In the era of tablet computing, one thing that might have been predictable amidst the rapid proliferation is specialization. To wit, the QOOQ tablet, pictured here, designed for a fairly narrow function: cooking.
Why might you need a special tablet for your kitchen, you ask? I can think of several reasons. First, cookbooks are not user friendly. They aren’t designed for use in the kitchen, by and large. Mostly because they’re, er, large. They don’t wear well, and don’t stand up to grease stains and spills of different kinds. (One good tip of a glass of red wine, a mandatory accessory when cooking, and the page is done.) In my house, I bet we have 2 dozen cookbooks on a shelf, along with hundreds of recipes downloaded from various and assorted online sites and printed out on separate sheets of paper…some with pictures, some just text. We keep them all, but only use a few recipes. The good ones. 100 pounds of paper for a few ounces of value isn’t very effective or efficient.
Why not use a tablet like an iPad, loaded with a few apps, like Epicurean? Trying spilling something on an iPad. Try cleaning grease out of seams. Try constant exposure to heat and humidity and all things oily. Try getting just the right viewing angle. Try knocking it off the counter. Try finding a very focused bit of content, complete with video guides by great European chefs, without a good bit of hunting, pecking, scanning, and waiting for video download.
The QOOQ is kitchenproof, with a touchscreen specifically designed to be used in the kitchen. It resists humidity and heat, can be used with hands covered in flour or fat, and can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth. Its screen is treated to be splash proof, and is 60% thicker than other tablet touchscreens. The buttons are waterproof, the legs have slip proof studs, and there’s a retractable support the QOOQ leans on.
Content-wise, the QOOQ allows you to access premium culinary services and content–thousands of recipes and videos from over 100 renowned chefs–directly in your kitchen and follows you through the preparation of your recipes. With a swipe you can choose recipes, link them with a meal and a particular day in the calendar, and then create a shopping list accordingly. The QQOQ will automatically generate that list, organized by supermarket aisles, which you can email, print or view on your smartphone.
And here’s what I love: the QOOQ reduces waste, because you know exactly what you need and you can buy just what you need. Just in time, just enough grocery shopping is something that requires a good bit of discipline, and the QOOQ actually helps. And, it’s smart: the more you use it, the more it gets to know you, and offers a completely personalized accompaniment adapted to your tastes and you culinary level.
For the hassle and excess it appears to bannish, the $399 price tag seems justified. With the holidays approaching, this might just be the perfect gift for the high-tech chef.
Matthew E. May is the author of “IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing.” He is constantly searching for creative ideas and innovative solutions that are ‘elegant’ – a unique and elusive combination of unusual simplicity and surprising power.