First off, I have to admit that my position on tablet computers has changed somewhat over the last year . This was largely a result of reading my first e-book, on the iPhone of all things. Sure it was a great book and that was the catalyst, but more importantly, it changed my perspective on the utility of tablet computers and given that experience, I wanted to share that perspective with you.
Tablets are small lightweight portable devices for surfing the web, checking email, staying organized, listening to music and using apps.
So what are the advantages of a tablet computer at this stage:
1. Really intuitive to use – Whether you’re 5 years old or 95, everyone knows how to use his or her finger.
2. Portability – They’re much easier to carry with you than a laptop and it’s the same size as your standard notebook.
3. Much better experience for surfing the web, doing presentations and reading eBooks than smartphones, given the bigger screen and you also have access to unlimited books and information.
4. Instant ON – No waiting around for your tablet to boot up like your laptop
5. Better Battery Life as much as 3 times better (12 hours versus 4-6)
6. Apps – An infinite selection of apps to make your life easier in different ways. (i.e. Dropbox to access your files online, Skype, Voice to Text Dictation tools, etc.)
So what’s the case for not buying a tablet computer:
1. Costs – Apple’s iPad is still setting the pace and remains the gold standard for tablets. Today, however, we have many more options ranging in price from just over $100 to $900.
- RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, which, following the latest upgrade and reduction in price, is a decent 7” option, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which is clearly the king of Android’s tablet offerings.
- Amazon’s Fire and Kindle devices are also lower costs alternatives to get in the game, without the big cash outlay and give you access to Amazon’s emerging eco-system.
- Soon to come Windows 8 tablets, which are, somewhat surprisingly, highly anticipated in market. Wireless carriers are now coming out with their own tablets. For example, you can get a T-Mobile 7″ tablet for a reasonable price.
2. Tablets aren’t as powerful and what you buy is what you get. Tablets are not laptop replacements and that really shouldn’t be the expectation. (i.e. No memory slots for added memory or the ability to upgrade anything)
3. Typing for any length of time on a tablet can be a painful exercise although you can buy a keyboard as an extension. Your trusted black notebook may still be 50 times faster than attempting to type on a tablet.
A few final thoughts
Many still make the argument that physical books offer a much better experience for reading, however, the writing is on the wall for physical books. Tablets offer people from the poorest nations in the world an opportunity to get connected – assuming the costs continue to come down like in India where the government recently subsidized and distributed a tablet for $60 – and become equally productive members of an evermore important online world.
The other development of late has been the emergence of smartphones with larger and larger screens (ex. Samsung Galaxy Note), as they blur the line between smartphone and tablet. The thinking, as per their research, is that people only want to have one device ideally that can do it all and with a 5.3″ screen it’s a good compromise at 1/2 the size of it’s Galaxy Tab. The jury is still out on this form factor and in my opinion the larger screen seems somewhat awkward for a smartphone. A smartphone has to fit in your pocket so where portability is concerned Samsung is really pushing the limits.
Have you bought yourself a tablet as yet? What are your thoughts?