Dithering about phones and tablets

Those who know me know that I’ve been dithering about mobile phones and internet tablets for some months now. I’d like a larger screen than my iPhone 3G has, but I consider the iPad a bit large. And it doesn’t make calls.

I was rather hoping for an ideal Android tablet to come out with a screen size around 7 inches and that had phone functionality. (The size of the phone doesn’t matter as much when you carry a bag and have a headset.)

I was hoping that the Dell Streak at 5″ or its announced sibling, the Looking Glass at 7″ would be the solution, but it seems that Dell has crapped up Android in ways that I don’t care for.

Since I’m a developer, I want both an iPhone type device and an Android device in the house, and I had pretty much decided that it would either be an iPhone 4 and some as yet unreleased Android tablet, or an Android phone and an iPad.

I just tried the Samsung Captivate from AT&T, a Galaxy-S phone. (I’m rather locked to AT&T because of family plans. I hate Sprint and would not use it if it were the only cell carrier in North America. I have no anger towards Verizon or T-Mobile, though. I might switch if it weren’t for carrying my mother’s phone on my plan.)

I really like the Captivate, and I’m sure I’d like its siblings at the other carriers, too. Unless I change my mind in the next month or so, I’m going with a Captivate for my phone and an iPad, probably without a data plan. (When traveling, I can use my GF’s wifi hotspot. She has a CradlePoint.)


  1. Joanne says:

    I bought the ipad with 3G. At first I found the large size hard to manage. Big slippery thing. But then the case arrived. The case makes all the difference. If I don’t have a table, I usually make the triangle anyway and hold the ipad by it. If I want type a lot, I go to a table and set it slanted toward me and it works great. Of course I still type as slowly as I do with a regular keyboard. I wonder if you can use Dvorak keyboard.

    I LOVE my ipad for displaying digital photos. I like that it can understand images in Nikon’s camera raw format. I use it for all the things for which I had considered buying a netbook, plus GPS and all the stuff folks with data plans on their phones do.

    I must admit, I have a lot less gear than I expect you have, so my considerations are different. But I would say the large size of the ipad might not be a deterrent if you have the case. It doesn’t fit in a pocket like my phone, though.

    • I’ve played quite a bit with iPads in the Apple store, even bringing in my own bluetooth keyboard. (The Logitech DiNovo Edge.)

      There is no Dvorak keyboard in the onscreen keyboard, but there is support for using an external Dvorak keyboard. I paired my Edge with the iPad and happily typed away in Dvorak.

      The iPad *barely* fits in my purse. I have a Coach with a flap that folds over. On its side, the iPad fits, but sticks up an inch or so. The flap still covers it, though.

  2. Paula Dupre says:

    I got my first “smart” phone at the end of last year, upgrading from Verizon’s Nvie. I played with all the contenders at the time and decided ultimately on the HTC Eris through Verizon. Since I am outdoors a lot I wanted something that had a big enough screen for web browsing and E-mail but in a small enough phone that I could pocket it. I hate holsters. The Motorola Droid was OK but I could not use the keyboard at all.

    The IPhone was a bit heavy for my pockets and I did not want ATT anyway. I’ve looked at the iPad and would as you probably get it without the data plan for school. But I have difficulty justifying the expense now since I have a super nice laptop. Of course in a couple iterations iPad like devices will leave my laptop in the dust.

  3. I develop on a 17″ MacBook Pro, and that’s my normal device. But I can’t straight-arm it to the sofa when I want to look something up, so I grab either my iPhone 3G or my Google ION development phone. The ION is an Android device, but the screen is pretty small and that makes the keyboard very difficult to use. I prefer the iPhone.

    I’d go with Verizon if it weren’t for me carrying my Mom on a family plan with AT&T. But in my area, AT&T has very good coverage and I’ve never had a dropped call. I understand that the Bay Area is another story…

    • I really think that the Android devices are giving the IOS devices a run for their money. They’re selling faster and have more market share. The OS is a bit clunkier, but they’re releasing three or more releases per year. It’s gotten a lot better fast.

      If you can stand Sprint, the EVO 4G is a really sweet phone, and its screen is larger than 4″.

      Personally, I hate holsters, too, but I carry a purse. I normally pocket my iPhone and suspect that I can pocket the Captivate. The reviews on the 5″ Dell Streak say that it’s pocketable, even with jeans.

      • Paula Dupre says:

        I’ve taken to wearing cargo type shorts or pants when a skirt or dress isn’t practical. They are ugly but have plenty of room for my phone when I am in the field with students. I wish someone would come up with a nice skirt with decent pockets for phones. Maybe such a thing exists. A male friend suggested a garment called a utilikilt. Lots of cool pockets but a bit over priced. Looks pretty rugged though. Definitely not evening wear.

        My Eris by the way is on it’s third upgrade to Android 2.1 and the HTC interface is pretty slick. Have you seen Google’s app developer yet?

  4. Well, I just got a Captivate, and I’m not, in fact, captivated. I’ll give it over the weekend…

    It was so fun in the store.

  5. Nope. It’s going back to the store. I’ll get an iPhone 4. The web browser crashes occasionally, the email client quite frankly stinks, and both apps are locked on the desktop so they can’t be replaced. I could use different apps, but those apps would still be there on the desktop.

    I still like the Android operating system, but I think I prefer the user friendliness of the iPhone.

    (And Google seems to be evil…)

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