Saturday, December 03, 2011

Tablets do rule!

Having just returned from Europe's largest conference on 'technology supported learning and training'  Online Educa in Berlin I have to report that 'Tablets in whatever guise they come do appear to be becoming the device that is taking over. Of the 2000 delegates and presenters there were an increasing number who have given up the use of even the slimmest laptop/net book for the easy to use tablet/smartphone solution.
I deliberately place tablets ans smartphones together because as I have found the Android device that I use is the same in all practical aspects as my HTC Hero smartphone. The main difference for me is the larger screen/keyboard on the tablet screen, enabling me to make notes without the requirement of switching to reading glasses!
It was interesting that a colleague of mine, who as we all have been is attached almost umbilically to a laptop, was heard to say in the taxi to the airport that a Tablet would be her next purchase as the advantages did appear to outweigh the disadvantages. I am sure that this was not the only such comment being made over the time of the conference.
For me it was the first full test of the device in a full conference setting, where did it win:
* Battery life - having the tablet with me from a 9.30am Plenary through to a 5.30 pm debate session, taking notes and pictures throughout the day there was still 20% battery. No longer the requirement to search for power outlets.
* Ease of use - the tablet is a much more user friendly device in a conference, small, lightweight, cool on the lap and easy to switch between apps. I was able to take notes which were uploaded to a Dropbox along with images of the often endless Powerpoint presentations. The device allowed all of the usual 'backchannels' of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email ... in addition to certain points when decent into Angry Birds was called for in order to disippate frustration ( Peter Nowak!).
Where did it not work so well:
* Keyboard - the on screen keyboard though large enough can be a little tedious for long text.
* Android and W/P - Androids do not come with a basic W/P package and rely on the download of a few compatible apps, which is an irritation ( unless anyone knows better).
For me apart from a frustration which occurs at most 'Tech Conferences' , the issues with wifi in general not being able to cope with 2000+ users all of whom want good connection speeds....... the tablet is certainly a step change on from my previous Asus netbook, which as many of you will know I was very attached to.
I would be interested to hear if this is the feedback that others are getting from colleagues.

1 comment:

Allanah King said...

I took both my iPad and MacBook Air to our last 1500 strong Ulearn conference. Call me old school but I still preferred my Air to the iPad. For speed of input, similar battery life and the fact that when the internet crapped out I could use my T-Stick to get internet through USB on the Air and not be tethered to a shared connection.

And that whole multi-tasking thing still isn't quite there yet on the iPad.