Web Tablet: Toward Less Complexity

mockup of the dead simple web tablet

TechCrunch is usually a deplorable timesink but I'm quite intrigued with their recent post about 'A Dead Simple Web Tablet'

The idea is instantly exciting -- but the funny thing is how readily those who love the idea are willing to see it destroyed.

The crux of this product is that it's dead simple. It has to be thin, light, cheap, low power, browser-only, always connected, with no OS, and no tweakability. All of these goals work together toward one goal: simplicity.

Yet, people who claim to love the idea are also clamoring for its destruction: they're asking for more and more features. They just don't get it.

The acclaimed masters at simplicity would haveto be 37signals who've written countless salvo's on the less is more principle.

The general template for the 2000 or so comments on the web tablet seem to follow this insane template:

simplicity isn't just a bullet point in a list


i am 8 yr old dreamy eyeed blogger who will help make this awesome by giving ideas.

you MUST attach a microwave dish and a muffler.

Also, make it cheaper. Then i will buy two.

Here's a tiny portion of the 'extra features' that commenters have asked for:

  • Need the ability to add software
  • have a dedicated right-click button for extra functionality
  • where is the button to bring up a touch screen keyboard?
  • Make 3 different tablets at different prices with increaseing features.
  • Bond everything with screws... for tinkerers...
  • You don't need a power port - you can use wireless power transmition, simply charge it by putting it on a powered matt
  • add home automation\
  • Put in a standard ethernet port, not everyone will have wifi
  • folding in half would be a killer feature. Aren't LCD screens flexible enough?
  • GPS
  • a one-touch "button" area in a corner to pop up a FAST, dialog... for setting up a complete personal shorthand
  • rubberise the edges and part of the back of the device
  • Sugar XO for the gui
  • Car charger
  • Boot from SD
  • What about Verizion/Cingular WiFi
  • docking station for the Apple iPhone 3G
  • have a setup in the beginning when you turn on the tablet, then allow them to choose what browser
  • You'd better have Gimp/Inkscape on there too
  • make it so we can mod it
  • Add a button on the right and left for moving the browser backwards and forwards so that it is more of a two-handed hand-held device
  • screen resolution is at least 800�600
  • one of those little plastic things on the bottom of a keyboard, so it can stand up on a flat surface
  • Sliding onboard keyboard
  • A keyboard button is a good idea
  • a clamshell with dual screens
  • ability to run the Firefox addons
  • an adsense supported version for free.
  • Sound Jack
  • Bluetooth
  • Wifi
  • A few SD slots (must be more than one).
  • A modest Flash drive (1 gig)
  • A USB port on the side (attach a keyboard/mouse).
  • An accessory, cover, perhaps a fold back that acts as a stand.
  • A4 size.
  • local media storage is a must -- SD cards would be the best way to go
  • Ability to play rudimentary games and emulators as well as use some of the more esoteric graphic designs of compiz, like drawing fire and watching it rain on my lap
  • Multitouch would be a gigantic boon to the design and the function
  • VPN would be very interesting
  • try to include paint.net, the GIMP, or photoshop
  • I'm all for having different configurations and the consumer deciding
  • We really need a good eBook reader
  • Something sleek and black would be really nice with an OLED screen
  • hot-swappable batteries,
  • similar software to the really rather good MS OneNote, and a decent OCR engine
  • have a small covered USB port so you can plug in a typical USB Drive
  • a waterproof version to check the news in the morning while having a shower.
  • a bluetooth module... allow you to connect multiple devices wirelessly.
  • Instead of a slide out keyboard, how bout an optional folding bluetooth keyboard.
  • would have to have a comic book reader application like Comix, as well as the web browser for Marvel Digital comics
  • Given the prominence of videomessaging it needs to have a video camera and decent microphone and speaker
  • have a brick that is a battery that plugs into the device.

My book "Choose Your First Product" is available now.

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Learn more.

(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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