Yesterday I had a briefing with Facebook. Despite being something of a tablet skeptic (you may have noticed), I asked what the company is doing to address such devices. The answer, it appears, is not a lot.
I was told touch.facebook.com is good for tablets, but that version of the site was cobbled together for smartphones. There's no particular exploitation in there of the tablet form factor, which you'd think would lend itself to interesting new gesture commands, and so on. But no, "we have nothing to announce at the moment".
Can't say I'm surprised. I'm seeing a real lack of proper tablet apps out there. That's not to say there's any lack of tablet apps in general — plenty of those out there — but where are the truly useful apps that could only make sense on a tablet? Blown-up smartphone apps don't count.
When I ask this question in conversation with tablet converts — specifically iPad converts — the one that almost always gets mentioned is Flipboard, an app that creates a personally-curated e-magazine, taking in feeds from Facebook, Twitter et al (Facebook developer relations chief Doug Purdy says this is how he interacts with his Facebook account). For sure, Flipboard is very much something that can only work with a tablet's screen size, but it would be a stretch to call it useful, unless you have very few contacts.
What else is there? As I say, I'm a tablet skeptic, but I am open to suggestions. Tell me what is out there that really validates the existence of this entire product category. I'm dying to hear it.
PS — When I went hands-on with Asus's Eee Pad Transformer, I did grudgingly find myself rather liking the thing. That might have something to do with Android Honeycomb, an OS that actually does take advantage of the tablet form factor (unlike, say, iOS) and it may have to do with the fact that the Transformer appears to represent an effective middle ground between the laptop and tablet. I suspect, though, that the real reason I like it is nostalgia: yes, folks, it may use Tegra 2 rather than Snapdragon, but what Qualcomm once dubbed the Smartbook has finally arrived on a shelf near you!