I am having a problem with tablets, and by that I mean the form factor of computing devices that are touch screen and keyboard-less, like the Galaxy Tab. My problem is that after using one for a couple months, I don’t want to use anything else.
It is a problem because while I really enjoy the form and the way I’ve changed my workflow, tablets are the new front for hardware freedom.
When I found ZaReason a couple of years ago I was thrilled. When I visited their office and saw the workbenches set up like in so many shops, I knew that the production methods for laptops had caught up to desktop machines. ZaReason famously includes a screwdriver with their computers, even their laptops, which is a testament to how much of a commodity the parts are.
I, like many others, had waited for many years for laptop hardware to reach this point, having to deal with hackish alternatives to Windows, or just keeping it the de facto OS until some big company created their pet GNU/Linux program to cater to us. MacOS X and Intel Macbooks were a godsend five years ago, since it was POSIX-ish, and they were okay machines, if a tad more expensive.
I learned my lesson with Apple though, and fortunately commodity hardware caught up during my foray into using a laptop as my primary computer. So, will I be doing this all over again, with tablets instead? Will I wait until somehow, in a sea of patent law suits, capcitive screens become common enough to be swappable and cheap enough to order in low quantity?
Thus, my conundrum.
My MacBook Pro, for all the problems its had in the past, seems to be working fine, albeit with a closed OS (running non-MacOS X overheats it, and I don’t actually want to kill the hardware). Most of the time I am working I use Susan’s iMac, which also seems to be in on the long haul despite being close to five years old.
If my laptop goes, I will probably replace it with a Hoverboard, this has been my plan for a while. And if the desktop goes I am going to either get one of ZaReason’s desktops, or build it myself (shudder).
And in the meantime I will keep track of projects that make tablets more free, like Replicant and FDroid. But the hardware is creating a mental wall for me. I don’t want to get caught in this trap. Is there anyone out there in the hardware world working to open up their tablet?