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big phone or small tabletIn the Weekend Links, I highlighted a GigaOM story which claims that sales of bigger phones are starting to cut into sales of smaller tablets. I believe it. When I got my iPad Mini, it was because I wanted a not-phone-sized device that didn’t weigh a ton. I still use my Mini a lot (mostly in situations which call for two iPads, such as the Beloved being able to FaceTime at home on days I stay late at work, or a train ride we take semi-regularly involving a small child who won’t share). But in my perfect tech world, I’d have fewer devices, and when I do eventually scale back, I think the Mini will be most expendable.

Here’s why. I have tried several usage scenarios as my tech arsenal has expanded, and the mini tablet always comes out lacking:

- The Beloved has a Google Nexus I gave him. I thought he would read books on it, but he doesn’t choose books often enough to justify its usage, and when he upgraded to a giant Windows phone, he found it was just as good for reading RSS feeds in bed. First, he started forgetting to charge the Nexus. Then he broke it and it hasn’t been missed. If he were more of a book reader, maybe. But what he does read is shorter blog-based stuff and news, and he can do that just as well on the Slightly Big Phone.

- My iPad 2 was out of juice one day, when I found myself kicked out of the house suddenly. I grabbed my bluetooth keyboard and took the Mini with me instead . And I hated it. It was just too small for me to work on comfortably. It isn’t the iPad’s fault. My eyes just do better with the bigger-sized workspace. So I make sure to keep my iPad 2 charged now…

As for my next-device plan, I am torn. I do not need two iPads. It is nice to have them on those rare occasions I mentioned, but not SO nice to have them that I will keep buying too. I do still need a full-sized device, but the new Macbook Air is so lightweight and so battery efficient that it makes the ‘full-size iPad plus keyboard’ almost a superfluous frill. And yet the Mini is not quite the device I want either…

So I can definitely see how a bigger phone would fit the bill. For keyboard plus screen work, I’d take the Macbook. For a reading backup and mucking around with apps and games, I would take the slightly bigger phone. Maybe I would keep an iPad of a few generations ago as a backup for the FaceTime or Kids scenario—my own, until it absolutely can’t be supported anymore, or something off the secondhand market. But I can see how for everyday use, the larger phone would fill the smaller tablet niche quite comfortably…

 
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