Would I buy an Android tablet?

Would I buy an Android tablet?

Summary: Would I want an Android tablet any more than I'd want an iPad (or a Web OS slate, for that matter)?


Yesterday, Andrew Nusca highlighted Verizon CEO, Lowell McAdam's, comments indicating that Verizon was working with Google on a new tablet. While Andrew speculated that this may have just been posturing to gain leverage with Apple in its i* carrier negotiations, it raises an interesting question: would I bother with a Google tablet any more than I've bothered with the iPad?

Before I go any further, I should stress that this post is all about me. It's not about the broader applications of tablet technology or areas where it makes sense. I'll save that discussion for my Ed Tech blog. This is just me, taking my musings public. If you want to take your own musings public, please talk back below and let me know how an Android tablet would work for you.

I'm actually a bit torn on the whole issue of tablets. I could imagine plenty of scenarios where a tablet would make a better quick portable computer than a phone, especially if anyone else might need to see what I'm seeing. However, I'm pretty tied to my phone. I'm certainly not going to give up my Droid Incredible. So then I'd get to carry another very portable (yet far less portable than my Droid) device with me?

Even if the Android tablet could make phone calls, I don't see myself giving up a device that slips in my pocket in favor of a tablet of any size. For me, I write too much to sacrifice a keyboard on the primary device I carry about. If I'm just surfing, reading, or messaging, my phone works very well. Otherwise, I need to write; perhaps I'm being old school about this, but to me, that means a keyboard. Like with keys. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the extraordinary speed with which I could send messages on my Droid, but even with Android's built-in text prediction, I think I'd be hard pressed to write a book (or even a lengthy blog post) without actual clicky keys.

So let's say that I found a good reason to get an Android tablet or become attached to it the way Jason Perlow has to his iPad. Then that leaves me with a phone, a tablet, and a laptop that I'll want to have around most of the time. Isn't the idea to have one converged device to rule them all? Even us gadget geeks have to draw the line somewhere.

So the short answer is probably going to be No. I won't snag an Android tablet. I might go for a Chrome OS netbook and my Android phone is the coolest thing since sliced bread, but the Android tablet? I don't think it's going to happen. Unless it turns out that I really am just an old fogie who needs to learn to type on an LCD as fast as I can type on a keyboard.

How about you?

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • You need an 11 inch tablet with folding keyboard. It MUST also replace the

    laptop if you are to carry it all the time. The tablet might also just be a home device to watch movies with you wife in bed, read news siting on your favorite easy chair, etc.
    • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

      11 inch tablet with folding keyboard? It is called netbook nowadays. Isn't it?
      • No, completely different animals. The tablet is an all-in-one unit, the

        keyboard is an accessory that you may or may not want. The tablet is super thin and lighter than a netbook, and has a touch interface by default.

        Can a tablet with an external keyboard and a stand replace a netbook. Sure.
      • @DonnieBoy

        If it has keyboard and touch screen, then it is called a hybrid not tablet.
        Ram U
      • Rama.NET

        @Rama.NET @DonnieBoy<br><br>Yeah, in what generation? Not much called Hybrid anymore as the re-use of the normal nomenclature is pretty common now-a-days. A "Tablet" is a laptop with a touch screen, always has been. The new devices are picking up the same term due to the onscreen keyboards. However, I think the term "Slate" is more appropriate for what we are discussing here, even though the marketing industry uses the word "Tablet" loosely. Bottom line.. yes, if touchscreen and keyboard, then it would be a tablet, or in our age as well, smartphone as it is much the same just smaller. If anything, the Hybrid would be the 7-10" slate device with GSM/CDMA voice capabilities for calling as well. I don't know who would hold a 7-10" "Tablet/Slate" to thier head to talk... but to each is thier own. I guess thats when the boothtooth market really picks up.
  • Any-Kind-of-Tablet

    According to my dear mother, when I was a kid, I used to analyze every purchase I made with my allowance. In detail. For hours. With an iPad or any tablet, I've done the same. I won a Kindle in a surprise drawing at a security conference. I sold it. I just don't read enough to justify carrying it around much less charging it weekly.

    Without a proper keyboard, the only text entry mechanism that makes any sense at all for longer text entry is Graffiti or something much like it. For that you need a stylus. And
    as we all, know, if you see a stylus, they've blown it.

    No, clearly what I need for book/magazine reading is simply a phone with a fairly large and high resolution screen and 3G (or 4G) and WiFi. To be productive, I'll forgo the tablet form factor for a laptop. With a keyboard.
  • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

    If only Apple would allow an external keyboard to work with the iPhone, it would pretty much obviate any need for a tablet for me !
    • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

      @hayamaguchi Yeah, all I need is something called an "iDock" or something. It would allow me to dock my iPhone and have a full keyboard, iPad-sized display (or larger) and USB ports for peripherals. I can only dream!
      • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

        @tonyhunterajh I share your dream! LOL !
      • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?


        I always tell my friends I will buy a smart phone when I can hook it up to a keyboard, mouse, and large monitor and run Photoshop on it. Someday...
    • iphone os 4.0

      i heard that support for bluetooth keyboards will be coming with iphone os 4.0
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

        @banned from zdnet
        That'll be great! Will keep an eye open for it!
  • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

    " Isn??????t the idea to have one converged device to rule them all?"

    There is your fallacy. There is no one device to do it all. And there will likely never be one. It is and always will be about trade-offs. What's more important to you. Portability or power? Talking or typing? Reading or creating?

    You need to spend less time looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, and more time understanding what and how you do what you do. That will lead you to the correct tool(s) for your job.
  • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

    I am much the same way for analysing purchases. For me, an iPad just didn't cut it for my needs.

    I needed:
    -Small form factor (for use on a city bus).
    -Install my current software.
    -Ability to watch video, in any format (yes...occasionally including Flash).
    -Read documents in a variety of formats.
    -Run virtual machines.
    -Note taking with pen (I tend to retain more hand-writing versus typing).
    -Keyboard, because you can type a lot faster than a touch interface.

    My choice: HP TouchSmart TM2. More than worth the extra bucks and few extra pounds, for me anyhow.
    • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

      I looked up that HP device and it sells as a notebook. Looks like a notebook as well. I suppose since the screen seems removable you could call it tablet esqe or something.

      Still the iPad was not made for someone like you.

      Install your current software..... Some how I doubt you have a lot of OSX based apps:P

      Flash... Well from what I've read about flash the best thing said about it is it's an old standard who's time has past but is still relevant. The justification being that it is relevant but even those reviewers admitted they did not like the product only put up with it. The worst things I've read about flash is it's buggy, a power/resource drain and it slows down the system using it. A big no/no to one of the huge advantages of the iPad which is its instant responsiveness.

      Run virtual machines... Yeah that's a key factor for a lot of consumers out there...NOT!

      Note taking with a pen.... in terms of mobility the stylus is just another device that can be easily misplaced and or lost.

      Keyboard... Again in terms of mobility it's just extra bulk.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

      Isn't that considered a notebook? If so then Apple would not expect a person looking for a notebook performance to consider an iPad but rather an iBook or perhaps a MacBook Pro. I hate to use this term but Apple's to Oranges here:P

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

    I tend to agree - I just don't see the usefulness of a tablet - never have. Maybe in niche markets. The iPad is the coolest so far, but still not worth carrying around. Frankly, I don't really get netbooks either... My phone does almost a good a job.

    I do like my clicky keys as well, but check this out - this is a design that might be worth it...:
  • Freud would have a field day with this one!

    It's obvious your Ego is in turmoil with your Id. The inner
    child wants the new toy, but the adult, with its higher
    level of reason, is saying "No, you don't really 'need' the
    new toy". It's all going to boil down to which one wins
    the argument.
    • RE: Would I buy Android tablet?

      What does "need" have to do with it? Take the iPod did anyone truly need an MP3 player? Same with the iPhone is it truly a need for most? Computers are another classic question since when is that a need? The list goes on and on and on. Want is American as Apple Pie and we use the term need simply to justify our wants and to be honest want almost always wins in this contest. We want to find or imagine a need for our wants.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Want almost always wins

        @James Quinn
        Which is exactly the reason why a large portion of our
        society is in debt over their ability to pay! We listen to
        the child, and ignore the adult, then attempt to justify
        the purchase with imaginary "needs".