Ruggedized devices for military, law enforcement or even outdoor sports use are nothing new. But what about a tough tablet for the home cook? After all, we could use one that can stand up to wet splashes and hot oil as we slap-chop and fry our hearts out.
There are several products on the market designed to turn an existing tablet into a kitchen companion, like the Belkin Chef Stand + Stylus or the Chef Sleeve — I’ve even seen people stick their devices into Ziploc bags — but how many consumer tablets are built from the ground up with a cook’s needs in mind?
Enter the QOOQ Linux-powered tablet. Harking from France and billed as the “French cookbook tablet,” this device is the first consumer tablet built to handle the rigors of the kitchen.
As a modern piece of tech, it offers a respectable 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor and a 10-inch capacitive screen with LED backlighting. But as a cooking tool — well, that’s where it really shines. The display is made of a mineral glass that can resist splashes and stains from liquids, fat and oil. Users can wipe it down with a wet rag without worry, or just use it with their wet fingers as they concoct their culinary masterpieces. (Yes, the hardware buttons are also waterproof!) And forget needing a stand or mount — this baby’s got non-slip feet built in, to keep the unit from sliding around on a countertop.
Even if these were the only features, I could see the QOOQ tablet being extremely useful. (Sure beats the nerve-jangling experience of handling other tablets in a scary cooking environment.) But that’s not all — the tablet also comes in red, black or cream, and has the following:
- web browser
- media player
- stereo speakers
- photo album
- weather app
- social networks
- Wi-fi support
- ethernet port
- USB port
- SD card reader
- 8 GB of flash memory
What about apps? Well, if you use this as the dedicated cooking companion it’s meant to be, then the main focus is going to be on recipes. And the optional QOOQ subscription service can handle that nicely.
The device — which comes with 500 recipes baked in — comes with a one month free trial for full access to 3,500 interactive recipes from renowned chefs, including 1,200 embedded videos, wine lists and cooking suggestions, and video demos for specific cooking techniques. Users also get weekly meal plans, sharing features, ability to upload their own recipes to the QOOQ network, and an automatic recipe adjustment feature. That’s supremely handy, as it can adapt ingredients according to number of servings desired. (If you know anything about tech in the kitchen, you know that this is one area where a lot of offerings fail.) The tablet even learns the user’s preferences and use scenarios, to offer more customized tips and recipes.
Not too shabby at all. And I’d snag this immediately, if it weren’t for a few pesky things. First, it’s not available in the U.S. yet. Second, when it does arrive, it will cost a wallet-slapping $400. While it’s not as much as an iPad 2, that’s still a lot of dough for an 8GB tablet — especially when you can get a very respectable Android tablet for much less. Third, we don’t know if there will be any issues with language or metric measurements. (Videos in French might thrill the Francophiles out there, but it would be rough going if vous don’t parlez the francais too well.) Then there’s the cost of the service — it’s a big question mark. The subscription fee hasn’t been published yet, which makes it kind of difficult to embrace the idea yet.
Still, I like where this is going. If tech makers can address real people’s needs, then that’s a trend worth supporting, especially if that price tag goes down. (And if you’re a technophile who loves to cook, but without fear of damaging the hardware, it might even be worth the splurge.) Check out this link for more QOOQ product info, or to keep your eyes peeled on news and updates, hit up QOOQ online here.