We shall all keep taking the tablets

I was wandering around Oxford last week and ducked into HMV to play with the delectable Apple iPad.  

The cheapest model is not such a delectable £429, with 16GB of memory, while even less delectable is the 64GB iPad at £599.  But they really are the loveliest toys in the world, provided you’ve got deep deep pockets and don’t need to get your house painted or anything mundane like that.

A friend of mine is particularly taken by the iPad “fish” application – damn sight easier than having your own pond at the bottom of the garden I guess, and with beautiful detail to boot.

I wandered outside the shop and wondered whether I could possibly buy the cheapest iPad – but decided against it. Reason had triumphed over desire, I could have bought one.  That’s because I’m pinning my hopes on other manufacturers bringing out affordable tablet machines based on the Android OS and actually having a lot more features than the Apple machine has.  I don’t care whether there’s an Apple logo on my machines, and I’m not rabidly anti-Mac – I’ve used Macs at many times over my rather lengthy tech career. Gizmos are such a responsibility.

Battery for electric bikeOne reason I didn’t splash out £429 is because I think that I would rapidly tire of my little toy and feel, perhaps in as little as a week or so, that it would be something I’d have to use, simply because it cost so much. That £429 is half the price I used for my favourite but scary gizmo of the moment, my electric bike.  Heck, look right at the lithium ion battery it uses – if this one ever explodes like the famous exploding Dell notebook battery in Japan – I really would get a fundamental surprise. It’s located just under the saddle. That’s a Crackberry on top of it so you can get an idea of the size.

There are other things militating against the iPad, or any other tablet for that matter. I’m not keen on devices without keyboards – there is something unsatisfying about a keyboard on a screen that doesn’t give back the satisfying feeling the keys do. And a notebook is, after all, designed so that you can set the screen at an angle, which is a much more satisfying way to type. For the same reason I never quite got on with those infra red keyboards that were around a few years ago, tapping your fingers on a table just doesn’t feel quite right. My desktop has one of those venerable IBM keyboards that really do make you feel like you’re some uber-typist in a virtual typing pool.

But I will buy a tablet to play with when the price is right. At the HMV shop the folks were also showing off a Galaxy Tab – and even though we’re promised larger screen sizes for those Samsung devices in perhaps a month or two, they seem to me to be even worse value for money than the Apple iPad.

In the next few months we’re going to have quite a range of devices at really very affordable prices, and until then I’ll just have to subdue my lust for the super expensive iPad and wait for them to come along.