Will a phablet solve life’s headaches?
I’ve been researching ‘hybrid devices’ and I’m flummoxed. When I say ‘researching’ I mean standing in shops holding bits of new technology and asking passing assistants questions like: ‘Sorry, can you just tell me, what does this mean?’ And, ‘Excuse me, don’t know what to ask, but could you tell me anyway?’ Everything’s changing so fast.
When mobile phones first became ubiquitous, the focus seemed to be on making them smaller and smaller, until some got so small, you needed the fingers of an elf just to dial a number. Then computing on the go came into the equation and the mobile started expanding again. Now you have, for example, the huge-as-a-phone, tiny-asa-computer thing like the Samsung Galaxy Note. I have a smartphone of the same brand — I’m wondering if I should ‘upgrade’ to it.
But what is it, actually? A phone, a computer or an Anadin — sorry, I mean tablet ( just being hilarious). Then I stumbled across the word ‘phablet’ on a technology website. I consulted the font of all wisdom for an explanation of the name and Wikipedia says: ‘Phablet is an informal term for consumer-grade touch-screen devices that are equal to and greater than five inches but less than seven inches, combining the capabilities of a smartphone and mini-tablet with the optional integration of a stylus. A phablet is larger than most smartphones but not large enough to be considered an actual tablet or even mini-tablet.’
That’s it! A phablet. Doesn’t it sound phab! That’s what I’m thinking I might ‘need’, and the more I think about it, the more I think I cannot live without it, and that’s what’s known as human progress. I think. I took one giant step for myself last December when I upgraded to the smartphone. Oh lordy, how was I extant on this planet previously without instant access to emails, the
GILDEA ability to instantly reply to them, on a mobile device that — apart from the now accepted norm of ubiquitous telephonic connectivity and the aforementioned email — also enables me to global-position wherever I am, wherever I want to go, and informs me what might be of interest to me nearby when I get there. It also takes snaps and videos and interconnects with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the interweb in general, and I can download a trillion apps that go from gaming to I don’t know what... The ‘I don’t know what’ being the pertinent part of all that.
‘A smartphone now has more computing power than Nasa had when it sent Neil Armstrong to the
‘My phone has more computing power than Nasa had to send men to the moon... and I use it to tweet funny snaps’
moon,’ I read in a paper last week. And being a good (lapsed) Catholic girl, I felt instant guilt — that all I was doing with this enormous power in my hand was to text the like of, ‘Running late, order me a Merlot if you’re at the bar’ and checking emails, most of which say things like, ‘It’s you lucky day! You long lost Hong Kong uncle die and leave you million. Reply, send bank account details, quickie.’ And tweet photos of ‘funny things’ with comments like, ‘Look at this! Funny Thing!’ All the while, gee whiz, this thing in my hand could enable me to give humanity a dig-out in going boldly where we’ve never been before. Somehow.
And now I might want that ‘Note’ device. Or ‘Note II’ actually; it’s already on its second generation and it’s only been around five minutes. Why now? In a word, ‘Christmas’. Usually I get books as gifts but I’m out of shelf space, so why not pre- empt the problem by going electronic and suggesting downloads (or whatever they’re called) instead. Yes, that is why I was exploring the phablet frontier — because I went looking to buy something else: an e-reader. And I discovered the new-generation e-readers are veering towards being tablet-like devices; so, I reasoned, should I get a tablet, such as an iPad, instead?
No, I figured, too expensive, and I don’t really need its computing power — that’s covered by my laptop. And in so far as I require a tablet’s other capabilities, they’re covered by the smartphone. So instead of having a laptop, a phone and another device for books etc, I decided I should combine the mobile phone with the e-reading requirement. That’s when I heard of the phablet. But the next question was: is it actually any good as an e-reader, which is where all of this began?
That’s what I asked Catherine, the nicest, most informative and patient technology shop assistant ever. She tolf me it would work as such by downloading an e-reader app, which I can already do, using my current smartphone. Which she suggested I do, to figure out what I’m looking for in an e-reader. This is so obvious to some of you, it’s like saying, ‘Have you heard of the knife and fork? Wow, they make eating so easy!’ For the rest of you, I thought I’d share my ‘discoveries’ because Christmas is coming and you may have found it informative. In summary: I discovered I already have what I wanted — yet ended up feeling I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.