A Puzzle for This Techie’s Devices

For one reason or another, I’m in the midst of a new device itch. I sort of get where its coming from, and at the same time, I’m also wondering of some of my focuses towards devices and what I feel like managing amongst them.

Right now, I’ve got two devices and a few accessories to manage. For communications, music, and presentations, I’m using the Nokia N8. For email, drawing, and long-moment reading, I’m using my 1st gen iPad 16GB+WiFi. I’ve got a Bluetooth headset for the car that matches with the phone, and a second stereo Bluetooth headset that I like to wear when I’m cycling. For the iPad, I’ve got a Bluetooth keyboard. And that’s pretty much it. I do just about all the computing that I need with these.

What I’m looking at is to off-load some of the activities to better screens – and in some respect, reclaim some of the lost to administration of a few extra moments. I’d like to continue with having a tablet, but am at that point where drawing and reading are so much of the time that getting a smaller one makes a lot of sense. I’m not ready to give up my mobile, but I do note that it is going to be soon where I’m either looking for a new one, or at least a battery for this one if I’m not satisfied with new offerings or able to afford a new one. And then there’s my want to jump a bit more into contextual and wearable computing. Not that I want to be a data geek and track everything I do, but I do want to make some better decisions about my attention span towards what I do like to pay attention to, and then adjust from there.

To that end, here are some of the devices that I’m looking towards:
– MotoActv Fitness/SmartWatch
– Kindle Fire HD 7in
– Google Nexus 7
– Kindle Paperwhite 3G
– (and remotely but looking probably much smarter of a purchase) Samsung Galaxy Note II

MotoActive Fitness/SmartWatch
One of the neatest things that I’ve ever done was to use Sports Tracker on my Nokia devices to track my bike rides, runs, and walks. There’s something neat about being able to look back to places that I’ve been and see where I might have traveled for fun or workout purposes and some of the data that went along with it. Problem is, I’m usually carrying my phone and that gets old. I do have a phone holder on my bicycle now – thanks to winning a phone generator from the folks at Bike2Power – but I have twice run into a situation where its broken in the respect of giving my device power – making it basically a holder in name only. The MotoActiv would be a better fit there, and at least can be hacked to do notifications and such more if I so needed. It won’t work with my Nokia – which is a problem for notifications, but not a deal breaker for when I want an undisturbed ride.

Kindle Fire HD 7in and Google Nexus 7
When I took a gander at the Kindle Fire HD in a Best Buy recently, I was totally impressed. I really didn’t think that Amazon would improve so much over the first generation Kindle Fire. It took my by surprise, and frankly, changed some of my expectations towards what I should expect in a 7in tablet in terms of build-quality. The content offerings is of no major concern since I do enough shopping through Amazon. I don’t get the other software stores to easily choose from – and here’s where the Nexus 7 comes into a better light. I like the speed of the UI, and some of the hardware enhancements the Fire HD offers over the Nexus 7, but its no question that the Nexus 7 would be able to serve as a mini-PC much in the way that my iPad is. Both have the front camera and Skype comparability that I deem as necessary for a feature of my next tablet. And the pocketable size is something that my #todaysoffice moments would certainly appreciate.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G
When I took that last international trip, one of the things that I kind of lamented was the reliance being near WiFi just to get email or continue reading RSS feeds. It would have been nice to have something like the Kindle Paperwhite 3G to be able to use. Now, I think that Amazon changed the terms of things that that its no longer international 3G, but if I were to have a mobile that was a bit more suited to drawing, and that I didn’t mind doing emial on, then I could see me going this route. Its not a bad one given the amount of reading that I do – I just wonder how the browser would handle the amount of RSS that I go through daily.

Samsung Galaxy Note II
I didn’t think of this until I began typing this, and it looks like it would actually be the best solution for me from every perspective that’s related to how I use my current mobile, to some of the drawing that I get into. I’m not sure how often I would like the size of the Samsung Galaxy Note II, and so I can see how with pairing it with the MotoActv would actually make some sense for me. I’d probably opt into having the Kindle after this as I’d be able to glob trot when needed, but then not worry about data services until they were absolutely needed. I’m not an Android fan though, and this would certainly be a considerable change for me in terms of platform support. It makes sense (don’t get me wrong), I’ve just got a philosophical aversion to Google as my mobile platform. I’d lose my FM transmitter and great camera from the N8 – I use both too much to think lightly of this kind of move.

Or Wait for Jolla Mobile or other UI Bent
Now, if Jolla were to come out with a device that worked in a similar manner to the Note II, with possibly some stylus optional components like what the Note II and LG’s phablet are doing, that would certainly be much better and aligned with my feelings about mobility and how to progress forward. It doesn’t need a stylus though. I’ve got this thought that a well designed one-handed UI could actually do a drawing app, near the style that I’ve been doing, by centering the drawing element on the thumb, rather than the finger. I might mock this up soon because I know it makes little sense to most folks.

And yes, I did consider the BlackBerry Playbook. However, if a new tablet, Skype video is a necessary feature. Shame too. The Playbook seems designed for a spatial UI mind like mine.

What this all amounts to is a guy who has an itch, and wants to move into a type of computing where there is a bit less to manage while having the devices that contextually make the best point for me. The Asus Padfone remains a smart play for me in this wise because with its pieces, I’d keep the ability that I have, and would gain that platform new-ness of being on Android. I’d still want a wearable to augment the experiences for those mobile moments, but it also makes sense.

I’ll probably be on this bent for a little while longer. The only real certainty is the MotoActv. And even then, I’ve got to find one and make sure that its something that I could plug into my N8 and download the music to it from there (the N8 is able to connect to memory keys and hard drives, the MotoActv is a USB mass storage device like a memory key; this should work).

Gosh, mobility for me is an interesting puzzle.