Rear-Facing Cameras on Tablets: Why I Think They Make No Sense
I have a feeling I'm going to get attacked by Apple fanboys at the end of this post, so let's get one thing straight: I'm not targeting the iPad specifically, but merely using it as an example, seeing as it's pretty much become synonymous with the word "tablet."
One main feature of the iPad 2 was the addition of a front-facing camera, which can be used for video chat (FaceTime), as well as taking photos and having some fun on Photo Booth. Great, because the iPad (as well as pretty much all other tablets, might I add) has the perfect form factor for video chat. I've always thought that phones were ever so slightly too small to do long Skype calls on, but a tablet would be perfect for such activity.
What bothers me is the rear-facing camera. Apparently it can capture HD video, but some video demonstrations show that the quality is not awful, but certainly not what you'd expect of Apple. The main thing I want to address is the reason behind putting a camera on the back; companies seem to think that because you've put a camera on the front of the device, there needs to be one on the back, too.
There's a rather funny video on YouTube, made by iJustine, illustrating just how ridiculous you look if you were to use your tablet to take photos and videos. Of course, this is arguable, but I would be beyond embarrassed if I were to do so in public! Vanity and self-respect aside, it's also awkward; despite tablets getting lighter, it's still a lot heavier than your average smartphone, and significantly larger. Also, the iPad 2's camera quality has also shown us that smartphones actually have better camera quality, thus shunning away any logical reason for using your iPad's camera instead of the one on your iPhone.
This isn't just an attack on Apple; Motorola's Xoom also has the pointless rear-facing camera, as does Samsung's Galaxy Tab (which isn't a tablet in my opinion, but that's a different topic altogether). Personally, I don't see anything wrong with fitting a tablet with just a front-facing camera, and while fitting one doesn't detract from the overall experience, it's just a purely unnecessary addition.