Monday, November 19, 2007

Something I'm a fan of

A reader pointed out in email to me that in the recent posts that I'm quick to tell you what I'm not a fan of, and he asks, "So, what ARE you a fan of?"

With my posts about the iPhone and Kindle, while there's plenty I don't like about those devices, BUT! there's an undercurrent that I like and have been since I got into computers when I was a wee lad.

This weekend I found myself in Best Buy (hate that store, but ended up there because they were the only ones in town that had an Airport Express in stock) and I was on the verge of buying a handful of iPod Touch's. Why? Not for their music or video capability, but rather for their use as a low cost handheld wireless computer. With the forthcoming iPhone development initiative and the ongoing jailbreak/hacking on the platform, the Touch and the iPhone are two of the best products out there in terms of ubiquitous computing.

Sure there are Windows tablets out there. Heck, some guys even hacked MacBooks to be a touch tablet, but I'm looking for a low cost, small handheld in which the OS doesn't need to be worked with in order for users to use it.

Science Fiction has a neat social model for this - I'm referring to all the little tablets in Star Trek (TNG, DS9, etc.) ... they come in lots of shapes and sizes and nobody owns them. They are cheap, everywhere and disposable.

The Touch isn't perfect for this, but its really nice in terms of doing a little social experiments to see where it leads. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we're there yet, but I think we're headed there with products like this. There have been a few products that were close, but were missing some important ingredient - for example : Palm's last few tablets. They had the low cost part down pat, all they needed was wifi with the ability to run a browser like Opra, etc. and they could have nailed it years ago. I think the LifeDrive was a possibility, but they blew that as a near miss.

I think Apple is the best bet with their iPhone/Touch platform - and as many of you know, I'm still looking forward to Apple releasing the device that sits in the gap between the iPhone/Touch and the MacBook at MacWorld Expo in January.

Damn, there I go again. I'm such a tease. ;-)