Posted tagged ‘HP’

Taking the tablets

August 22, 2010

Two months have passed since I acquired my Apple iPad, and so I have had a little time to explore whether this is the future of computing, or indeed of entertainment and mobile-everything. The verdict so far: I’ve been taking it everywhere, and have been using it principally as a notetaker at meetings, as a mobile internet browser and as an ebook reader, probably all three in equal measure. I occasionally (but more rarely) use it as a music device or as a viewer for video content, or as a tool for presentations (when linked to a projector). The combination of document creation and editing, and reading books, somehow makes it a perfect tool for an academic, as far as I am concerned.

So am I persuaded? Absolutely. There have been a few moments when not everything is as intuitive as I would like; for example, it took me longer than it should have to work out how to transfer documents between the iPad and my Macintosh, and indeed it somehow annoys me (not sure why) that I have to do this via iTunes. I also had to learn to switch off all wireless functions whenever I wasn’t using them, as they run down the battery much faster. But on the whole these are minor gripes. Overall, the device is doing everything for me that I wanted it to do, and as an ebook reader it is as close to perfect as I could wish for.

So what about the competition? Obviously, Apple didn’t invent the tablet concept, though it certainly has turned it from something that frankly wasn’t finding a market to something that is now visible everywhere. But there is no reason why others shouldn’t get in on the act. So far, I don’t see anything. But there are announcements. HP ha announced two different models for 2011, and LG (a company which often impresses with the visual style of its gadgets and equipment) has declared that it will shortly launch something that will be much better than the iPad – you can read a prediction here that it will fail in that perhaps rather bold ambition. Apple itself may be unveiling a new iPad or two early next year.

Competition is always good. And this user of a tablet at any rate is persuaded that the market for this kind of device is going to be big. Very big.

‘Gadget Man’ and his outlook on 2010

January 6, 2010

When I started this blog some 18 months ago, my more ambitious hope was that I would be recognised as a leading commentator on academic matters and on the growth of the knowledge society; and maybe as someone with something to say on arts and culture; and an astute political analyst – that sort of thing. So have my dreams come true? I don’t know, really. A couple of weeks ago I was introduced at an event as ‘an important blogger, with a special emphasis on technology and gadgets.’ Oh yes? Well perhaps that was correct, because this week I got an email from what the TV broadcasters like to call ‘a member of the public’ (how do you acquire membership?), which addressed me as ‘the key European expert on the Amazon Kindle’, in which capacity he was asking me for advice.

It is indeed true that my three or four posts on the Amazon Kindle have gathered more readers (from a global readership) than anything else I have written. But an expert? I own two Kindles, and am about to order another (see below), and indeed developed a workaround for using it in Ireland before Amazon was ready to let me do that – but an expert?

Oh well, maybe for the purposes of this post at least I shall throw away my intellectual, academic, artistic and political pretensions and present myself solely as a gadget enthusiast; indeed maybe that’s where my career should take me…

And 2010 looks like it will be a bumper year for gadget freaks. After all the gloom and depression of 2009, it seems like tech companies are anticipating that we will want to burst out of the recession this year and trade up in our gadget portfolios. First out of the gate is Google with its Nexus One smartphone, based on its own Android operating system. This has been anticipated for a while, and will attract some attention in part because everything that Google does is observed widely, but in part also because it will be analysed for its potential as an ‘iPhone killer’. In fact look at any of the reviews, and inevitably it is all about how the Nexus One compares with Apple’s market leader. I haven’t directly seen or held one of the Google gadgets – and indeed Irish customers will have to wait a little – but my prediction is that, lacking some of the iPhone’s versatility and the sheer volume of the applications available for it, it will not kill off Apple’s market dominance or indeed get anywhere close to doing so; but competition is always good.

Apple in turn is expected to announce a multi-media touch screen tablet computer, incorporating an e-book reader and possibly television capability, early in the year. No further information is available at this point, but you can expect a sleek, design-conscious versatile gadget. But that too will not be without competition, as Microsoft and HP are combining to launch their own tablet computer, and may in fact beat Apple to it. And in the meantime Amazon will provide the Kindle DX (which has a larger screen than the original Kindle) for customers outside the United States; and of course I have one on order.

In the meantime more traditional technology will decline. Nearly 26 years ago I bought my first CD player and, with it, my first CD, and the beauty and versatility of this technology just amazed me. And who would have thought that this innovation would be so short-lived, because right now the CD is in free-fall decline, as music downloads (lawful and unlawful) take over. And now we can observe how the music industry, and indeed musical artists, are scrambling to salvage some sort of business model from the resulting situation.

But there is one other gadget I have just acquired that I find exceptionally satisfying, but in this case in an extremely retro sort of way. I have splashed out and bought a Montblanc ballpoint pen. So I can say if you’re tired of new technology and want something quite special in a more traditional range, these pens are awesome. I can’t see them disappearing from the market, no matter what the tech companies do. And when I put my Montblanc just next to my Apple Macintosh PowerBook laptop, it creates a particularly pleasing image. Something old, something new.