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Doug's Mailbag: Tablet Thoughts

Here are your responses to the whole tablet craze:

I expect Microsoft to continue down the expense, wasteful, destructive road it has been on for the last 10 years. Instead of finding something it is good at and doing that, it will continue to jump on every bandwagon that rolls by and do a mediocre job of whatever that one was. Look at the history of all market monopoly companies. They ultimately attain total mediocrity. Sad but historically correct.

Personally, I can't think of reason to even own a tablet, e-reader or any other mobile device that doesn't have the full functionality of my laptop. The ultimate for me would be a tablet PC, but they need to come down in price and have larger screens before I will purchase one. People buy a tablet for performing light tasks such as Web browsing or social networking, and prefer it because it has a touch screen and it's lighter than a laptop. But I prefer to carry a few more pounds (what are we, men or mice?) that can do all of that and so much more. And laptops keep getting thinner and lighter every year. Now find a way to give them an all-day battery life or to charge them wirelessly and I'll be ecstatic.

I saw your request for feedback on tablets. I have been using a Dell Duo for the last several weeks after trying many tablet PCs through the years. Although I carry an iPhone, I was not willing to go for the iPad which is pretty much limited to reading, music, photos and really doesn't help me with the business side. The Duo is the first device that I believe bridges the gap. It is a fully functional touch screen enabled iPad device in one mode and then you flip the screen and it becomes a fully functional netbook with a nice keyboard. It runs Microsoft Office 2010 just fine along with any other PC app that runs on Windows 7. It is not a speed demon but seems to do the job. I believe for our internal users looking at iPads, this device is more suitable for productive work and still has a slick consumer side.

Pros: Tablet touch screen with gestures works well. Seems to be built with a nice, solid chassis and the flip screen is weighted for easy conversion. Finger writing for a quick note or two is pretty darn good -- even with my scribbles. Built-in speakers are pretty good for the size. Add the docking station with JBL speakers and it takes it up a notch. It has SIM card slot for cell hookup, if desired. 350 GB internal hard drive. High def accelerator for video (Netflix streaming looks great!). eReader functionality with the Kindle or other software works great with gestures. Minor, but you can open it up to create a stand for media, no need to buy a stand like you do for the iPad. And it is just cool to see the reaction after someone sees you using it like an iPad and in seconds open it up and flip the screen to become a netbook! Price point is comparable to the iPad.

Cons: Limited battery life 3.5 – 4 hrs. Screen is nice and clear, but is not viewable at angles. No built-in DVD/CD writer. Performance is acceptable, but not a speed demon. A little bit heavier than an iPad, but considering it is also a Netbook, it doesn't feel too heavy.

Bottom line: If you are interested in an iPad but want compatibility with the workplace and more functionality, this is a device worth considering. I suspect the next generation will be based on a faster processor with better battery life.

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Posted by Doug Barney on 01/19/2011 at 1:18 PM


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