Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Screw the E-reader war, Get a Tablet PC for your Tech Savy GM

Some Useful Update, I've been spending a few days researching E-readers and getting their Specs down for work research. While the e-readers in the market is all the craze I stumbled on Tablet PCs. I found out there are Tablet PCs at the level of netbooks.

Comparing the Processors and the Ram (performance) of various mobile computing, Strangely the I-phone outperforms most E-readers at 800Mhz (G3S) while most E-readers (6inch) are at 532Mhz (They don't like showing their Mhz and force you to go to the manufacturer's specs to find out).
Even the Huge (with a letter size screen) iRex Digital Reader 1000s is just a measly 532Mhz and Just 128MB ram (which is Half the ram of smart phones) at $750. No wonder it is so slow.

Compared to the stats of a Tablet Netbook (which folds up to become a slate) at $500 performing at 1.6Ghz, 1GB Ram, with an 8inch screen, wifi , blue tooth, a camera, and modifiable memory your GM. Check out the model Asus Eee PC T91.

For the Tech Savy GM out there get the Tablet PC (netbook power). The price range is $400-$800 and is perfect for reading your PDFs, running your game (and dice programs) and keeping all your maps on file instead of printing them out.

Anyway I've researched and checked all the other tablet PCs they are all Laptops with Tablets, so they all cost at around $1300-$2000. Only the Asus's PC T91 is a Tablet Net-book.

Next- Things A GM can dowith a Tablet PC
- All Special written Props can be displayed instead of costly printed.
- Giant Travelling (non combat maps) can be kept on display and ready access.
- Just save the Browser Based Dice roller and save space on the table.
- Use online Browser Based Combat Organizing Programs
- All your (PDF) books in just your Tablet PC!!! (Save yourself 20-40lbs of books going to places).
- Use those combat mapping program, hook it up to a projector and use your stylus to move figures.
- Discrete playing, use the combat map on the tablet zooming in and out. No figs, No mess, and save the map when the game ends.
- Using Pictures and maps on the web, access the entire database of images to describe people, characters, locations, and stuff. As you narrate. Player doesnt know what your talking about, quick jump to wiki or appropriate internet reference source.


Jeremy Murphy said...

If you want to run a game, a Tablet PC or netbook is definitely the way to go. If you want to read a lot of books, go with an ereader. I just bought myself a beBook, and for reading, it's great. The screen is easy to read, it supports a lot of formats, and it's a good deal at $250.

But if you want to run a game, an ebook reader is never going to do the trick. You can't have multiple documents open, the interface doesn't allow you to move around fast enough, you can't use online tools...

Really, you're comparing apples to oranges. Why would you even consider an ebook reader for running a game?

justin aquino said...

actually I wasn't. I said get a tablet PC instead of an ebook reader for the GM. bang for buck. If you are going to something to display PDFs, consider that maybe a tablet PC may be better than an e-reader. They are apples and oranges, but it is what is better for a GM with One initial purchase and budget. If you are going to spend $400 or $750 for an E-reader, consider that for $500 you can get a tablet PC. The e-reader war may giving people blinders in their decision making because of the hype its generating. I want people to analyze their needs first and step away from the "purchase" button to consider if the e-reader craze is blinding them from other possible options.

Jeremy Murphy said...

See, now I'm confused. Are you comparing E-readers and tablets, or netbooks and tablets?

If you are comparing netbooks and tablets, I'm with you all the way. Tablets are better for this sort of thing, just as powerful as netbooks and similarly priced. They do the same sort of things, too.

ebook readers tend to be cheaper, far as I can tell, and have way lighter specs - not really appropriate for the sort of thing you're talking about at all.

I kinda see where you were going with this, and I agree that stepping back from the buy button and figuring out what you need is important.

Comparing ereaders to netbooks based on processor power, ram and screen size is essentially pointless. They are 2 totally different tools. E-readers use electronic ink displays and are built to maximize battery life.

Ebooks are really only designed for one thing - reading text-based files page by page. And having a battery that lasts a really long time.

If you want to call this a semantic point, that's up to you. But in my opinion, you are looking at entirely the wrong things when comparing the two machines.

justin aquino said...

Saying the initial post is comparing apples to oranges (they message of your previous post to my understanding) is what i consider a distracting and out of topic point.

Sorry for calling it semantics. I it was a distracting assertion. That is my fault.

Although I stand by my claim that the Techie GM should look at all the platforms first, his budget and notnarrow his view to one platform.
They can choose between: a netbook, e-reader, laptop, tablet PC and all in between.

Understand the key reference point is the techie GM needs, and they certainly overlap with all certain platforms.

Having more than 3 computers (smartphone, desktop and what ever.. or whatever combination) is overly redundant and has a tendency to under-use one of them because of the sum of the computing capabilities of all. (which I should have added).

If a GM already has a desktop and a phone is thinking of adding another piece of technology he doesn't have to by each of every particular platform. He can get one that suitably overlaps the capabilities of others and performs at the right level for him/her.

You are free to disagree, although I have pointed out my post was meant to take away the blinders in the decision making process.

As for e-readers in the research I've done all smartphones have the same level performance as an e-reader but with a greater variety of capabilities. in a year there is a possibility that some smart phones will be able to do that job.

My treo680 can already read pdfs with serious limitations. Limitations that should be overcome by now (since the phone is around 2 years old already).

I concur with your assertion that e-readers are great for what they do
, but as my title suggests, the e-reader war is distracting and the better and better e-readers are nothing compared to the bang for buck capabilities of a tablet (netbook) PC.

I guess Murphy, like you I can be very contrary and the hype raises a lot of red flags for me.

Given that the e-readers have an undetermined working life, everyone is scrabbling at it is the Hype, with more and more companies making it, and better and better options available continuously coming out every month till next year I would let the free market etch the strongest ones first before jumping in.

But before then, in the next 4-6 years (the time a computer takes to depreciate) I will go for the Tablet PC, which has been relatively mature for a while now.

justin aquino said...

After rereading my post and the arguments. I will must thank you Murphy, you comments have clarified my point and i look forward for your future critique.

Considering what has just happened, I will write more consciously and clearly in my blog. Thank you again, for caring enough to contradict.

Unknown said...

For netbooks, I like the fact that they can show color, some e-versions of books have a bit of illustrations on them. One big problem I have with them is the heat though. I don't mind the 2 pound weight, but it gets uncomfortably hot to hold like a book after a while.

Agree with Nikolas' observations that the ebook reader tech is not yet mature, early adopters may be on the losing end with new functionalities coming out on every new product release.