This is a cautionary/therapeutic tale for those of you who, like me, have wrestled with a most horrible condition known as "tablet envy:" the desire to own your fellow man/woman's tablet device, despite the fact that you know you don't need it and you probably won't use it past the first week you buy it! You just really, really, really want one. Ergo, if, like me, you finally do decide to take the plunge and buy one, you may want to consider the approach I took which left me out only ~$50 shy of what I put into the venture when all was said and done.
Remember when Apple announced the iPad? I do. The name was a joke, people (including me) were bagging on it as being an over-sized iPod Touch, and the price was right on-par for Apple products (see: overpriced). Despite those points, I still wanted one. Why? Because, right on-par for Apple products, it looked attractive and I just wanted one, darn it! Plus, there were a number of apps from my iPod Touch that I wanted to see on a larger device. But I refrained, unable to justify the cost for something I felt would be an extremely temporary experience.
Fast-forward to about 2 months ago and I'd finally had enough. Since the launch of the iPad, a number of companies put out their own tablets at significantly lower price points than the iPad, so I decided it was time to do the deal and feed the monster inside of me that craved a tablet. And just what did I decide to buy, you ask? Good question! I went with a NOOK Color -- Barnes and Noble's version of a Kindle, essentially. But why would I go with a Kindle-like device if I wanted a fully-functional tablet? Because they're only $250 and there's an extremely active community of enthusiasts who have figured out how to install a custom Android mod on the thing.
Translation: For $250, you end up with an Android-powered tablet that's been compared (specs-wise) to a $500 Galaxy Tab. That said, while the NOOK Color has its shortcomings, if you're just shooting for appeasing your inner tablet monster and testing the waters, this is definitely the way to go. And, really, you can get in at less than $200 with all the work done for you of modding the NOOK Color if you just buy one pre-modded off of eBay, but that comes with risks all its own.
So, how did I end up out of ~$50? Well, put simply, I sold it to our very own social business guru, Rich Harris. I'm curious to see what he thinks about it, but as for me, I used the device for maybe two weeks straight. I loaded it with games, games, and more games. And you know what? I knew that's exactly what I was going to do! I knew that I wouldn't use it for reading ebooks, browsing the Web, productivity apps, or anything else. But I had stalled long enough and thought to myself, "You know what? I can get in at a reasonable price point and see if I actually will utilize the device for more than the games I have on my Android phone."
My favorite part of the device was using a Nintendo emulator on it. I mean, I loved all the games I played on it, but it was exceptionally great playing Nintendo games on a hand-held screen that size. However, I've never been a fan of soft-controls, so that limited me to only really enjoying games where you don't have to be a wiz on the D-pad (Ninja Gaiden, Contra, R.C. Pro Am, etc. -- those games are OUT).
So, that's about it! Quite underwhelming, isn't it? As you can see, I really had no business buying a tablet, and I knew it. But I still wanted one anyway, what with all the tablet stimuli out there these days. All-in-all, I've totally cured myself of tablet envy! Now, when I see someone with an iPad or something of the sort, I think to myself, "SUCCESS!" And that's about the time I look over at someone else who has some sort of gadget or doohickey I really want, despite knowing I probably wouldn't use it, either. What a vicious cycle gadget envy is, no? Anyone out there with a surefire cure for that? A bit of Buddhist philosophy, perhaps? :)
Now, how about you? I'm curious to hear any similar tales/experiences on the subject of tablets. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
-Stephen Chapman SEO Whistleblower Related Content:
Stephen is a freelance writer and blogger based in Charlotte, NC. His contributions to ZDNet cover topics related to security, gaming, Microsoft, Apple, and other topics of interest with a tech/SMB skew.