I think it’s pretty obvious that tablet PCs are the ‘IT’ toy right now.
The idea of having a small device that could have access to your e-mail, Internet and be able to do an abundance of other things is very attractive; not to mention the ability to touch the screen and have things happen. I think that’s the most novel thing that the tablet PCs bring to the public interest, and I think this is one of the biggest reasons why people purchase tablet PCs in the first place…
And while tablet PCs have an abundance of functions and they can do lots of things, and they’re evolving every day, but the sad fact is that tablet PCs spark more curiosity than they provide practicality.
In people’s minds, it’s cool to have this little thin device that has access to Internet and can browse the web and can play a few video games, but tablet PCs are not for everyone, and they’re not for everyday use; their purpose in life is to bridge the gap between carrying around a laptop and having a bigger screen than your smartphone…
I’m not saying that tablet PCs are worthless, because they can have a true usefulness in various fields, but for the everyday user, if you’re trying to replace your laptop or your PC with a tablet PC, you’re going to find that this is going to be really hard to do.
Over the past eight months, I’ve owned a tablet PC and I’ve tried to see all the positives and the negatives of having owned a tablet PC; what the pros and cons are of having one.
Portable, But Not Productive…
I’m not going to argue that tablet PCs are portable; they are very portable. They fit in cars, pocket books and backpacks, and they’re perfect for the couch, but they’re not a device that you’re going to sit down and try to do work on, they don’t have that ability to be productive and comfortable at the same time.
Again, I’m not saying that tablet PCs can’t do these functions; I’m saying that they can do these functions, but it’s not convenient/comfortable for the user to be able to do these things on tablet PC. That statement is backed up by the fact that tablet PCs have a big market right now for Bluetooth keyboards and mice. And as some people may have noticed, there’s been advertisements now for smart phones with docking stations that emulate a PC or laptop configuration. This indicates that the tablet PCs really don’t have a true home to say this is where I belong; this is the service I provide.
Printing As A Basic Function…
One of the bigger things that I think keeps the tablet PC from being productive is its inability to, a very basic level, be able to print documentation, or just be able to print a page or two to a printer. There’s no way to connect a tablet PC to a printer directly and print to it. Whether you’re using an iPad or android-based tablet, both require you to install applications on a PC that has a printer and only then will you be able to print to that printer, via proxy; using the PC as a print server.
I find that in several instances I have to save my files on a tablet PC and e-mail those to a laptop or PC where it’s connected to a printer and I can print those documents with relative ease; something a tablet PC makes very difficult.
Tablet PC’s Are Solid-State Devices…
Another problem that I have with the tablet PC is the lack of hardware flexibility. Tablet PCs are very similar to laptops, but more restrictive in the aspect of hardware. Laptops are convenient in a way that you can purchase laptops and you have the ability to upgrade the hard drive or upgrade the memory, or you can even plug in external hard drives to add additional storage; these are things that you can’t do with a tablet PC.
And the problem with technology inherently is that it doubles every six months. When you purchase the newest piece of hardware or top or PC or tablet PC, the next version of that device is already in development. And we’re finding is right now tablet PCs are struggling to provide the performance that people are used to with laptops and PCs.
The bigger the screens on these tablet PCs, more processing power it takes to render the screen. Tablet PCs need more memory, they need more processing power and with each new application is developed, it’s more complicated; and with each new operating system update, things get more complicated and requires more processing power.
Tablet PCs cannot be upgraded and most of the time they’re fairly limited on what you can do at the time you purchase them. I consider them the equivalent of a calculator.
When you purchase a calculator; you know what it does. If you need a calculator that has more functions, you have to purchase a new calculator— it’s the same way with a tablet PC. at least with a laptop or a PC, you can extend the life of the device or the PC upgrading the hard drive, memory or the video card; you can’t do any of these things with a tablet PC.
Internet Access And Browser Compatibility…
Another problem that I’m having with the tablet PC product line is that it’s a half-baked, ever evolving, needs more work and almost done type piece of equipment.
PCs and laptops have already set the standard for what the Internet and for what browsers should be able to do. Since the introduction of the tablet PC software engineers have been struggling to create a browser that functions on the tablet PC, and has all the functions and abilities that users are used to.
Not being able to look up websites because of Adobe flash limitations, or not being able to run Java, or not being able to render HTML 5; it really doesn’t matter what the limitation is with the tablet PCs— when it comes to the Internet and the Internet browsers that are offered, they have their fair share of limitations.
Tablet PCs definitely have a ‘fun’ factor that makes them very appealing. The fact that you can touch the screen and things happen has a certain ‘magical’ appeal to it, but at this point in time, there’s no interface is currently in place is going to make a touchscreen tablet PC as productive as a laptop or a traditional PC.
Tablet PCs will definitely find a niche market with services that just need to be able to enter information pretty quickly, but low amounts of data, food services, medical, legal or survey type professions will find that a tablet PC is going to serve them quite well; especially if the software they’re using is optimized for the tablet PC.
And the overall cost of tablet PCs right now I think is still higher than where it should be, especially considering the offerings that they’re presenting, and how disposable the units really are.
So, if you’re a person who’s trying to move everything that you do from a PC or laptop over to a tablet PC user find that you can’t do this [completely]; you’re still going to need your laptop or your PC to do certain things. The hardware and software limitations are just too great, unless you can write your own applications…
I don’t know that tablet PCs will ever be able to get past the current position they’re in now. The business world needs their PCs and their laptops. Sales and service fields of business can probably get away with using a tablet PC for some functions, but when it comes to being productive, you’re going to need a keyboard and mouse, and a larger screen.
If you have a tablet PC and you have found a way to completely replace your PC and/or your laptop, I would like to hear from you.
Larry Henry Jr.
Tablets Are Popular, But Not Productive
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