Shrinking tablets were a big theme at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with some devices doubling as phones and others as platforms for gaming. The trend is sure to influence those who create apps and other digital materials for this newer size.
“It will be interesting to see how the device affects content developers,” says Kate Wilson, managing director of app producer Nosy Crow, whose current produces are designed for the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen.
Samsung hawked its new Galaxy Note at CES, illustrating its tablet capabilities, including a stylus and drawing features. With its 5.3-inch screen, the Galaxy Note feels smaller than a regular tablet, but certainly larger than a smartphone. And yet the device will be able to make calls once AT&T opens the doors to U.S. sales, expected later this year.
Also shrinking down? Rullingnet’s Vinci dBlock —a smaller brick-sized version of its seven-inch Tab device at half the price, says Dan Yang, Rullingnet’s CEO. While the original device is meant to work solely with Vinci’s game suite, the newer, 3.5-inch screen model, set for release this year, will also have WiFi, allowing students to access the Internet.
Meanwhile, Sony was on hand to debut its PlayStation Vita, set for release Feb 22, with a five-inch screen, plus a still and video camera that can embed photographed items, like a table, into video games using augmented reality. The device is priced at $249 for a WiFi version and $299 for 3G.
And finally, a device not even available for retail, One Laptop Per Child’s (OLPC) XO 3.0 tablet comes with a solar-paneled cover over its eight-inch screen. There are writing and computing apps but what it doesn’t have is an app some school librarians and teachers might not miss.
“We don’t give you Angry Birds,” says Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer at CES. “But you can build your own.”