Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Becoming a Tablet Guy

It’s not that I was against tablets or, as some people have stated or implied, feared them. My critics forget that I’ve used more and varied technology than most of them have. And I’ve been hands-on with tablets for longer than many of them could spell tablet.

The problem was that tablets weren’t incredibly compelling to me. I’m not sure why that was, exactly. Just a combination of little factors that didn’t appeal to me. And I’m not one to jump at the latest technology. Well, not always.

But that’s slowly changed over the last while. I’d been thinking about using mobile technology for creating in addition to consuming content. I’d experimented with that when I borrowed a friend’s iPod Touch for three months in 2010. And more recently, I’d been using a Galaxy Player for a good chunk of my portable computing.

The latter experience was more satisfying than the former. But I was running into the limitations of working on a small screen. Not that I was editing images or anything like that, but I just needed a slightly better (and bigger) view of what was on the screen. Yes, at age 45 I’ve started wearing glasses …

I’m sure I could have gotten along quite nicely with the Galaxy Player and the rig I put together for it. But then Google released its Nexus 7 tablet. Compact, slightly bigger screen, and some decent hardware. A few minutes after it was announced and put on sale, I did something uncharacteristic: I ordered a Nexus 7.

I won’t say that the Nexus 7 changed my life or even the way I work. It hasn’t. But it has expanded my options for creating content while on the go. My Nexus 7 is small enough and light enough that I can carry it anywhere. I don’t always need the keyboard and stand to use it; I’m learning to type fairly quickly with the on-screen keyboard. And the apps that I use for writing give me plenty of flexibility.

For me, a 7-inch tablet is the optimal size and weight. I’ve tried working with my daughter’s 10 inch tablet, but it doesn’t feel quite right (although the on-screen keyboard is really nice!). But I don’t see my Nexus 7 being my main computing device, whether at home or outside the home.

Tablets are nice, and I’m finally warming to them. But they’ll always be a supplement to my laptops. Still, I’m gradually becoming a tablet guy. And that’s not a bad thing.

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