Sur La Table(t)
New features advance the functionality of tablets
Tech / 23 Feb 2012
You didn’t have to be at CES this year to get the memo that tablets are taking over. Up until now, the iPad has dominated the market, but with the government push for e-textbooks and consumers finding new uses for these types of devices, innovative tablets with unconventional features are hitting the shelves in escalating numbers.
A common hesitation when considering a tablet purchase is its lack of a keyboard. People like portability but functionality comes first, making the ultrabook a sound solution. Lenovo’s IdeaPad YOGA bridges the gap between tablet and notebook as a first of its kind four-in-one folding device. Closed, it functions as a 13-inch tablet. But when open, it’s a full-size notebook with a keyboard and palm rest. Additionally, it bends like an easel to prop itself up for presentations. As tablets are being used for display boards increasingly often, the ability to stand alone is vital. Fortunately, the IdeaPad YOGA does a pretty impressive downward facing dog.
Dropping a device into the toilet once meant its sure demise. New “damage control” accessories offer protection, but when will the ability to survive an accidental dunking come built in? This year at CES, a Fujitsu presentation during which devices were dropped in a bowl of water caused crowds to audibly gasp. Though the ostensible culprits appeared to have lost their minds, the stunt was actually a demo showcasing the new Android Arrows tablet that supports a submersion for up to 30 minutes. The device is exclusive to Japan, but reports of global distribution have stirred visions of consumers worldwide lolling in swimming pools with tablets in hand.
Available battery power is one of the main obstacles to technology access in the developing world, though the One Laptop per Child project is making progress towards overcoming it. Its $100 OLPC XO 3.0 is a durable tablet encased in a waterproof cover with a four-watt solar cell and back-up battery pack. A similar Kindle cover recently debuted, while French solar energy start-up Wysips released a transparent photovoltaic film that adheres to LCD screens. With the remote workforce establishing makeshift offices in public spaces, the best seats are usually the ones closest to electrical outlets. But with these gadgets, there may be an end in sight to this veritable power struggle.
©The Intelligence Group