Where Tablets Are Headed

Like a lot of people, I've been pondering the purchase of a tablet. The obvious choice is the iPad, but it has several new competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak. Perhaps more important than any gadget battle is how carrying around a seven-inch or ten-inch tablet (like the iPad) is going to change the way we think about the rest of our electronics. Tim Bray, a Google employee but honest blogger, posted 10 theses on tablets and it's quite a good read.

Bray argues, for example, that once you get used to the bigger screen of a tablet, your phone's touch screen starts to feel cramped.

As of now, I've been carrying the Samsung Galaxy Tab for a month, using it every day; this has included two major road trips. I suppose there are a few other humans who've had this much hands-on with a 7" form-factor tablet, but I don't know of any others with a blog and a free hand to write what they think. My experience with an iPad is much less, but non-zero. Also, anyone who hangs out in cafés in Pacific time and scores upgrades on a few international flights has lots of chances for iPad field observation. (Early finding: On airplanes, iPads are used for reading magazines and playing lightweight games.)...

I'm increasingly convinced that the common 3.5"-or-so form factor, as in the iPhones and the Nexus One, is unnecessarily small. While I totally love the high pixel density of both those devices, I think that the extra real estate offered by current products like the new Droids, HTCs and Samsungs trumps that.

Based on my hands-on with Evos and Droid X's, even a little unsqueezing of web pages and emails really makes a big difference. This is particularly true when you've gotten used a tablet; your phone display starts to feel cruelly small and stupid.

I'd be surprised if the iPhone form factor didn't start to creep up a bit next year. Where does it stop? Might the standard pocket phone of the future look like the Dell Streak?

Read the full story at TBray.org.