10 iPad docking stations the world must see
Internet tablets are set to take the world by storm in 2010 with a number of companies either already announcing, or rumoured to be launching touchscreen tablet devices next year. But what you do with them? Where do you put them? And, most importantly, how do you keep the battery juiced? All this is still ground to be covered. Here are our 10 suggestions:
Oh and if you are a manufacturer who makes any of these, we'll only ask for a 3% cut, honest.
1. Back of your car seat for the kids
Car journeys can be boring at the best of times, especially if you've got kids. But just think of the possibilities if you could shut them up with a tablet that you slot into a docking cradle in the back of your headrest? While you can already get screens with DVD players built in, the ability to have a device you can take with you or play games on (Bluetooth games controller anyone?) would be pretty handy. You could even have a map app that stops the constant "are we there yet" cries from the back seat.
2. On your dashboard so you can use it as a super satnav
Still in the car, what about a dashboard offering that gives you a whopping 7 or 10-inch screen satnav to direct you to your destination with the help of a GPS receiver? The docking station negates the constant issues over poor battery life, while a direct connection into your car's stereo could mean that it becomes the perfect entertainment hub for the car, as well allowing you to rock to the beat as you race (read sit) through traffic. The only problem will be keeping your eyes on the road.
3. In the back of an airplane seat so you can bring your own content
Like the car headset option, airlines could take it one step further and create a docking station for an internet tablet in the back of a seat. Instead of the usual crummy (Virgin Atlantic not you) films and shows to watch, you get to bring your own entertainment. A charging option would mean that your movie watching will last longer than just the first film, while on-board internet means you can read Pocket-lint 35,000 feet in the air.
4. In the kitchen as a drop down from the cupboard so you can surf the Internet while you cook
Sod flicking through a cook book trying to figure out what to make with the random ingredients you've amassed in your pantry. An under the over-head cupboard docking station would allow you to quickly search the Internet for that perfect recipe. Music and movie streaming should keep you entertained while you wait for your 3-minute burger to come out of the microwave, you master chef you.
5. On the fridge door so you can email as you grab the milk
LG and Samsung have been trying to get you excited about internet enabled fridges with massive touchscreen displays for ages, however, you've never been able to take the screen with you. A docking station in the kitchen solves this problem, giving you somewhere to dump it and the chance to write messages for your family or housemates. Heck if the fridge could add speakers it could become a stealth multimedia hub to boot. Now that is something to get egg-cited about (sorry).
6. By the bedside so you can treat it as a glorified alarm clock
The alarm clock is dead. Long live the alarm clock. It certainly would be with a docking station that turns your internet tablet into a massive radio music alarm clock, giving you the headlines when you wake up - or in the middle of the night when you go for a pee. It could even read you a bedtime story with some text to speech action.
7. On your desk so you slave the screen to your computer
That 7 or 10-inch display would sure come in handy during your day in the office rather than just sat on your coffee table. This option would allow you to turn the tablet into a slave screen so you could use it with your PC or Mac to extend your desktop. Unplug it and it reverts back to normal.
8. Waterproof mount for watching content in the bath
A waterproof casing opens up a host of possibilities around the pool, beach or even just the bath. Enjoy listening to music or just playing games as the water turns tepid and you slowly turn into a prune.
9. In the coffee table so it's always charged
If it is to become the interactive magazine that you want it to be, then you'll want a docking station in your coffee table so it's always charged ready to show off. What better way to do that than by having a dock in your living room woodwork? Slam some speakers in there somewhere, similar to Sony's home cinema stand, and you've got a boom box with minimum clutter.
Two tablets and a concept that involves the classic board game equals hours of fun in our mind (sad we know).
This article was first published in 2 September 2009