Jan 4, 2012

[Gadgets] Personal Tech Considerations for 2012

Gadget Hell!
by Major Clanger via Flickr
It's the start of another calendar year and a lot of folks like to use this time to set resolutions for themselves, revise their life targets and basically try to set up a plan of action for the year. And while I already opted to participate in this practice by posting my 2012 goals on my personal blog, I figured it might be interesting to do something similar here, but for a specific sub-section of my geek resume that tends to be somewhat lacking.

In case you readers haven't already noticed, I'm primarily a pop culture geek and not so much a technology geek. It's hard to explain why this is so since I do love and support almost anything Google-developed and I do spent most of my life connected to the web. But on the flip side, I've never been one to obsess about gadgets, primarily since I'm such a cheapskate in this area while more of my money goes into Transformers and DVDs.

And while I don't see myself totally increasing my gadget spending this year, there are a few things that I want to consider in order to move forward. So perhaps you guys can help a fellow geek out in terms of how to accomplish these gadget goals for 2012.

English: Android Robot. Français : le logo d'a...
Image via Wikipedia
Getting on the Android Bandwagon - Despite being a major Google fanboy, I've yet to invest in a mobile device powered by Google's Android mobile operating system. In fact, my phone is probably more on the dumber side of the smartphone spectrum being a humble Nokia E63. I've always been a function over form kind of guy (which is why I remain outside of the iOS world) and for the most part a basic mobile phone has been enough for me.

However at the tailend of last year I finally bit the bullet and got myself a really basic data plan with my mobile carrier - as in a paltry 50 MB per month. And while I have yet to actually go over this limit, I have learned to enjoy a little adventuring in the world of mobile computing such as having Google Latitude actively broadcasting my location for family members and select friends and being able to update my social media statuses on the fly.

But trying to better explore the mobile internet arena on a Symbian device is a rather painful experience given how the Nokia Ovi store just doesn't cut it and all the best applications out there are content to play in the iOS and Android arenas alone. So this may be the year that I finally upgrade to an Android-enabled smartphone - at least once I figure out which Android device I might be willing to consider. And I'm going Android again because of my aforementioned love for all things Google. I really think this platform better fits my personality versus the likes of iOS or even the BlackBerry universe.

Given I'm not even all that happy with touchscreen devices, I know I have a long way to go in this particular though process. Should I actually go this route, it means carefully studying all the different Android devices out there, determine what features really matter to me, also determine what budget feels most comfortable for me as well and then figure out which version of the Android OS actually addresses all my needs without getting to weird / complicated  / annoying.

by blogeee.net via Flickr
Consider an Ultrabook - Two years ago I was happy to finally get myself a netbook in order to rejoin the mobile computing world after my last laptop had been stolen. And believe me, there was a traumatic two year gap between the actual theft and the time I finally felt it was okay to get a netbook / laptop again.

And while I'm still decently happy with my netbook and how it fully supports my blogging needs, I am beginning to feel the pinch in terms of its limited functionality and occasional slowdowns on bad days. And with so many tech writers predicting (or just proclaiming?) that 2012 is practically destined to be the year of the ultrabook, maybe there's going to be a good laptop that will meet my needs.

I'm not expecting anything too top-of-the-line that will be able to support all the latest games or anything like that, but I would appreciate a bit more extra oomph in my primary computer's processing power. Plus the battery on my netbook has already reached that weird point where it never charges all the way to 100% anymore, so I know I'll need to consider either getting a new battery or a new computer in the future.

And I acknowledge that I still need a small, mobile computing device for my blogging. While we don't travel all that much, the few instances that we have left the comfort of the Sietch have reminded me why my netbook is so invaluable. Blogging remains quite the passion for me, even if I'm totally not getting any money from it yet (nor do I force you to click ads, har har). And it's definitely something that I want to continue to support well past 2015 (to pick a year at random).

But again, it means that I'm going to be studying the new products as they come out and doing a lot of feature comparisons before I get to that buying decision.

rocking the factory plastic wrap until power support drops their hd anti-glare screens
by brandon shigeta via Flickr
No, Still not Getting a Tablet - I still don't see myself getting a tablet anytime soon (although I probably wouldn't say no to receiving one as a gift). It just doesn't address my need for content creation considering the price plus I did say I'm still not happy with the ease of use for touchscreen technology. And if you try to recommend that I get a Bluetooth keyboard instead, that sort of defeats the purpose of getting a tablet, doesn't it?

At this point, tablets are really just media consumption devices in my mind and the only media I enjoy consuming on tablet-like devices would be reading books on my Kindle 3. And I don't see myself wanting to "upgrade" to a Kindle Touch or a Kindle Fire anytime soon since they don't quite match my user profile either.

Okay, I acknowledge these aren't amazing goals for the rest of you gadget hounds, but you have to remember where I'm coming from. I still don't see myself joining the hordes of folks who constantly upgrade their gadgets every season since my money will be a lot better spent on my primary passions like Transformers, Transformers and Transformers. Heck, I'm the kind of person who still ranks Transformers and local theater above travel, whether domestic or international. To each their own, right?

But this is where I see myself headed for the year. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out by December. Chances remain that I might not venture into any new devices and remain contented with my dying netbook, my not so smart Nokia phone and my battle-worn Kindle. Oh, and we have a PlayStation 3 and we're rather happy witht hat

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  1. I am so with you on the whole idea of matching your user profile with the right gadget! And yes - touchscreens can be quite troublesome on some devices - it worked for my Palm, but I'd rather keep my phone simple.

  2. And yet people continue to try and force me to join the iOS zombie horde, haha