Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is old is new again (Tablet Companions)

Nokia let the tablet segment slip out of their portfolio. After 3 generations of Internet Tablets, the form factor that started Maemo is now a distant memory.

Maemo is alive and kicking, for now, in the superb N900 mobile computer. However, that 4-5" wifi/BT enabled tablet that got so many of us interested in Maemo has seen no recent attention from Finland.

This article on Blackberry's rumoured tablet companion actually got me upset. Nokia had a good chance at being the segment leader if they had kept that product line fresh. Instead, they chose to focus on bringing Maemo to a cellular phone device.

Don't get me wrong, I love the N900. As a convergence device, it is fabulous...mobile computer combined with cellular phone. A great media player, best-in-class VoIP and IM integration, killer hardware, etc.

But it seems that other smartphone manufacturers are starting to branch out to 'accessorize' their flagships. Although the iPad is not technically a companion to an iPhone, you'll likely see those two together in fanboys' European purses. Now Blackberry is rumoured to have a companion tablet in the works, which tethers to your Blackberry smartphone.

Come on! We had this 5 years ago in Maemo. Nokia just decided to abandon that offering, leaving the field open for competition to swoop in.

I like my N800 tablet, but it is sadly in permanent storage in my daypack. Not because it is not functional, but because OS2008 does feel noticeably clunky compared to Fremantle.

MeeGo appears to be one avenue in which we can get the tablet back. But with NOKIA on the label? I am not hopeful. Prove me wrong, Nokia. In the meantime, we may have to watch tablets emerge from here and there, while Nokia finds more reasons to reinvent themselves year after year.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Two years of Maemo Blogging!

I was thinking that the 2nd 'anniversary' of my blog, Mobile Tablets! had to be around the corner.  It turns out that it is today, June 4th!

My first post was a short intro on what I had envisioned for my Nokia Tablet related blog - mostly talking about my usage in the daily grind.  The Wimax trials were my first feature (in 6 parts), but my  first break was the interview of qwerty12, which allowed me to test my interview skills.  Since then, I've had the privilege of interviewing several Maemo heavyweights (Andre, Ryan, Randall and Peter), published features related to Mer, and even some pre-election coverage for the recent maemo.org Community Council elections.  The interview sparking the most contentious comments was the one of GeneralAntilles, and the post with the most tweets and thumbs on maemo.org was related to the N8X0 drivers announcement at the Summit.  And recently, I have begun a series of "Maemo Minutes" - which are small tidbits related to Maemo, anecdotes and/or tips.

The blog was my main karma source, allowing me to attend Maemo Summit 2009 in Amsterdam (thanks Jaffa, for encouraging me to apply for sponsorship).  At that time, I was one of a few Maemo bloggers around.  In this N900 era, there are dozens of blogs related to Maemo.  It is difficult to separate yourselves from them.  I do not and cannot compete with professional bloggers - that is something that just does not interest me.  I have tried to create content of interest to me and the community (I hope!) instead of 'retweeting' it.  It becomes difficult, but that is where I like to delve....in areas untouched by others.
I have not spent any effort blogging about my Maemo 5 application, MaeFlight (now in extras-devel).  But I think I will start to.  I do not develop software in my day job, so I am mainly tinkering, hoping to round out my Maemo contributions, and learn more about this platform I love from 'the other side'.

I would like your feedback - what do you think I should focus on for new content now.... Maemo, MeeGo, community stuff, news, no-change, etc.  My buddy, Texrat, gave me a few interview ideas recently.  I want Mobile Tablets! to be relevant to the community, so I humbly ask for your input.  Many thanks!

I'll close with a quote from a Facebook exchange I had with a friend of 19 years, who did not know that I was 'EIPI' until last month:

"Woah, I cannot believe you are EIPI!!! You are famous (well at least in a pool of 30,000 people). Very cool."

Not sure I agree with the 'famous' part, but that made me laugh, nonetheless.

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