It seemed like there were hundreds of Tablet PCs on display at CES. In fact, according to Anything IT, there were over a hundred. But when I tried to actually get one to try out, I heard a lot of, “That will be available in a few months.” But the Samsung Galaxy Tab showed up at my door mere days after I inquired after it. Two weeks of daily use later, I am in love.
I haven’t had a romance like this with a gadget in a long time. Oh, sure, I know I’m supposed to wait for a tablet with the version of Android (3.0; codenamed Honeycomb)Â designed for Â tablets. I’m sure it would be wise to wait for the Ice Cream Sandwich version that’s supposed to follow that or cremeÂ brulee, cheesecake, orÂ snicker doodle, or whatever will arrive after that. I probably shouldn’t have married my husband either, since he’s not perfect and I might have done better if I’d waited. (Though that all worked out; see reference to son and daughter below.) But, as my sister likes to say, “Who cares about Mr. Right. I’m going with Mr. Right Now.”
I intended to take this review unit of the Galaxy Tab for a spin and send it right back. But, things have gone too far for that. ItÂ cannot leave me. It goes everywhere with me. My kids have started feeling sorry for my smart phone, which sits – ignored – on the counter chirping reminders till its battery dies. But I don’t care. That phone’s battery stamina was pathetic and it’s screen was hopelessly small.
The Galaxy Tab is everything I’d hoped my smart phone would be but much bigger. (Not so big it doesn’t drop in my everyday purse (in the add at the end of this post) though. It is 5″ x 7.5″ x .25.”) It has become what I’ve taken to calling my Life Clipboard. I carry it around like a notepad while I shop, pick up the kids, and get a little exercise. I can check off the kids’ homework on my to-do list, check my schedule, answer an email from an editor, and order cat medicine from Amazon (with the Android App for Amazon) all while chatting with my daughter and stirring the dinner on the stove.
The only downside(s) I have encountered is that it is not a phone and it begs for a data plan – though it runs on Wi-Fi. (It currently costs $250 with a 2-year contract at T-Mobile.) But having data on the Tab is better than having data on my phone. So I am considering cancelling the data on my smart phone and going back to an old-style flip phone for old-style phone calls and using the Tab for everything else.
Oh, it is possible to make a phone call from the Tab. But only from a Wi-Fi connection. It runs Skype — quite nicely. But, in the U.S., Skype will not operate on a cellular signal. For texting, I use Google Voice, which not only saves me from having to pay for a texting plan but also copies all my texts to my email so I don’t miss them if I’m writing at my computer.
I have used a lot of to-do lists, day planners, and other “stay-on-task” solutions to manage being a self-employed mom over the years but the combination of Remember the Milk, Google Calendar, Skype, and Google Voice (with a smattering of Todoist to keep track of larger projects and Google Maps to keep me from getting lost) on the Tab is the best system I’ve come up with yet. I don’t have to sit down and open a netbook. I don’t have to sit down at all. I just whip the Tab out my purse, check my list, get on track, and check things off as they are done.
And, strangely, since my oppositional teen sees me reading off my to-do list when I ask him if he has finished his homework (or whatever), he gets less angry. It’s not me judging his faulty memory. It’s just the machine making sure everything gets done. And there is no point in raging against the machine. He answers my question or thanks me for reminding him.
In short, I feel like I should wait for Mr. Right Tablet. But I don’t care. Mr. Right Now and I are blissfully happy…for the moment.