By Jared Newman | Friday, February 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Another day, another tablet with a 9- or 10-inch screen.
The latest rumor from Pocket-Lint is that Samsung is about to announce a 10.1-inch Android tablet, running Honeycomb. It’ll reportedly have a dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera — the usual stuff.
But what happened to Samsung’s appetite for smaller tablets? Was the Galaxy Tab sized at 7 inches simply due to the unavailability of proper tablet apps, and the relative ease of blowing up smartphone apps to a 7-inch screen?
When it comes to the new wave of tablet operating systems, hardware makers seem to be eschewing the 7-inch form in favor of tablets that are, well, more iPad-like. HP’s TouchPad has a 9.7-inch screen and nearly the same dimensions as Apple’s iPad. (A smaller version is rumored, but I wouldn’t count on it for a long time.) Motorola’s Xoom has a 10.1-inch widescreen. LG’s G-Slate is just a bit smaller, with an 8.9-inch display.
That leaves Research in Motion’s Blackberry Playbook. It’s a promising little 7-inch tablet, but it runs an entirely new operating system with no pre-existing app ecosystem. A lot could go wrong, and there’s no other 7-inch tablet to save the day.
Maybe hardware vendors were too easily persuaded by Steve Jobs’ anti-7-inch tirade, but I’m not. The iPad has been wonderful to me, but it’s not always the right tool for the job. Sometimes I want a tablet that fits comfortably in one hand for reading. Other times I want to play a video game in which two thumbs can cover the width of the touch screen.
I could be in the minority here. After all, the iPad has been a smashing success, and I can’t fault hardware makers for trying to follow Apple’s lead. But if tablets are really the future of personal computing, they can’t be one-size-fits-all.