A tablet rental service at baseball games is a bit silly, don't you think?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: July 22, 2011

Some have already written the tablet market off as a gimmick and vowed to never purchase one of the blown-up smartphones themselves. The argument is that you are getting little to no extra functionality over a pocket-sized smartphone and are paying roughly what a decent laptop would cost. Having owned about seven tablets or so now, I definitely understand where they are coming from and to an extent, I can agree.

Truth is, however, there are a lot of legitimate real-world uses for tablets and the market is here to stay, gimmick or not. People are running their businesses from them, schools are beginning to encourage students use them and even hotels are equipping rooms with the touchscreen slabs as a stand-in concierge service (restaurant reservations, room service orders and even temperature and lighting controls). There are a million things I'd rather do from a tablet versus my phone or computer.

But with this rapid growth and adoption of tablets, several people have taken their use a bit too far. According to a Press Release posted over at Phandroid, T-Mobile will be offering a tablet rental service to Los Angeles Angels attendees. That's right, for $10, you will have access to:

  • Free game-day program, optimized for viewing on the tablet -- an instant $3 added value
  • Free content from the Zinio magazine app, with the ability to read from a sampling of magazines during the game, including ESPN and many other popular magazines, drawing from Zinio’s library of more than 4,500 magazine titles.
  • Free T-Mobile TV (on the T-Mobile G-Slate only), providing content from popular TV shows. All regular free content, plus the "Select" package, regularly $4.99, is available as part of the game-day tablet rental
  • Access to T-Mobile’s blazing-fast network, powering fast video chat sessions with friends and family at home, and blazing downloads of rich media content

To be honest, all of this for $10 actually isn't a bad deal. But seriously? Isn't a tablet rental service at a baseball game a little bit silly?

The whole point of going to a baseball game – or any sporting event, for that matter – is to kick back, relax, enjoy the company and greasy food (maybe a beverage or two, it that's your bag). Maybe I'm just backwards for wanting to escape from my technology-driven life by going to hockey games and other types of events. I am known to tweet and hit up the book of faces during a commercial break, which is understandable. But for $10, I can imagine most people will opt to use their smartphones – which they are already paying for each month – instead. Or if most sports goers are like my mother at all, they will carry their own tablet … or two (not joking here) into the game.

I'll be the first to stand up for modern tablets and their worth – I love them, probably a little too much. And even a tablet rental service isn't a half bad idea … for school, work, hotels or even a coffee shop. In fact, I think it's a novel idea. Magenta and the LA Angels have something going here, but they're headed in the wrong direction and targeting the wrong people altogether. Anyone who has ever been to a sporting even will probably agree that most of those tablets, unless they're treated with an OtterBox, will be returned scratched and banged up at best, that is, if they are returned at all. Most will probably be forgotten under the seats and I'm sure an idiot or two will try (try being the keyword) to be sly and sneak out with their rented tablet. Booze, angry or excited fans and technology simply do not mix.

 What say you, pups? Are tablet rentals a good idea? What about at sporting events? Could you see this actually being a needed/desired service elsewhere?

Image via Zimbio