Tag Archives: device

Is the iPad just too big?

The ideal form factor of a hand-held mobile computing device is always going to involve lots of trade-offs:

  • If you use it for reading and browsing, roughly the size of a book seems sensible. To me, the current iPad seems a good size for this purpose, although Paul Miller thinks the iPad is too big even as a reading device.
  • If you use it as a phone, you want something you can hold to your ear comfortably. The iPad is just too big. Anything much bigger than (say) an iPhone and you’ll need a bluebooth headset or accessory. More stuff to cart around.
  • If you use it as a camera, you need to be able to hold it up to your face. Again, the iPad is too big, so an external camera would be needed and more stuff to cart around.

Steve Jobs clearly states that the iPad won’t get any smaller and that for many purchasers it will replace the laptop computer. But one of the strengths of the laptop is the relatively open connectivity provided for both hardware and software. The iPad doesn’t (yet) provide such an open plug-and-play system.

The iPad is a beautiful device but is not yet the ideal touch-screen device for me. If it’s going to be this big, it needs to be more capable of real work and not rely on closed proprietary OS features. Personally, I’d prefer it about half the size it is now, all ready to go everywhere with me as a phone, camera, browser, email client, and app platform with no other devices or accessories needed. Maybe I need to look to Android rather than iOS?

Twitter not so mobile in NZ

Twitter birdI’ve been keen to use Twitter with devices such as my mobile phone – it’s not that I’m a Twitter addict, but I do need to demo this to participants in my professional development courses as part of a broader discussion of learning technology. But until recently this hasn’t been properly supported by Telecom, my provider here in New Zealand. What was most disturbing was that there was no mention of web 2.0 tools such as Twitter on the Telecom website, and no prospect that it would be supported in future.

So I was pleased recently to see that a local number to access Twitter was now available in New Zealand. But the local number has made no difference – it seems Telecom support for Twitter is still not available for the majority of customers. And although I was pleasantly surprised to see a simple help sheet on the Telecom site on how to set up Twitter access, it’s unclear who can and who can’t access Twitter.

The New Zealand government recently announced major spending on broadband infrastructure to enable high-speed access. But how will education be able to plan for effective use of emerging technologies if network providers are slow to acknowledge these technologies exist, provide patchy support and fail to communicate with customers? If we are to implement sustainable changes in using technology in education, we need reliable, open and consistent access to networks.