Last Christmas we saw a whole bunch of people get tablets (like the iPad) and eReaders (like the Kindle) as presents. This year we’ll see a second, probably larger, wave of people open up tablet sized bundle of technical joy.
Blogs like Geek Native notice these things as each new year our traffic logs report more and more mobile visitors to the site.
There will be some differences this year. For a start, eReaders are pretty much tablets in their own right. I use my Android based tablet with a Kindle app to read my eBooks and PDF copies of RPGs. There now 10” versions of Android tablets, 7(ish) iOS and Android tablets and Samsung have their phone-tablet Note range too.
Just as some market analysts are suggesting Samsung’s marketshare will push past that of Apple’s, the Korean company is putting some extra emphasis on the software they’re offering. The video ad below – a Note to Santa – demonstrates The Premium Suite Upgrade for the Galaxy Note 10.1.
What caught my attention about the video (other than how handy the floating video window is on a 10.1” tablet) is how easy it was for a group of people to be creative thanks to the tablet.
I could easily imagine a GM using the S Pen to scribble out some cartography to explain an encounter and help coordinate some melee. Combine that the multi-view window functionality and you could even have a dice rolling on the side.
The multi-screen approach would also make it possible for Google+ Hangouts to be used in conjunction with, say, Google Drive’s drawing utility so gamers could chat, see each other and collectively contribute to notes, pictures or even try some remote mapping. It’s true that Hangout apps like Roll20 and Tabletop Forge don’t yet work on Android but surely that day isn’t far away.
It would certainly be possible for the GM to have different Google Doc windows open on their screen to watch for notes written by individual players (perhaps up to a group of 4 players).
I also like the idea of the tablet being a communal device during the game. It’s something that can be passed around. Players could, for example, take turns in scribbling down notes to record what happens in the game (again the S Pen feels like a good fit for that), updating group rations/equipment and depending on the game system being used players could keep note of spells and enchantments they’ve prepared ahead of time.
The goal here isn’t to give players something to hide behind (which I’ve seen happen when laptops are used) but to use a shared device to persuade them to come out from behind their character sheets more often. I think that’s achievable and is a good thing.
Disclosure: Blog post sponsored by Samsung but ideas, words and typos are all mine.