Browsing the Internet on almost any phone is like pulling teeth, for me at least. That's really where the new generation of mobile devices come into play, tablets. Netbooks were the first step toward middle-ground between computers and smartphones, but the peripherals (tiny physical keyboards and mini touchpads) aren't ideal for a lot of work to be done from them. Probably the biggest drawback to netbooks being geared towards "on the go" is the fact that there is no instant-on feature. They are still full computers with tuned down specifications crammed into a smaller shell. There needed to be something more concrete to bridge the gap between the two technologies.
Enter the tablet.
The iPad wasn't the first attempt at "tablet" technology, but it was the first successful implementation. Now we're on the brink of a tablet outbreak and they're coming in all sorts of sizes, form factors, and sporting some of the hottest mobile operating systems on the market. The iPad carrying most of the weight of the tablet market right now, sitting at 95%, has got an army of competitors about to make their way to shelves and they're growing a lot of hype in the meantime. At any rate, there are still a lot of non-believers in 7-inch tablets, which the majority of them are.
The iPad, being the first new era tablet to surface, set the standard high with a beautiful 9.7-inch display. This has somewhat altered many consumers concept of tablets. I personally own an iPad for day-to-day use, and I do use it a lot. I generally take it with me most places that I go, whether I take it out of the car or not depends. I feel that it is just too big to take everywhere with me. I like to read every now and then, and the screen size is great. However, the weight and size come into play when I plan on using it for an extended amount of time. Holding the device in portrait and typing with two thumbs is uncomfortable and awkward. The only way to comfortably type on it is to prop it at an angle in landscape. Even then it isn't ideal. I, really we all, have been trained to type with our thumbs on touchscreens and I find myself trying to type more while holding rather than laying it down and typing. I have never been one to "peck" at a keyboard with one or two fingers.
Steve Jobs clearly debunked the idea of a tablet less than 9.7-inches, but was he right in saying what he said? No. Who isn't open to the idea of choices? Apple may have been the first to succeed in the tablet market, but that doesn't mean they know everything about it. I have had both the iPad and the Archos 5 (nevermind how painful that device was), and personally I see 7-inch tablets being the perfect tablet size. 5-inches was a bit small to comfortably use. It was a lot better than using my phone, but not nearly as great as using the iPad. Even though the iPad is awesome for browsing the Internet, that and watching videos are the only two things that really take advantage of the larger screen. The UI is a ton of waste real estate, and applications don't always use the majority of the display.
I love my iPad, but it just feels more like a "use around the house" type of device. I don't necessarily like lugging it around everywhere, and typing on it really isn't my favorite thing to do with it. Sure, I could buy a Bluetooth keyboard, but that adds to the bulk of carrying it everywhere I go. It is a great tool and it works perfectly for a lot of people. With the Galaxy Tab or the PlayBook it's narrow enough in portrait that you can hold it with two hands and type comfortably. The screens are still large enough to hold a large advantage over my phone at 4.3-inches, but not too big to make it a burden to carry around. 7-inches seems to be the sweet spot, but I won't truly know that until I have one in my hands. What say you? Is a 7-inch tablet too small or the perfect size?
Image via IntoMobile