But is it real?
Ever since the first iPad's launch, people have been all a-twitter about the potential for tablets as a perfect "college student" computer. The basic argument goes something like this: What are the three things uni kids spend the most time doing?
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The tablet form-factor seems ideal for all three of these things. Like a book, you can lean back in bed or on a couch and read with comfort. You can also take notes on it much as you would a piece of paper, depending on whether or not your slate has a stylus. And, since tablets don't have keyboards, spilling your beer on one is moderately less likely to damage it.
Unfortunately, college kids tend to be broke-ass poor. Many, if not most, of them already have a desktop or laptop (or both) and simply can't justify the expense of an iPad. Currently, the only low-cost tablet options are second/third-rate devices. But that may change this June if the NoteSlate E-Ink tablet actually launches.
The NoteSlate has a 13" one-color display (blue and red versions are listed, there will apparently be a 4-color version too) and a pop-out stylus. It exists for taking, sending and uploading notes. You can draw and doodle and record on the NoteSlate as you would an actual piece of paper. It has a (claimed) 180 hour battery life, optional (free) WiFi module, SD and USB capability. It doesn't do much, but it aims to do one task very well.
And for a very reasonable price: $99.
That's cheap enough to tempt students who already own computers, but want something more practical for classroom use. And, since some professors ban Internet-capable devices from use during their classes, this is more ideal than an iPad in many situations. The super-long battery life is forgiving of people who forget to charge their gadgets when running from class to class.
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The NoteSlate is definitely worth keeping an eye on- one $100 charge is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying four or five big paper notebooks every single semester. But the lack of any actual images of the device (only renderings) and the weird website lend to suspicions of Vaporware. I've reached out to the NoteSlate people- we'll see if anything substantial emerges.