Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas and Other Predictions Revisited and Other Consumerist Musings

Back in the glory days of 2007 I predicted that a Blu Ray or an HD-DVD player would be an awful present as the format war had not yet been resolved (so your chance of getting the right format was only 50/50) but I also predicted the winning format would be obsolete soon thereafter as people would increasingly download their content. Frankly, I think I was right on that. Increasingly people are forgoing DVDs or Bluray or any physical media at all and are opting to stream their media (whether for pay or not, legally or not is a different matter). And netflix has been leading the charge.

In that same blogpost I rescinded a previous prediction that SmartCars would be a failure. I think I was too hasty to withdraw. SmartCars had an initial spark of enthusiasm but have since struggled for relevance as everyone has concluded that they suck.

The other thing that has been vexing me is the differing sizes of the tablets out there. The iPad is the standard at 10 inches basically resembling a netbook in size. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is 7 inches and the Dell Streak is only 5 inches. The Dell Streak to me could actually be more of a really large smart phone. The Droid X is 4.3 inches and I wouldn't characterize it as unwieldy. It's funny, the trend was to have the sleekest smallest form factor possible. But since the iPhone the trend has been to get as much screen space as your pocket will fit. But I digress. To me, the iPad is neither fish nor fowl. It is too large to be truly portable or much more so than a netbook. It doesn't really replace my normal computing needs as I do fiddle a lot with spreadsheets and like to run things at the same time. The one thing about the Galaxy tab is that it is a little more portable (maybe it can fit into your coat pocket but not your pant pockets). It could probably replace your GPS without obstructing your view like an iPad, though your smartphone could do the same. I don't quite get the tablet thing though I know a lot of people that have and love their iPads (I can't say the same for the Samsung Galaxy tab or any other android tab). I don't know where I come out on this. I have heard the tablets described as platforms for new applications that aren't really available today but that these newer form factors will facilitate (book-textbook size with touchscreen). I can imagine them in a health care or educational context of being very useful. In college you could see a math textbook slowly evolving into an interactive module that will interrupt you mid formula as you are going down the wrong path in a problem.

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