Look at the above image. Just look at it. It’s a guy holding a tablet to his head like a phone. And that’s the manufacturer’s suggested use (the advertising campaign is “Talk to Your Tablet”).
The image, in case you don’t speak watermark, is from an AndroidCentral piece where a guy tests out the 7-inch ASUS “Fonepad.” It’s from a category of devices known derisively around the Internet as “Phablets.” At least, I hope that term is meant to be derisive.
The thinking behind them is pretty clear, if clearly misguided. Tablets can be too big and awkward-shaped to lug around, phones can be too small to meet all intended productivity and entertainment uses, so device manufacturers are wondering if they should meet in the middle. You know, where all the roadkill is.
The problem is, we end up using larger devices for tasks the much smaller devices can handle perfectly and portably.
It’s reminiscent of the whole “using an iPad as a camera” embarrassment.
Our office is right by the Boston’s historic Old State House), where the Boston Massacre happened, where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the city…and visitors are constantly tiling that thing by using iPad’s as phones. From a distance, the building can look shingled in Apple tech.
I’m sure it’s nice seeing the image large and retina-displayed…but you don’t need that until you get home. The real thing is right there in front of you in real-life resolution. And if you have an iPad, I’m assuming you already have at least a smartphone, probably a smartphone and a camera, too. So why is the iPad so many people’s go-to camera? I guess I need to ask somebody the next time I seem them covering up the Boston Massacre site just to take a picture of it.
All joking aside, I’m assuming these two instances are just mobile device growing pains. Technology companies are trying to figure things out, consumers are trying to figure things out. Nobody (except maybe Google) knows quite where the starting point is to the ideal of not being encumbered by hardware at all.
And the downside of it is we look pretty dumb in the interim.
But that might be okay. I mean, our evolutionary antecedents probably looked pretty ridiculous the first time they flopped out of the water onto dry land, too.
Except they still had to evolve common sense. We don’t have that excuse.