Kyle Maxwell

Just me.

Thoughts on a tablet purchase

I’ve wanted to replace my Dell Mini 9 for a bit. As an Ubuntu netbook with decent performance, it got the job done for me when it came out. Now, though, I’ve had it for over a year and a half, so it probably can get passed on to a family member. And a tablet form factor would fit my use cases much better: lean-back computing, generally at home or a third place such as a coffee shop or book store.

This has led me to set up a few criteria for the device I’ll eventually get.

  • Android device. I’d rather not get an iPad and thus delve further into the Apple ecosystem at this point. (Though as I look at the probability matrix for the rest of the year, certain family events could cause me to re-evaluate that position.) Still, for my own needs, I’d like to stick with Android to the degree possible.
  • Hackable device. Specifically, I’d like something I can jailbreak. The idea of flashing the tablet with a custom OS appeals strongly to me, especially for running Android Honeycomb.
  • WiFi only. I vacillate a little on this particular issue, but given that I primarily expect to use it in locations that provide WiFi, the extra expense of 3G or such doesn’t really appeal to me. (And it should make the previous requirement a little easier to match.)
  • Decent quality hardware. Bargain-basement knockoffs with flimsy casings and low-quality touch screens don’t appeal to me. Not that I want to go drop USD 1000 on the device, but I don’t have to go get the Wal-Mart special, either.

I’ve started to look at my choices, but mostly in ruling some of them out (e.g. the highly expensive Motorola Xoom).

Maybe I should get the Honeycomb SDK in advance, too, so I could mess around with some “Hello, World’ stuff. Mostly, though, I want to prepare myself for the inevitable moments where I tell myself that I can’t find an app that meets my needs and decide to roll my own.

Any recommendations from my friends?


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