Mobile Computers And In-Between Devices


It’s been about a month since I moved to Apple’s phablet model, and I haven’t used my iPad once. I’m seriously starting to re-examine where each computing form factor fits.

Obviously everybody has different needs for these things and uses them in different ways. This is just my own slice of life with these devices as they change the way we get and use software.

I guess the most pertinent question here is “why do you use a tablet?” Maybe a bunch of people take tablets with them everywhere. Maybe a lot of people really do use tablets as the new laptops like in all Microsoft’s recent commercials. For some reason though I don’t. I pretty much just used mine at home where a computer or TV is always accessible. In a way I’m back at the state a lot of people were in immediately following Apple’s announcement of the original iPad, asking where it fit in the mobile computing scheme. It’s an in-between device, and I think phablets have highlighted this fact.

Phones fit in your pocket and can now run almost any kind of software you can imagine. People still need the power and mouse interface of full computers for more hardcore work. A tablet is literally phone hardware with more screen real estate. My moving between iPad models has really just been the search for the right amount of screen real estate. I went big with the original iPad, then smaller with the Mini, and now smaller again with the iPhone 6 Plus. I don’t know about you, but I really do feel like the 5.5″ screen is some kind of sweet spot. In my experience the tablet is literally just a digital reading device because I’d still rather work on a full laptop or desktop, and this 5.5″ 1080p screen is just clear enough for me to read long-form content while still fitting in my pocket. I already went over comic book reading on this thing, but it works equally well for the news and even magazine articles. The size preference for reading is different for everyone though. I get that. I’m just saying I think I’ve settled into a place where I think I only need a phablet and a full computer (and another beefy PC for gaming).

My only fear right now is missing out on tablet-only software. I’ve noticed it’s a trend among mobile strategy games like FLT or The Banner Saga for instance. I just hope some of them can eventually adjust to the 5.5″ screen, I think it’s big enough. Most such software is also on PCs though so I’m not too worried.

I’ll go ahead and admit Microsoft might be on to something in its attempts to get full-blown Windows onto smaller devices. I’ve already talked about the gaming-related implications for this, but it could make those devices huge for mobile productivity too. I just wish they weren’t saddled with Microsoft’s weak mobile software ecosystem.

In any case, the next three or four years might reveal the clincher for these transitions in people’s computer use.


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