up with 2 conclusions:
1) I can’t wait to have a good Linux tablet that is open and supports everything. I don’t need to be dictated what is good for me.
2) Streaming is the way.. I recently fell sick and decided that a movie in bed was what the doctor recommended. I headed to iTunes and “rented” a movie… 2 hours after the download started I had passed out in bed and didn’t get to watch my movie..sigh. I paid for it and I wanted NOW!
So is the iPad the king in this category? Well, no. We still reckon that the kindle wins hands down when it comes to reading ebooks. You can’t beat the battery life, compact form-factor and softness to our eyes. Also, when it comes to audio consumption my phone is where I go.. music, podcasts and audiobooks on the go.
Creating content is becoming very frustrating. I have been using the cr48 for blogging recently, and it is nice to write with but hard to edit multimedia. The netbook is just not powerful enough. I have been tempted to throw my iPad to the bin when I have tried to create content with it.
The bottom line is that none of these devices are flexible and portable enough to do the job. I have to go back to my “proper” laptop/desktop, but that dictates when and where we can create content. Even replying to my personal emails is now becoming a nightmare task. I need to spread across 3 devices to do a job! Predictive touch keyboards are just not up to scratch. This category still remains a #Fail for me.
Fragmentation and convergence
5 years I go, I was working on the mobile phone industry and the main topic of conversation was how “the portable device market was platform fragmented and heading towards device convergence”. At the time function-specific devices where beating hands down the multi-propose one so you needed to carry: mp3 player, mobile phone, cam corder, camera, books and organiser (paper or electronic).
Today everyone takes for granted that a single device (smart-phone) can do a good job in all those categories and you only need a function-specific device if you have an specialised interest/hobby.
I feels like we are at the same junction when it comes to home devices, and this is without talking about Roku boxes and Apple tvs. So what will be the convergence device to rule them all?