Awhile back I asked when tablets would actually become useful pieces of work equipment. And when I wrote that article, I meant the question. While there are some people out there who can do most, if not all, of their work from the tablet, it’s probably not the easiest thing in the world. And, if we’re talking about the general public, then we know that a tablet isn’t going to do everything we need it to do for work, and sometimes not even close. So, as of right now, it looks like we’ve got to accept that our tablets are media consuming devices, and that’s their primary position in life. There isn’t anything wrong with this, but it does leave a new question: how media-connected to these devices have to be?
In talking to a few people about tablets, and what they’re looking for in purchasing one in the near future, it became pretty clear to me that they were only thinking about one, and that was the iPad. It became brutally obvious when they started going down the list of things they wanted: gaming, movies, music, and Web browsing. Before I move forward, let me just say that I know there are other tablets that have these things, but in the conversation “ease” and “accessibility” came up more than once, and only the iPad has all of these things readily available, when you want it.
After this conversation, I started thinking about just how connected these devices have to be. After all, these tablets are meant to consume media, and the only way to do that comfortably, is to have it available whenever someone wants it. There’s no doubt that Android, webOS, and iOS all have easily accessible ways to do this. However, there are always limitations. For iOS, you need iTunes to make use of that media – that’s just the nature of the beast. (And yes, some would say that this limitation is also the iOS-powered iPad’s strength, and that’s probably true.) With Android, music is accessible through the Amazon MP3 Store, and movies are accessible through the Android Market. But, in the case of movies anyway, content isn’t as robust as it probably should be, or what people want it to be. And then there’s webOS, where HP has its own Movie Store, but the content therein is sorely lacking.
So, these devices have access to these things. That’s great, and that’s more than likely what everyone is looking for in one way or another. But, when we look at comparing the Android-, webOS- and iOS-powered devices, and we look at only the media they are connected to, and have access to, it would seem to me that the general public only fancies the inter-connectedness between the iPad and iTunes, rather than Android and Amazon, or webOS and HP’s own product.
So how connected do these tablets have to be? Well, it really depends on the specific user. Just like with any piece of technology out there, pleasing everyone is a practical impossibility. And every manufacturer knows this. Even Apple fanatics aren’t pleased about everything that their iPad does, or doesn’t do; and the same can be said for any fan(atic) of any mobile OS. Not all of them are going to do everything we need or want, and that’s just the way of the world. Until they figure out how to make everyone happy, that is. For me, having a connected device is pretty important. Since I’ve been forced to realize that my tablets are meant to consume data, I want to be able to consume data whenever I want, and in as easy a fashion as I can. I also want options, so my libraries of music, movies, and TV shows have to be well stocked.
So how connected to these media libraries does your tablet have to be? And, if you haven’t purchased a tablet yet, is this something you’ve discussed with yourself (or others in your family)? When you use a tablet, do you want to watch movies, listen to music, or watch TV shows on it? Or play games? And the easier it is to get these things on your tablet, the better, right? Let me know what you think in the comments below.