It’s the day before Christmas - sorry, the new announcement, and most of the online rags have gone ballistic already.

Bypassing the usual futility of harping on about what will (or won’t) announce tomorrow, I thought I’d jot down my thoughts on it while I have time.

First off, a little background: Over the past few months, my work shifted from e-mail and bog standard office work to a strange mix involving 3D rendering, high-powered presentations, video editing and transcoding and a lot of code snippets and IM. Most of those things are next to impossible on the (at least without significant extra effort), so other than meetings and remote access to servers, it saw little “work” use.

Having my around also cut down significantly on late night home use, since the 7” factor lends itself rather better to both reading and casual browsing - but my writing suffered greatly, and it was next to impossible to do some or the things I took for granted on the . On the plus side, it was much simpler to hand data off between apps ( really needs to rethink their approach there) and, were it not for ugly UIs, a lot more satisfactory to access my media1.

So times being what they are and with limited budget for gadgetry, I had to ask myself whether I’d actually buy a new this year.

After all, given my usage patterns of late, and had I a need for a new laptop (which I don’t), an 11” would be a better fit - were it not hopelessly hobbled by the miserly amounts of RAM it ships with.

Since it makes perfect sense to expect the entire laptop range to be re-scoped and re-designed within a few months, likely with much thinner and higher-density displays, and perhaps even without an 11” model altogether1 depending on self-cannibalization strategy, getting a new home laptop is firmly on my next year’s to do list.

Either way, I’ve already started carrying my around last week - both because I’m back reviewing code and doing mock-ups (which you can draft perfectly well on it) and because the battery lasts essentially forever (at least when compared to a laptop).

It’s the most reliable piece of mobile hardware I own right now, even if it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, and, as weather begins to warm, it’s also (literally) the coolest I can cradle on my lap comfortably.

Since I’m becoming rather fond of 4.x (and a few colleagues of mine swear by their ASUS Transformers), getting a brand new and zippy tablet was also something I considered - until I went into a few retailers over the past couple of weekends, checked the OS versions of their display models (four of which were recent and models, much to my surprise) and found them all running Honeycomb, practically all of them with versions below 3.1.x ( was running 3.2.1).

It’s probably important to point out to those of you itching to say that most of them are marketed as being “upgradeable” to Ice Cream Sandwich that every single manufacturer’s track record is abysmal where it comes to providing core OS updates, and that, to this day, there are plenty of competitors out there without a single upgrade - many of which are essentially dead in the water.

Contrast that with long-term support for most of its devices, and it’s easy to see that they’re in a completely different league:

Both my original and my run the latest and are quite likely to run all the next interim updates until version 6 (at which point I expect them both to be bumped off).

That’s three major versions and three years of ongoing updates so far (two years for the ), with updates coming out every 3-6 months. In contrast, tablets have a working average of zero lifetime upgrades.

So, solely on the basis of long-term support, buying a €599 3G-ready is, right now, a lot better value for money than a €549 3G-ready Galaxy Tab 10.1 - and if prices remain the same, it’s going to be even a better deal tomorrow. Even more so if you consider the to dump older versions and hardware to try to sell you something newer and shinier.

And that is probably the best possible argument towards my getting a new whenever decides to actually ship to - which, given that I had to ask a friend of a friend to the first time around, is something I’d very much like to see happening from day one for a change.


  1. Seriously, steadfast refusal to allow me to sync my devices with whatever computer I damn well please and download kid’s cartoons from Home Sharing to bring along on weekends will eventually be enough of an itch for me to scratch with another platform, but I have hope. You listening, Phil? ↩︎↩︎

  2. Yeah, I’m pretty sure will kill off the 11” in favor of the 10” in the fullness of time. ↩︎

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