Taking the Tablet Dive

(Cross-posted from my LiveJournal.)

Yesterday, I bought myself an Android-based tablet.

I’ve been considering this purchase for a long time. Tablets are one of those things that I have always been wary of, because I’m not as much of a media user as a tablet really targets, I think. However, after a recent flight to Berlin, I realized that I have at least one solid use case for a tablet, in the form of a media player on flights. With that in mind, I quickly moved onto others: showing photos I’d taken to family members, an easy way to get computerized video to the TV, etc.

In addition, it would be a chance to explore Android. I’ve played with a lot of other mobile platforms over the past 18 months, but not Android — and although it’s not quite a phone, the Android tablet experience is still an Android experience.

I’ve been biding my time for a while, while the marketplace kind of leveled out. Handily, my coworkers have done my research for me: over the past 3 months, 3 other people in the office have bought the same Tablet, so I joined the crowd yesterday, and bought an Acer Iconia Tab.

So far, I love it.

Using it makes me feel like I’m in Star Trek, or Minority Report. *whoosh* goes the desktop! *Whoosh* Slicing some fruit!

The application support is obviously much broader than WP7 or Symbian’s; more quick toys, more real tools, more access to third party services that make using the thing easier. The OS really feels clean and relatively solid — I’ve used Android on phones before, but not a recent version, and the tablet experience feels so much ‘cleaner’ than any of the phones I’ve used. In the browser, things like OpenLayers support dragging, pinch-zooming, drawing in the browser, which is awesome. (I should really see if I can dig up whether/when that is happening or not happening in the 2.x series… or maybe 4.x will just fix it for everyone.) The browser really feels nice and relatively solid. The desktop, and widgets, are both nifty and useful.

The Acer was what I picked because it was essentially the same as the Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in functionality, form factor, etc. — but it was $100 less. I still need to explore sleeve/case for it to protect it from my stupidity, but for now: I have a new shiny toy, and it is Nifty.

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