The future of tablets? Read The Hitch Hiker’s Guide

June 1st, 2011 in .Blogs .Transformer Summer Blogs
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The future of tablets? Read The Hitch Hiker’s Guide

Adam –

Like many geeks of a certain age, one of the most significant and influential books of my teenage years was Douglas Adams’ Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Along with the radio plays and the TV shows, its wonderful oddity is still very relevant today.

I’ve also long marvelled at how closely Wikipedia resembles The Guide itself – albeit without the planet sized publishing empire of Megadodo Publications behind it. I don’t see Jimmy Wales as Zarniwoop, but you know, if you squint a bit…

Wikipedia may have already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Britannica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, but it can’t talk to you like the guide can, yet.

That day isn’t far off, though. The other day I downloaded a dictionary about dinosaurs for the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer for my daughter. Called The World of Dinosaurs, it came as part of a free package of children’s books through the app iStoryBooks.

Now, I’ve seen plenty of ‘talking books’ before. Heard many of my old favourites read aloud in strangely foreign or robotic accents. But this was the first talking encylopedia I’ve come across. And it has pachycephalosaurs in it. What startled me was the fact that here was my four year old daughter, wandering around, with a reference book which she could search, scroll through and be informed by.

She was using The Hitch Hiker’s Guide. I’ve never been so jealous.

I genuinely can’t wait until there’s a talking version of Wikipedia now – it’s clearly the next big thing. It would never work on the desktop, other than as an aide for the visually impaired. But on a handheld tablet? Perfect.

All I request is that it’s read in a Peter Jones-ey sort of voice. Please.

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