When it comes to tablet computers, size matters. If you think about the iPad, literally what makes it a tablet is its 9.7-inch screen because the software is the exact same as on the iPhone. While Steve Jobs has said that Apple doesn’t think a 7-inch tablet makes sense, there is a history of Steve making such a claim and then later making that very thing he said didn’t make sense. Until Apple either creates other iPads with different screen sizes, or enough time passes, the debate about what is the best tablet screen size will rage on.
Samsung appears to be one company that is hedging its bets. Last year it started selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has a 7-inch screen, and frankly it, along with the Kindle, is the cause of the tablet size debate. At the CTIA conference going on this week, Samsung announced two other models of tablets, one with an 8.9-inch screen, and another with a 10.1-inch screen. LG has also made a tablet, the T-Mobile G-Slate, that has an 8.9-inch screen. Motorola, HP, and other companies have decided, at least for now, to just follow Apple’s lead and provide 9.7-inch tablets.
I expect that within the next couple of years we will see a consolidation down to a couple of tablet sizes. Seven inch tablets seem to make sense for people that value portability the most. People who own the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab say that they find it easy to carry the Tab everywhere, while the iPad is too big to go everywhere. I know that in my own experience, I don’t take my iPad anywhere that I don’t to take a messenger bag. On the other hand, I think some people will only use their tablets at home, or only where they carry a bag, and in that case value the ability to see more information, which larger tablets provide.