Microsoft Surface (post #2) 16:10 Widescreen Issues for Music

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the Microsoft Surface, and my stance hasn’t changed at all…I want to see one and use one before making a verdict about the device.

But I did want to bring up one slight issue which I visit now and again when dealing with the majority of Android Tablets: 16:10 widescreen tablets aren’t ideal for music as we know it.  Granted, publishers could come on board with MusicXML files that would free-format (See SeeScore for an example).  But in terms of the adoption of digital muss readers, we’re really talking about moving from music printed on 8.5×11 or 11×14 paper moved directly to a digital format via PDF.

Most of the Android tablets, like the Microsoft Surface, are widescreen, meaning that in some measurements they are bigger than an iPad.  But when paper-based assets are show on the screen, you either lose a lot of the page (in landscape mode), or you get a strange border with a smaller image than an iPad (in portrait mode).

Your computer has a widescreen monitor, and that probably doesn’t bother you…but chances are that you are still working on documents that are paper-based (even if digital in the end).

Yes, music is very paper-based/paper-biased.  But so are many other industries/occupations.

I only know of two 4:3 Android tablets.  One is the new Coby unit (available at Shopko for about $200), and the other is the HP TouchPad (if you can find one and then modify it to run Android, as I have).  Certainly all the major Android tablets (Samsung, Acer, etc.) are 16:10.  The exception to this are the tablets by Kindle and Barnes and Noble, which are 4:3.  What tablets are the most popular in the world?  iPad and Kindle Fire.  Could aspect ratio be a part of that popularity?

Another question: didn’t Apple consider 16:10?  (Answer: they did.  And they chose 4:3).

Yes, there will be a day when aspect ratio doesn’t matter, but that day hasn’t arrived, particularly when education (and other occupations) are first looking at tablets as replacements and substitutes for paper resources.  We won’t always be limited by 4:3 resources, but at this point of the game, that is where most of us will want to be.