I love gadgets. Just ask anyone who knows me. I’m the proverbial heat-seeker when it comes to electronics. And, as we close out 2010 and look forward to 2011, I got to thinking about all the gadgets I’ve used in 2010.
Just recently, the four of us in my family upgraded to Android smartphones (G2’s running Froyo). I have an iPad. I have last year’s hot toy, a netbook (with a “real” processor in it, a Core 2 Duo capable of running 64-bit Windows 7). I just got a Roku box. I have a simultaneous dual-band N-router connected to FiOS at 35Mbs symmetrical. I have a DSLR capable of 720p movies (though I did buy it a year too early as recent updates make it possible for DSLRs to autofocus in their video modes). In short, I am blessed technologically.
But my favorite gadget this year is a throwback: my (relatively) new Lenovo T410 laptop. I know black laptops are oh-so-2005. I realize you can’t take the T410 out of your pocket and nonchalantly place it on the table at Starbucks to impress your friends. I understand how isolated the thing is without a GPS chip.
But all that pales in comparison to the sheer comfort of using a 14″ display and that ThinkPad keyboard. Every time I need to do something valuable — write a blog post or document, crunch numbers, read a PDF — I reach for the laptop. It’s fast and it makes creating and absorbing information a pleasure.
Sure, I use the iPad in bed to stream Netflix. Yes, I will use voice recognition on the G2 to look up a phone number. But Swype, as cool as it is, will never replace (at least for me) a real keyboard. Angry Birds is a blast — for about 10 minutes. Then, I long for a screen my aging eyes can see detail on.
The real difference between mobile devices and a sturdy laptop is the difference between being able to accomplish something more complex in “digital comfort” versus straining to achieve it on a compromised, limited-function device. Smartphones captivate you — but they don’t really add to anyone’s digital literacy, if you ask me.
So, maybe I have become a technology Luddite, clinging to email and laptops, stuck forever in the mid-2000s.
Or maybe the same thing that pulls me back to the laptop when I need to do something that isn’t bite-sized or simple entertainment will overcome gadget lovers’ current infatuation with mobile devices.
2011: the year of the laptop?