An Android coffee table looks like a cool idea, just not in my house

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| February 13, 2014

It isn't hard to see that what we consider to be mobile technology is quickly spreading to be of use in other aspects of our lives. It would seem like companies behind major mobile operating systems are trying very hard to make entire households function under one happy OS. Not only do entire families use iOS, Android and Windows on their mobile phones, but they are also on tablets, TVs, computers, and even refrigerators, washers and dryers, and more. There is a very real, yet subtle, push to try and unify all household things with technology. 

So I guess you could say I wasn't exactly surprised to come across an article talking about a new way to bring Android into the home, and that's through you average, everyday coffee table. Your average everyday coffee table that can now be powered by Android thanks to 3M and Ideum, called the Platform Multitouch Coffee tables, which comes in 46 and 32-inch variants.

Although a strange idea, it's really kind of cool in my opinion. Maybe a little odd in design - I certainly wouldn't be trying to put any coffee or liquids on it, personally - but still pretty cool. I don't see it so much as a coffee table rather than a large, horizontally placed computer. A very expensive large, horizontally placed computer, but hey, it's not something you see every day. I actually could see this concept being rather appealing, give or take some design changes.

As it stands right now, this really is just a tablet that could also potentially serve as a coffee table. The commercial doesn't show much other than what you can do with Android using the table, but I think it needed to show more of how it also serves well as a coffee table. For example, in one segment of the commercial there was a woman who was playing Angry Birds while a cup of coffee was resting peacefully on the corner. In my world, I would have forgotten all about the coffee and would have probably knocked it over. How well does the table tablet handle this sort of situation? Everybody knows liquids and electronics don't go over well, so I feel like if they really wanted to sell the product for the hybrid that it is, they would have also wanted to make an emphasis on how serving as a coffee table that actually holds coffee won't actually pose as an immediate death threat in the case that something spills.

The other thing that I feel holds this idea back is the fact that the table doesn't pivot vertically. I think that could have really made the product stand out. The horizontal form of the table is good for things like maps, children's apps, games and a whole lot more, but one of the most important aspects of a tablet or a smartphone is being able to watch movies and videos via applications like Netflix or YouTube. To comofortably watch these videos, nobody wants to hover over the table. It's uncomfortable, it's impractical. By allowing the coffee table to pivot into vertical mode, you've got yourself a solid and versatile all-in-one entertainment system.

Of course, the last thing that I think this interesting household appliance needs is a price drop from $6950. That's going to run you over $7000 with taxes for a big tablet that's always stuck in landscape mode. You could spend a lot less on a larger TV plus a new smartphone that you can connect to it and essentially do the same thing for a lot less. I mean, you can't touch it from the convenience of your couch, but I guess that all depends on how much you're willing to spend on such a product. It's also worth mentioning that the tablet table also still runs on Android 4.1, so if you're big on keeping updated this table probably isn't for you. 

I can't lie, I would actually really like to have one of these in my house. Unfortunately, my own clumsiness combined with my tot's need to destroy everything he possibly can would probably put this purchase in the "Maybe One Day When I'm Retired" category. For now, it will just be an interesting concept to keep my eye on and see whether it actually evolves past this point or not.

Readers, what are your thoughts about the Android-powered coffee table? Would you spring the money for it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

via Hacks & Stuff