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Being on this trip hard just how I have been living with mobile the past half decade or so has made me question a few things that I sometimes want to assume is normal. For example, having internet connectivity at your own discretion on a mobile is really an extreme luxury. And then there is the tablet. I sat here and did the 1hr Boingo piece, but man, that really was something I wish I didn’t have to do. This has been a long layover, and I am beginning to see something different in terms of the necessary travel tech for a serious mobilist.

Here is my setup on this trip:

  • A 1st generation Apple iPad 16GB, WiFi only
  • A Nokia N8 smartphone

With these devices, I really have just about everything that I need in order to travel. But, not in the simplest of manners.

For instance, I am using the iPad a lot like a netbook/laptop on these kinds of trips, but that’s something that could easily be moved (in some respects) back to my mobile. Things such as email, browsing, and reading ebooks are more comfortable on the iPad, but not necessarily the most efficient.

My smartphone is actually very well suited for travel. Besides being decent when it comes to battery usage, I am able to shut off the mobile data and WiFi aspects until they are needed (keeping me from killing my travel SIM card’s limited funds). The camera is excellent, very much the highlight of using the N8 for travel. And then with its large amount of (encrypted) storage, I am able to utilize it for external space for music and other media. Versatile and efficient.

Thing is, I am here at this airport wondering if I should or could have gone a bit simpler with my approach. You know, kind of take some of coat and inflexibility of this setup and do something a bit more fitting. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Continue with the N8; but probably work on having multiple SIM cards for data/messaging needs
  • Instead of an iPad, use a Kindle Touch/Paperwhite 3G

Yea, back on that Kindle thing again. But, I noticed something as I flinched at the cost for Boingo (it’s not bad, my ability keep putting funds out there isn’t as flush), even with a not-multimedia-friendly screen, the Kindle Touch/Paperwhite 3G would be perfect for simple browsing, email, and reading. All the stuff that I am doing on this iPad (at this moment).

Now, I will admit that there seems to be no such thing as a drawing app on the Kindle Touch/Paperwhite 3G. That would be a problem for when I get in those "bored of reading" spots and know that drawing would help. But, everything else would be fine. Probably too fine. And then when I am on the plane and it’s in motion, there is that aspect not having wireless anything to think about using. Boingo and other services would still be in play. But once I land, bam, I am on that 3G or WiFi connection again (that is, if Kindles are still doing worldwide cellular).

Thinking about this a bit more, one could say that I am simply being cheap and flexible. There is no reoccurring data cost for the Kindle, and I would be essentially giving up my media usage to the (now antiquated, but usually well-performing) 3.5in and Flash-supporting mobile platform. I could see me doing that though, and not minding it a bit. It won’t be fast to view things like Twitter, and I would fight a bit with email attachmens and Amazon’s nice way of making you pay to put them into a Kindle-compatible format when you try so via email and w/o a PC. But, I can see if working… some.

If I were less interested in the photo and data qualities of my mobile, I could simplify the mobile part even further to a feature phone (like one in Nokia’s Asha series, the 311 makes a lot of sense here) and take advantage of a device that’s built for small moments of data connectivity, and is stout with communicaitons.

But back to the tablet. If going away from the iPad, I would be losing the ability to do some of this larger-screened coding. Then there would the issue of facilitating classes using virtual desktop software (makes for an additional revenue opportunity). No way that an eInk Kindle would do that. I wouldn’t have the social media pieces. I would be passing those up for another device/set of devices?

It begs a question to me personally: how much is social media really worth? How much is the ability to draw/write really worth? Is accessibility better with a diminished activity feature set? Or, am I slowly dialing my perceptions of mobile into those portals (re: screens) that really matter?

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