When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad back in January, there was very little to compare it against–and so it wasn’t clear whether its 9.7″ screen made it an unusually large tablet, a rather little one, or just about right. At the moment, it’s looking like a big boy: The two most intriguing iPad alternatives of the moment, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, both sport far smaller 7″ displays.
(I think the idea is that they’re small enough to fit in a pocket, although the pocket in question needs to be a jacket pocket…and having it specially tailored to accommodate a 7″ tablet wouldn’t hurt.)
I was actually hoping to see the trend go the other way: I’m interested in the idea of tablets with bigger screens than the one on the iPad. How come?
- While the iPad itself is roughly the size of a magazine, its screen is quite a bit smaller. That means that digital magazines that attempt to preserve a print publication’s layout (such as ones offered via Zinio) are hard on the eyeballs. I’d like to see magazines recreated on a tablet at their original size.
- I can live with the idea that e-books will replace mass-market paperbacks and other tomes that are mostly about words, not visuals. But I love art books–and with art books, bigger is better. Among of my favorites: The Sunday Press’s Little Nemo volumes, which reprint vintage newspaper comics at full size. They’re about the height of a small child, and there’d be no way to recreate them on an iPad, let alone a Galaxy Tab or PlayBook. I don’t want to see the art of the art book die when dead-tree printing goes away.
- I love the idea of using tablets to create art, using apps such as Brushes and Autodesk SketchBook Pro. Some amazing works have been created on the iPad–and even the iPhone–but I think even more amazing ones would be possible on a larger “canvas.”
What size would be ideal? I’m not sure, and I concede there are issues with big tablets. (For starters, they’d surely weigh more than the iPad’s already-hefty 1.5 pounds.)
Even so, I hope that the endless parade of iPad killers, rivals, and wannabees we’ll see in the months to come includes at least a few oversized models. The one thing I find attractive about the unfortunate JooJoo (seen above) is its 12.1″ screen–and hey, if there was such a thing as a 17″ tablet, I’d take a look.
No, I wouldn’t lug a monstrously large tablet around. But it might look awfully nice on my coffee table, next to my art books…