I refer to my Sony Tablet S, bought in April 2012. Here's a shot of it when new, illustrating one of its core uses, as a digital road atlas when driving around:
It still has three other core uses: (1) as a device for looking at websites, documents and spreadsheets; (2) as a small TV screen for BBC iPlayer; (3) as a device for playing card games on. But for how much longer?
Almost exactly one year ago, the SD card slot failed. More recently it has been having trouble picking up my home Wi-Fi, when the router is fairly close by - and it's only a small bungalow! It isn't because the Wi-Fi signal is poor - my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone gets hold of it in an instant - the Sony tablet has just become less sensitive than it was, or is behaving as if that is so.
And now the on/off button has partially collapsed into the body. It still works, if you press it in the right way, but it has no travel. If it fails completely, I can still turn the tablet on by dropping it into its charging cradle (not very handy if away from home), and turn it off by letting the screen timeout kick in. But that's not how things should be.
What next? Will it just suddenly die on me?
It's a model from 2011, of course, with a long-superseded processor running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.3) - so technically speaking, it's old hat. Well, I can easily live with mere technical obsolescence. But I don't expect important hardware let-downs after less than three years' ownership. After all, my Asus laptop, bought in January 2006, and taken to New Zealand and back in 2007, still works faultlessly. Sorry, Sony: I won't be buying one of your products again. My enthusiasm for 'Sony style' has been eroded to the point of no return.
And I don't think I'll be buying another tablet again, either. The original attraction was to have something that was a lot lighter to carry about than a laptop, and yet was still endowed with a decently sized screen, and (if kept on standby) an instant start-up. Back in 2012, the Sony tablet was all of this. It was a very pleasant revelation.
Now I'm not at all convinced. I see the severe limitations of all tablets - their lack of processing power and lack of internal storage. I think the latest and best Samsung tablet would be a big step up from my Sony, but I won't be buying one if the Sony kicks the bucket. I'll get a modern laptop instead.
It won't be a laptop for carrying around. For out-and-about use, I'll be content with my phone. I might miss not having the Sony's larger screen, but my Samsung phone's screen is brighter and sharper. You can see the difference in this picture, which has the Sony tablet and the Samsung phone side-by-side:
The Sony hasn't yet given up, but I expect its imminent death in the New Year. An announcement will be made. Watch out for the obituary. I can't see myself shedding tears. I used to love her, but it's all over now.