Given the 7 inch tablet, do we still need phones?

The advantage of the 7 inch tablet over the 10 inch is that it can be taken everywhere.  My kindle (7 inch) slips nicely into a suit or coat pocket.  I’m sure it would slip just as nicely into many handbags or briefcases.  If you have a device that ges everywhere with you, and which can do cellular communication, why not use it as your phone?

You, like me, might grasp the idea that holding a 7 inch tablet to our face like a phone is a non-starter.   And you, like me, might feel that a bluetooth headset isn’t something you want to have pinned to your ear all the time.  So the 7inch phone is likely to make you look faintly ridiculous.  Maybe it’ll become fashionable, but I’m getting old and grumpy, and it is clearly more sensible to hold something chocolate bar sized to the side of your head than something paperback book sized.  If only because your arm will hurt less.

My initial thought was:  What if you could have a bluetooth handset.  Just a microphone and speaker in a chocolate bar sized box with almost infinite battery life talking just to the tablet?  I can see a market for this.

But I can also see a market for something else:

Take the same box.  Put proper cellular communications and a cheap arm processor inside.  And lots of battery.  Don’t give it a screen.  Because the owner will already have a tablet in most places they go to.  But do give it Siri.  Or something like Siri.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the iPhone nano.

The iPhone nano will do all the jobs that a phone is good at – calling people, letting you make notes and record and be notified about appointments.  But it won’t do the things that a 7 inch tablet can do better (email, web browsing, reading ebooks, watching video).  And while your 7inch is quite portable – and will go to work, to clients and to the pub with you, your nano will go everywhere with you, so you’ll always be in touch: not just in the office, but also in the gym and int the park playing with your kids.

Without tablets, the iPhone nano doesn’t make much sense.

And, given that I own a kindle, a smart phone and a 10 inch tablet, for me the 7 inch tablet doesn’t make much sense.

But a 7 inch tablet and an iPhone nano – that seems to make perfect sense to me.


So, given the 7 inch tablet, do we need phones?  Yes.  Most of us will need phones.  But will we need smart phones?  Maybe, but not today’s smart phone.

And, for all I know, Apple might just have spotted just this path, and already be moving in that direction.

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