The problem(s) with tablets…

We all love the idea of tablets, and I have gone on about them recently (eg here). What I would do in this post is point out the four things that I think are wrong with all tablet devices (yes even the holy iPad).

I believe that in the future we will look back in amusement on these first wave of devices due to deficiencies with:

  • Screen
  • Keyboard
  • Battery life
  • Single-user experience.
I explain what I mean below…


I believe I want a 7″ screen (roughly) for book reading and portability; all the iPad users know 10″ is best. What we actually want is something mocked up in an advert showing in the UK for (I think) sports TV where a guy walks into a bar (sounds like a cue for a joke!) and takes a widescreen TV off a wall, folds it down to 10″ size to watch then later it gets folded to smaller size for the pocket / viewing whilst walking and then later unfolded again to allow a wide audience to watch. The advert is all about multiple devices one source of content, but I really want the folding screen!
Sony are due to launch a Nintendo DS like split screen tablet but that isn’t enough


Tablets have no keyboard – this may suit nimble fingered 10″ users but anyone like me that gets 1/4 of the characters wrong on a smartphone needs more. What about the partially sighted? Haptic feedback by vibrating is not enough. What’s my answer? Magic folding keyboard or even proper voice control for a start

Battery Life

Where are fuel cells? It’s 2011 – my phone limps through two days if I turn off features and I have installed a bigger battery. When will we measure power in weeks not hours? Sort it out

Single User Experience

My biggest grip and one that is not in the interest of the industry to fix (they sell more devices) is the user experience. My home PC has accounts for me and the rest of the family; we log in and get our mail, browser favourites and so forth. If I have a table set up for Twitbook, email and the rest and pass it around then:
  • I lose any right to confidentiality
  • The other user needs to wipe my settings to get to their email (&c.)
  • They could impersonate me.
None of this is desirable to I expect in most homes the tablet ‘belongs’ to one main person with others being able to use to browse the web. Not good enough!

About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Lead Writer for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

2 Responses to The problem(s) with tablets…

  1. Marsdaddy says:

    (4) is my biggest gripe, but I think it’s deliberate. Perhaps multi-account platforms only make sense when they are tethered. I think of my iPad as a kind of PDA, tablets just need to be cheaper so we can all have them.


    • HelmStone says:

      (4) annoys me as it is systemic. The battery point in (3) is just entrenched interests in the battery world IMHO


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