In my first post on this subject I covered the differences between old and new style tablet devices, I will now cover my experiences with a new style tablet device that I am currently using.
The Asus Transformer is slightly different to a standard tablet device, whilst fully functional as a tablet it also comes with a keyboard dock, this dock also contains USB ports and an extra battery (meaning the device can last up to 16 hours. Having used an on-screen keyboard on my phone, I anticipated that I would find the “real life” keyboard highly useful for any text entry. However after a few days of use I find myself undocking the keyboard more often and using the on-screen keyboard quite happily for short emails and casual web browsing. It is however; incredibly useful to know that I have the option to connect the keyboard and type more comfortably for a longer period (I am typing this using the keyboard).
Most of my computer use at home involves the TV on in the background and a laptop on a sofa. Since using the transformer the laptop has now been replaced for the majority of the casual browsing (an added bonus is that I can remotely control the TV from the transformer). I find the device much more comfortable to use in an informal setting, compared to the previous laptop, with the lightweight and low heat nature of the device a bonus. Because the transformer runs on android, I can use the web to its full potential flash movies and apps run as quickly as a normal computer. Therefore, general web use seems comfortable and more important; due to design features, natural, perhaps even more so than a laptop.
One thing I didn’t predict when using the device was its attraction to my 15 month old daughter. At first I was reluctant to let her near as I didn’t want to damage it, but I then found the kids section in the marketplace which contains many child specific games and educational apps. I downloaded a few of the free versions and let her play under close supervision; amazingly she caught on quite quickly and was able to grasp the concept of touching the screen and dragging items from one side to the other.
Below are some pictures of my daughter using the tablet, and also some screen-shots of the application she was using.
Its very interesting that a 15 month baby who struggles to hold things in her hands can drag virtual items across the screen. For me this highlights quite how natural the touch screen interface is, and makes me wonder why we have been spending years trying to force our minds around keyboards and mice.
Considering the conclusion that these devices seem to be very natural and can be comfortably used in a casual remote setting. My Final blog posting on this topic will cover how these tablet devices can be used for eMarking.