In Defense Of Tablets

   Before I begin, let me point out that this post will be a form of obvious self-justification. With the recent announcement of the Nexus 9, I asked myself, “do I really want to part with my much-loved Nexus 7?” After all, it has been somewhat of a journey for me to get to it in the first place.

   I started with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, back in the days of Android Honeycomb. I quickly grew a hatred of Samsung’s TouchWiz and began searching for an alternative. At the time there was much chatter about the first generation Nexus 7. I wondered if I could give up a 10-inch display for a 7-inch one. After all, I reasoned, half of the point was to have the ability to use the same apps I use on my cell phone but with a larger, more beautiful display. Fortunately for me, a close friend purchased the Nexus 7 and allowed me to take a test drive. I quickly fell in love, sold my Galaxy Tab 10.1, and grabbed the Nexus 7. I was so happy that I did.

   For me, the 7-inch form factor offers the perfect amount of screen space without the extra bulk of the 10-inch display. This is most useful when doing things like reading in bed – for me, 10-inch tablets are just simply too large for this. This explains why, when looking to get away from TouchWiz, I first considered the Nexus 10, but ended up with the 7.

   I quickly noticed that I was spending more time on my Nexus 7 than on my phone. Although I could install and run nearly every app on my phone that I could on my 7, for me the screen real estate made all the difference. This was especially important when it came videos  – a’la YouTube or Netflix for example. As for me, I literally hate watching videos, much less movies, on a cell phone screen. Yes it’s awesome and cool that we’ve come this far technologically that this is even possible, but watching anything longer than a short clip on a phone is literally painful to me. I have friends who talk to me about the high amount of mobile data they consume monthly by doing so – it’s beyond how they watch so much on a cell phone screen.

  I also noticed that my desktop / laptop usage had plummeted as well. Since I do most things using cloud computing tools such as Google Drive, over time I’ve found less and less need to be planted in front of a PC or laptop. I could do nearly everything from my Nexus 7.

   Then, it evolved…. Then came the 2013 Nexus 7. I promptly sold my first generation device to cover the purchase price of this new hotness. Front-facing camera and, thinner, lighter. I’ve been more than satisfied with it.

   As we reach the latter half of 2014, I’ve been by hearing more and more chatter regarding waning interest in tablets regardless of their size. As more and more devices are released entering the Phablet arena, it seems that many people – especially those in the tech community – no longer see the need to own a tablet. In fact, this point has been brought up more than once on one of my favorite Net Casts – TwiT’s All About Android – by hosts Ron Richards and Gina Trapani. Each have noted a lack of interest with pretty much any news regarding new updates or new releases of any tablet.

   Truth be told, I kind of felt the same recently with my newly acquired Oppo Oneplus One. I even posted about the fact that, once I got it, I noticed that I was spending more time on it and ignoring my Nexus 7. However, the fact is that once the “oooo- shiny!” effect of the Oneplus wore off, I went back my to my normal self: using my phone as a phone primarily and using my tablet for everything else.

   Bottom line for me is simply this – yes I will be selling my 2013 Nexus 7 to cover the cost of getting the new Nexus 9. Yes I still think tablets have a place in the mobile device arena primarily for the usages I listed above: specifically, the fact that I simply can’t watch videos of any significant length on a cell phone or phablet, and I feel the same when it comes to the use of productivity tools. I still feel the 10-inch form factor is a bit too big, and the 7-inch is near-perfect. Could the 9-inch (well, actually 8.9-inch) display be the true sweet spot? Well, I will find out because I will be purchasing the Nexus 9. Not to mention, I didn’t even talk about the awesomeness that is Android Lollipop….

  So where do you stand with tablets? Do you think they are a dying breed, or do you look forward to each new incarnation? Please feel free to comment below!


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