Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
There's been a lot of discussion of the different size touch screens for a tablet; the necessity (or lack of) a full QWERTY kb; and the OS (iPhone OS X vs Mac OS X).
A lot of that discussion revolves around people that think the know how they will use a device. They may not have practicle experience though so their demands are wanting.
Previously I posted that a pack of 3x5" index cards was about the right size for a device with a 6" diagonal (approx) display that would slip into a shirt or pants pocket. This size would give a 800x480 pixel display if it used the iPhone resolution of 163 ppi.
Yes an interesting size but not significantly larger than the iPod Touch. I've favored a larger format around the dimensions of a paperback book. This gives you a larger screen in a size people are familiar with and are willing to carry arround with them. The screen would be closer to 7" in diagonal depending on the aspect ratio choosen.
There are a couple of reasons for this size. One; the screen would present about as much info as a paperback book, thus ideal for a huge catalog to be converted to ebooks. Second; the size allows for more PC board space for an additional flash chip while at the same time offering up a lot of space for a battery. Third; as has been alluded to the size is accepted by people for portability. People carry paperbacks everywhere, yeah it is a tight fit in some pockets but that has never stopped people if there was something they wanted to read. Finally; the size is big enough that gives people a choice over the current Touch size.
Think of it as iPod Touch Trashy Novel size.
But it would still have a smallish touch screen kb.
Freting about the keyboard makes little sense, especially if the device is targgeted at the consummer market. It just isn't that important on a device designed to consume media.
Now look at what Nokia is doing with this [display] size:http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/08/19/nokia.n900.reviewed/
By enclosing the 800x480 display in an expanded case they have allowed room for a slide-out QWERTY kb. Whether this is full-sized or somewhat under-sized is difficult to tell. And while you may be able to stuff it into a pocket, it appears very bulky.
oh come on if you can't tell that that keyboard is substandard you aren't looking objectively. As to bulk what did you expect from something with two housings? Slide out keyboards are stupid on devices you want to carry in a pocket. Apple is on the right pathe here but they do need to get down to 3/8" thickness. It is a constant battle between thickness and battery life but a larger device should allow for a thinner but high capacity battery.
What is interesting here though is Nokia and their N800 series which I seriously considered buying befor going the iPhone route. Unfortunately it was like Nokia had a good idea in a tablet but no sense at all about what should go into the electronics. The thing was ham strung with far to little flash memory and honestly RAM could have been better too. Video performance kinda sucked also. The key to these devices is to have as much inboard flash memory as possible, it is a key element in making the devices useful.
It looks like on the N900 they are trying to learn from their mistakes. The problem is by the time the N900 comes out 32GB of flash won't be enough. Nokia needs to debut with bleeding edge features to regain interest, especially in a bulky device like the N900. That is hardware then they have all sorts of software issues to address. In the end Nokias N series devices seem to be like Apples AppleTV with far to little effort put into the product.
Then there were discussions about a larger, say, 10" diagonal screen size. Someone posted that folding an 8.5x11" sheet of paper in half yielded a surface that would support a screen with an (approx) 10" diagonal.
Honestly I think the two sizes in common discussion serve two different needs and two different users.
For comparison, I have a hard-copy of Grisham's book "Bleachers" which is just slightly larger and about 5/8' thick... a very comfortable size. It is a nice size display for reading (books) and easily supports 16:9 or 16:10 video. While it wouldn't fit into a standard pocket, it would nicely handle a full-sized QWERTY kb on the display (move a few keys).
So we are back to the keyboard now! Let me just say there is no such thing as a full sized on screen keyboard. What you say, to which I reply full size keyboards are three dimensional. Anybody that talks about an on screen keyboard as a full size replacement hasn't thought about it in depth.
It is apparrent that Apple has from their patent fillings but I'm not convinced there is a two dimensional solution that replaces a real keyboard. Some of this feeling comes from experience with on screen keyboards in industrial apps. In the end people punt and screw a real keyboard inplace on the machine.
So, maybe, this size solves a lot of user needs/complaints for a full-sized kb.
Nope it will just generate more complaints especially if people get the dumb idea that the platform can replace a laptop. As to the ten inch model Apple might be able to actually produce this with a viable slide out keyboard if they can concentrate the electronics and battery into a third of the housing. With unibody tech they have the potential to do this ruggedly and keep the device thin.
Then there is this:http://www.macnn.com/blogs/2009/07/2...in-patent.html
If I understand this correctly, it may offer the best of both worlds for a tablet:
1) front surface, full-screen touch display with capability to type or draw with fingers or stylus
2) back surface, full surface touch area with pressure sensitivity and haptic feedback.
I wonder how feasible it would be to hold the device, by the edges, with 2 your palms and touch type with your thumbs and fingers, on the back.
While I would be willing to try I'm pretty confident the experience would suck. Especially for a guy with big hands.
Grab a copy of Grisham's book and try it!
Oh, and you could have something approximating a full-size QWERTY kb on the back of that 6" tablet... or even the current-size iPhone.
Again your entire post seems to be focused on the keyboards. The on screen keyboards seem to be the best tech going for the smaller devices. So I don't expect much change there. A larger tablet offers more opportunity for alternative keyboards. All that being considered people have to accept that these devices are not there to be laptop replacements nor are they for the production of large documents.
This pull I see from the crowd that thinks these tablets are a replacement for desktop or laptop computers is going to lead to a lot of disappointment. Tablets can't really fill those roles. At least not without adding the keyboards and other attachments to turn them into a kludge of a laptop or desktop.