Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Flote tablet/ereader holder (updated again)

Update: It's funny how different it feels (in a good way) to read on the iPad without a big plate holder behind it. I took these photos trying to illustrate that.

(Photo: Stobblehouse with Olympus Pen Lite, 20mm F: 1.7 (hence the soft background))

It took a while, because it was a Kickstarter project etc, but my Flote tablet holder finally came. (It holds almost any ereader or tablet.) The box was surprisingly big and heavy.

It was easy to put together, and compared to my old book holder, it looks better, takes up less space, and yet manages to have better reach (over a meter!) and being easier to adjust. Not the least because of the powerful magnetic ball which holds the device, a brilliant solution to multi-angle adjustment. The tablet can be adjusted to virtually any angle or position, straight or crooked, that anybody could desire.

We'll see how well it functions in the long run, but so far it seems very good. You can adjust things just-so, so they are held in place by friction and you don't need to loosen any screws to adjust the position or rotation of the tablet. Unless something unexpected happens (and I'd guess not, it's a delightfully simple device), I'll call this a really nice piece of engineering. In fact this was expressed also by Jade, 12, who helped me put it together and could probably have done it faster if I'd not been there (not kidding). She has firm beliefs and good taste and twice commented on how nice the Flote is.

Photo by Stobblehouse, Sony RX100. Jade kindly lent her modeling talents.

Sadly, what with it being hand-engineered in the US, the Flote is not the cheapest stand you can get. But then it is an upscale product. I hope it'll sell, it deserves it. David Cutler has made a page explaining the situation. (Note: I hear that the price may fall in late autumn (or autumn in late fall), so if it hurts too much now, look later.)

Update: one of my friends wrote: "When I read in bed, I'm on my side.  This thing won't work too well for that."
You'd think so, but I tested it and it works perfectly for that. (I'd not tried it before, because I use glasses and it's not very practical.) You just put the stand and arm parallel to the bed, put the tablet screen on non-rotate, and pull it down to the height your head is at. You can place it anywhere you would hold a book, and your hand won’t get cold or tired. Behold:

"Flote" is a good name. Particular if you come from a holder like my old one: big, clumsy arm and monstrous mounting plate. In comparison, the small iPad seems to flote alone is space in front of me, it's really nice.

Holds anything between a Kindle and an iPad.

“If the pundits are right, and the touch-screen tablet is the future of computing, then we’ll have to come to terms with the Handling Issue: unlike with a laptop or desktop computer, you have to hold a tablet with your hand as you’re using it.” – David Pogue, NY TIMES

"We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Will Duquette said...

I'm still enjoying my Levo iPad stand; in fact, I just got a second one for another room in the house.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I've seen the Levo around. I'm glad to hear it works for you.

I'm glad the Flote does not have castors though: my old one had, and they sank into the carpet on the arm side, so it was never level. (But then its arm is pretty heavy, this does not look so with the Levo.)
The Flote stands level and it has six big gliders under the base.

TC [Girl] said...

Two things: 1) From the picture, it looks like the "side-lying" position is exactly 90 degrees (horizontal) from the portrait position; can it be adjusted to sit at a slight angle? I was looking @ the joint and it doesn't look like a ball joint...which, IMHO, would have been a cool option, I would think; and 2) re: the laying on the side: contacts are nice for that reason. :-) Even if a person doesn't sleep w/them in (which some people do; I couldn't), they could always be popped out, just before going to sleep. Just a thought. :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

It *is* a ball joint (magnetic, so it can be open), and it can be adjusted to almost any position and angle.

I think I'm too hypersensitive to use contact lenses. And they are not great with astigmatism, I've heard.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I've added David's original video low on the post. Here you can see the tablet being adjusted to many angles. (It's a funny video too.)