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Stop taking the tablets

Column Dumb terminals are hard to swallow
Fri Aug 10 2012, 12:21

davenealIT IS RARE that I adopt a piece of hardware in its early stages.

I'm a slow mover in that respect. It took me ages to begrudgingly buy an MP3 player, and my PCs tend to be at the trailing edge of technological progress.

Recently though I bucked my own trend and picked up a Nexus 7, the Android tablet from Google built by Asus.

Something about it, I forget what precisely, made me order one on the very day that they were announced. Or as soon as the online ordering system for the UK was open anyway.

It's here now. Somewhere. Possibly by the bed, but more likely on a shelf somewhere under some papers. It might be wondering why it isn't being used. Me, I'm not wondering why, I know why. It is because I have no need for it.

Buying a tablet was probably the biggest folly of my life, and that is saying something. The gadget that cost less than £200 is okay for what it is, but what it is, ain't much.

It has slotted into my life like an extra ear. Handy maybe, if my two other ears are busy, but otherwise rather redundant.

When it came I was fairly excited. But now that it's been here for a couple of weeks I can't think of why I bought it. As soon as I started to use the thing it immediately made itself all too redundant by mirroring the applications that I already have on my Android phone.

Now, I get emails in three stages. Typically, I get them on my laptop first, then on my mobile phone, and then on my tablet. The same goes for Twitter notifications and application update prompts and anything else for which I have used my phone.

By the time I have read an email on my laptop and dismissed its notification on my mobile phone, it just annoys me to have to do the same on the tablet. Sitting there in the corner making its noise, it seems desperate for attention.

If it is trying to replace my phone, which has ALL the same Google features and applications, it is going to have to try a lot harder to fit in a pocket.

Too small to draw Ipad-like "Oooohs", and too big to carry without a bag of sorts, there isn't even a case available for it, which means that if I do want to move it at all, I have to do so on a velvet cushion so as not to damage its screen.

The thing seems designed to annoy me. It has a camera, but no camera app. Why? I spent some time trying to find an app for it in the marketplace before someone recommended one to me.

It's turned me into someone who talks about camera apps. If that is not a good reason to hate it, then I don't know what is.

Oh, actually I do. The best reason, perhaps, is its bundling of the Transformers movie that comes "free" with it. This film, which is incredibly awful, can only be watched while you are connected to WiFi, and is so littered with product placement and advertising that I had to check to see that I wasn't falling headfirst through a marketing company man's dream.

If you have a Nexus 7 I urge you NOT to watch that movie. It is a deeply cynical way of shoving marketing messages through your eyes and into your wallet. Someone should pay you to watch it, never mind offering it to you for "free".

But, despite all this, despite its redundancy and its false promises, the worst thing about it is just how pointless it is, along with the rest of its kind.

Tablets are not for doers, they are for grazers. People who don't want to do anything with technology. They are fine if you want to sit, poke and gawp at things - Facebook, for example - or one of the maddeningly frustrating games that people play on them, but useless when it comes to creating anything.

The fact that they are so successful is a credit to Apple, a firm that could apparently stick its logo on dog dirt and make a market for it.

Me, I'm just annoyed that I swallowed the hype. µ


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