Decade of tablets: A personal history

Summary:The tablet landscape is better than it has ever been. Having used tablets in my work for over a decade, it's amazing to look back to see how we got to this point.

Consumer, meet the tablet

ThinkPad x200 Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

When I changed careers in 2008 my needs for a tablet changed drastically. I no longer needed to write a high volume of notes using a pen. Once I became a full-time writer my focus changed from the pen to the keyboard.

I still used the ThinkPad x200 at first, as it was a great laptop in addition to the tablet function. While I was willing to put up with the heavy weight of the x200 when I needed to use the pen, it grew long in the tooth for tablet use just for writing.

I didn't have to put up with that heavy tablet for too long as Apple shortly introduced the iPad. I bought one immediately as my experience convinced me a tablet that concentrated on leisure activities was right for me. I wasn't alone, of course, as millions agreed with that and the age of the consumer touch tablet was born.

There weren't many apps for the iPad at first but that didn't last long. Like many others, I soon found I often had the iPad in hand for surfing the web, reading ebooks, and the like.

The second generation iPad 2 upped the game and I updated. Even though I was happy with the iPad 2, I couldn't help remembering how convenient the 5-inch Sony U-50 was to use.

That's why I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab as soon as it was introduced. The 7-inch tablet was a joy to use, although there weren't many Android tablet apps. Gradually that improved and the Galaxy Tab stayed with me for a couple of years.

ZAGGkeys Cover with iPad mini Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I kept using the iPad alongside the Tab depending on the functions I needed at a given time and where I needed to perform them. The Tab was the tablet I carried with me when running around given its great portability.

When the original Nexus 7 tablet was introduced I replaced the Galaxy Tab. The Nexus had great hardware and was even thinner and lighter than the Tab.

Once Apple launched the iPad 4, I bought one with integrated 4G LTE. I had experimented with using the iPad with a keyboard for my writing work and since it served me well it made sense to get an iPad with the ability to get online virtually anywhere. This combination has served me very well; I estimate I've written more than 100,000 words with this tablet.

I still like smaller tablets for a lot of things so I purchased an iPad mini when it was released. The intended purpose for the mini was to use mostly at home for leisure activities. It didn't take accessory makers long to produce workable keyboards for the iPad mini, and surprisingly I'm using it for writing about as much as I do the bigger iPad.

I like to keep up with other platforms so I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and really like it. It is a great tablet and Android apps have come a long way in functionality. I have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for a good small tablet.

Next: The now

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, iPad, Lenovo, Samsung, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.