Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 07:49 AMMy husband owns an IPad. We gave my dad an IPad for Christmas. IPads are cool, easy to use and fun. I am used to open and free computer environments - my phone is a Google Nexus One and I have never paid for any app. Because my trusted EEEPc is circling the drain (frequent freezes, I suspect the SSD) I am in the market for a new mobile device.
Posted by Administrator
Posted by Administrator
What should it be?
It can't be an IPad. We are IT professionals and always have a variety of systems. We have an IPad in the family - the 'other' system should be something else. I would never buy an IPad anyway. ITunes is not available for Linux, I would not be happy with Apple's closed shop philosophy - I don't feel like the typical 'IPad' crowd I usually see at meetings. It's like farmer 'Joe' climbing out of a Porsche Turbo in rubber boots - ready to feed the cows - if you catch my drift.
So I did some hard thinking. What do I need a mobile system for?
The usual web surfing time burning aint't got nothing else to do comes to mind. All tablets can do that. Check. Is flash important. Well, not really. Than again, sometimes, I use flash to do some voice chatting. So it would be a 'NTH' - nice to have. What about apps? AppleStore? AndroidStore? No store? Hmm. Looking at my Nexus I realized, I didn't add too many apps to the phone. And the apps I added, mostly belong to category a) - time burning. The only apps I am using frequently: SIPdroid to link my phone into our VOIP environment, Skype and a little app that allows me to use my phone as a flashlight. So - no preferences here.
I checked a few Android tablets on Amazon, but the units didn't convince me. Either cheap Chinese systems with old Android versions (I am talking 1.5 here), without capacitive touchscreen, without GPS, too small batteries or bad reviews.
The Motoral Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy looked interesting, but they are either tethered to a mobile phone network (thanks but no thanks) or ridiculously expensive.
While I was still in the pondering process, I happen to walk into a pawn store for my usual once a month grazing. And there I found the solution to my mobility problem.
Here are the specs for my new 'tablet':
2 Gigabyte of RAM, 40 Gigs of mass storage;
Complete keyboard (flap open);
USB, Ethernet, Firewire, VGA and Serial ports to connect attachments;
1024x768 in landscape;
6 hours or runtime;
WiFi on board;
It's made by IBM and it's called 'R40'. It's not a tablet. It's a laptop. It (now) runs Linux and I am able to do the same things I do on my work station. I don't have to worry about this app-store or that 'app', no need to give away my soul to AT&T or T-Mobile. I can ssh into any server, do what needs to be done, I can not only 'run' presentations, I can actually create them. I can write letters or other documents without playing one eyed eagle (swooping down to stab the letters). Flash and Java are working like a charm, as do all the other little tools I am used to.
I paid 150 bucks for the computer (add another 200 for RAM upgrade and a new battery).
An while I was happily playing around with my new device, it actually dawned on me:
A 'tablet' is nice as an entertainment tool, if you have a second computer somewhere to do the work. But I don't really need a gadget - I was looking for a tool that allows me to work without being glued to my desk. A tablet wouldn't give me the flexibility I need.
I am glad I found my new laptop before I had to pay serious money for a device I wouldn't be happy with. No - my R40 doesn't come with GPS or UMTS. But that's where my Nexus One comes in. It gives me the GPS or map information I might need while on the road and it can act as a WiFi access point for my laptop. I guess, I am covered.