The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Today I purchased a new tablet computer. Well, it wasn't a tablet computer when I purchased it, but it became one a few hours later. Best of all was the price: $249. That's about half of what most other tablet computers cost.
This one has a gorgeous, 7-inch color screen, which is about the right size, in my opinion. I suspect that others will prefer a larger screen, however. The new computer runs the Android operating system, has wi-fi wireless networking, audio (it makes a great music and movie player), a leading e-book reader program, a microSD slot for memory expansion, an accelerometer, a web browser that runs Flash, an email program, a calendaring program, and the capability to download and install new programs.
Perhaps I should also mention what it is missing. There is no Bluetooth capability, no 3G wide area wireless networking, no GPS, and no camera. Oh yes, it is missing one more thing: a big price tag.
A $249 handheld tablet computer with a full version of Android and a color screen that has to be seen to be appreciated? I had to see this!
I do have some experience with tablet computers. I already own the first version of the Apple iPad tablet computer, and I like it a lot. In fact, I had been thinking of upgrading to the new iPad version 2. However, the $500 or more price tag stopped me. Also, the iPad's 9.7-inch screen results in a device that is simply too big to carry conveniently. It doesn't slip into many pockets; and, for the ladies, it requires a large purse to carry it. The 9.7-inch screen also results in a device that is not convenient to carry in your hand while traveling and it is far too large to clip onto a belt in the manner of many cell phones. As much as I like the iPad and its software, I must admit that I don't use it very much because I rarely have it with me when I leave the house.
In contrast, a number of tablet computers are now available with a 7-inch screen. The difference of 2.7 inches doesn't sound like much until you hold the two sizes side-by-side in your hands and then you realize that it is a BIG difference. I have looked at several of the 7-inch devices in the stores, and it appears to me that they will easily fit into an overcoat pocket.
Steve Jobs of Apple has belittled the 7-inch tablet computers, calling them “Dead on Arrival.” His full comments are available at http://blogs.forbes.com/greatspeculations/2011/04/06/do-7-inch-tablets-stand-a-chance-against-the-ipad/#footnote_0_47371
I consider Steve Jobs to be a visionary, but he really missed the mark on this one. He sounds like a man who is trying to promote his own company's products (which he is) without having seriously looked at his competitors' devices. I don't care how good the iPad is; if it is too bulky to be carried, it doesn't meet my needs. I wanted a 7-inch iPad, but Apple doesn't yet make one. Given Jobs' public remarks, I doubt if Apple ever will produce a downsized iPad. It would be too embarrassing after the company's CEO has gone on record claiming that nobody would want a 7-inch screen.
Well, Steve Jobs, I have news for you: I want one! I bet a few million other people feel the same.
Today, I believe I found what I wanted: a 7-inch Android tablet computer that weighs only a few ounces, slips into an overcoat pocket, functions as an MP3 music player, plays movies, has wi-fi wireless networking, and surfs the web with full Flash support, all displayed on a great color screen. All this only costs $249.
Steve Jobs, eat your heart out.
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