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January 29, 2011 / Danii Oliver

Tablets

The time has come to make a era specific decision. Stay in the dark-ages not able to read a good book or text in the middle of the night due the the lack of a light source or get a tablet because holding a laptop in bed is heavy and annoying? Not to mention, albeit I am fond of reading on my phone it doesn’t help that not all things I want to read are designed to to be viewed optimumly on the smart phone 320pixel – 480pixel screen.

I can fix that by creating mobile sites for everyone which I am working on but I haven’t found a way to get to all the decision makers on that as yet.

Thus while the process is underway I am not able to partake in an adventure of Sherlock Holmes or learn a new computer language. This is most annoying when I can’t sleep at night yet my mind is to tired to sit up designing or coding something. What is also most undesirable is that the book I want to read Design Patterns and my favorite magazine Flash and Flex, I only have or can get as PDFs, which aren’t designed for mobile screens so I have to keep pinching and zooming and zooming and pinching. Ahhh! Even my app-books are unpleasant to read on the phone. I can’t just read even a full paragraph I have to swipe every 2-3 sentences.

While some books are well designed for mobile and I myself as a designer can make sites more mobile phone reader friendly. It’s not there yet and I am growing impatient. So to all web publishers out there, If you are interested in making your site more mobile phone reader friendly, hire Danii Oliver to design and develop the flex user interface for better current user experience. Why? Because tablets are expensive and not economically viable as yet.

How long will tablets lasts? They cost anything from $400-$600. Will they have a five to six year life span or will they be like computers and cellphones optimally lasting only 1-2 years? I would love to get one and although from my stand point it would service the dual purpose of reading pleasure and increased competitiveness as a developer I still would have to dish out $600 plus monthly fees to get online about $60 with a Clear hotspot on lease or $200 plus $55 per month.

Then I still have to pay for my books. And will they be portable to my computer when convenient for me? Will my books live in the cloud not longer on my bookshelf or will they be stuck on that one device? Yeah there is the option to get a nook but those don’t have the flex ablity to read emails and online magazines or PDFs. I also need to sign documents.

The fact is that tablets may only last as long as cellphones last. That’s not a good lifespan for the price on top of still needing a phone (because whose holding a tablet to their ear & no I’m not buying another ear piece). Plus there’s the added con that while it’s great to have e-books because they are green and cheaper the cheaper part goes out the door. If I spent $100 on books annually now I must spend $600 (tablet) + $720(wifi) + $80 ( e-book discount) for only two books. My book budget just jumped a thousand percent. And next year in stead of needing to buy a $50 bookshelf I have to buy the next latest and greatest tablet that has improvements that make this years device seem like it was formed from rock and chisel.

Tablets are great don’t get me wrong I went through college with a tablet pc and I was the most technologically advance student – well personal – in all of the four campuses I attended. But that was a full computer that was also a writing tablet with a wireless card, decent processor lots of memory and all the great capabilities of a full computer. However it is heavy, hot, and was built before i-drives thus battery life sucks. The upside WAS that e-textbooks cost $11-$30 then. Very much more affordable than the $100-$300 cost of the paper versions.

However, although publishers don’t need to charge as much now because there are no paper, ink, binding, shipping requirements or stocking, storage and display fees they are now charging closer to the paper versions $60-70 e-book $90-$120 paper. Increasing the cost of text written and published once. The direct benefit is being taken away by publisher greed. Some don’t even offer the online or e-book version for more than 45-90 days. Forcing us to still have to buy the printed version.

Where a device like tablets stand to help in life, publishers and tablet manufactures are making it difficult. Increasing the cost of visibility and limiting the length. Books are free at the library. Why can’t they be free or low cost online.

Speaking of which which can one read e-books or check out e-books from the library? Oh so much. I will write a proposal for that feat next.

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