I think the entire hype is the fact we've all been brought up with the idea that it'll all be touch panels, holo-displays and speech input in the future - and that now, we're all able to get a bit of that for ourselves...
How long is it until we can control a computer like this?
Okay, maybe not quite like that - but I think that's the kind of thing fuelling the hype.
The obsession is due to creating a new market to flog us all new devices again. Once the market is saturated there will be something new, brain controlled machines or something?
As always, the hype will die down and these devices will slot into their place. I love my Andriod Phone and Tablet and they have seen my PC usage drop off massively at home but I still need something like a traditional machine to produce certain types of output and I (and others) always will.
For professional purposes, the form factor of tablets also lends them to be good for on-site diagnostics as they are far easier to hold and manipulate than say a laptop, especially if you are called to a switch cabinate and are using a web interface to fault find or make some changes, it also means that if you have an online helpdesk or internal messaging system you can always be in contact (I'm not going to debate the good/bad points of that!). They are also great as a travelling companion where you need to stay in touch, but are not plannign on any major document bashing. The same goes for meetings as they are a wonderful way of pulling up information and passing it around if there is no projector present or it is impractical to use it to show something briefly.
As for voice controls, I've never quite 'got it'. Yes, the Windows voice recognition is superb, but unless you have a disability I, as yet, can't see the point of using it as a control method for a computer, but maybe that's just me.
But voice recognition is so much more than just sitting at a computer....
What about in the car? Voice recognition works!
Last year, my father was in hospital and I received a phone call to say that he was going for a very important operation that could determine his future. I was able to jump into my car, call up the navigation on my phone, and call out the hospital name. Within moments, I had a complete route there.
It didn't help me get there any quicker but it saved me from spending time, when I was frantic, searching for an address or post code.
Why do peope want fancy gizmos gatches and the latest thing? Every one here who has the new fancy toy stil ends up wanting a PC/Laptop and something with Windows/Office installed. And not forgetting access to all the network software, SIMs, projectors etc etc etc
I am some one who wants the iPad, just for the sake of it, its nice, quick easy access to a fancy pad, email, internet plus its the new toy. For any real reasons? Nope just want one but I would pay for it my self not go through the school with 100 fake reasons why I should have one provided.
And in todays world I simply can not afford one, how schools can I never know with lay offs occuring left right and centre. Luckily our new head said exactly what I said above in a meeting. This meeting also had the Deputy head sitting there with his iPad while saying we should provide some to students. You could see everyone wanted to go Nelson style from the Simpsons.
Like every gadget out there people get bored of it, people are not so fussed over iPhones now because they are not the latest craze, even students here are not at all fussed over them.
I don't think the IT Industry expects you to use touch/voice devices to create information. They're media consumption devices, they've long been considered that, and that's what they are. You can do light creation with them, sure, but nobody wants to write a novel on a smartphone.
Tablet ... bluetooth connection for keyboard when needed ... report writing, note taking, presentations, annotating documents ... the only thing I don't really have is a decent spreadsheet tool as most of the spreadsheets I deal with are *large* excel files and I need a dirty great big screen to manipulate them well.
I still have a laptop for some things ... and it doubles as a desktop at work (plugged into larger screen, etc) and the tablet goes with me to meetings for documents and note taking.
Voice ... doesn't work for me that well, but that is partly because I am now in an open plan office at work and share the office at home. I do a fair bit of voice memo taking whilst on the road though ... but that just might be because I like the sound of my own voice. (get it in first before others do!)
OK. So, people are basically just confirming exactly what I said - these devices are great for their limited purposes, but for any real work (which is what businesses *do*) we all desire a normal keyboard and mouse.
So, why are schools willing to spend so much budget on these things? They can't replace the existing devices, they can only compliment them. Where are schools suddenly finding the funds to be able to augment their provision like this? Especially considering the fact that so many schools are still using machines that are 5 years old etc...
Basically, I think my point is this - these devices are a nice toy. They add little bits of functionality to ease the consumption of information. But they are still a toy. Focusing effort and funding on their use in education seems to be missing the point about the constraints of school funding.
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