Tablets have a bright future. Not only are they incredibly cost effective, they epitomize portability and user-friendliness. However, there's no way around the fact that a tablet is not a full-blown computer. Thus, they have limitations and can find their way into usage situations where they simply do not belong.
Here are five of those use-cases I found in 2013 to be the worst ways to utilize either an Android or iOS tablet in the business, home, or public sector.
1. Trading firms
Although tablets are and will be the go-to tool for power users on the go, the tablet format is simply not powerful enough to be used by trading firms. Typically, a machine used for this industry needs to be very powerful and capable of working with clock accuracies within microseconds and needs to adhere to tight security policies. Typical day traders also make use of multi-monitor setups to enable multi-tasking of a nature that would send the average human seeking shelter in the nearest asylum. Over the course of 2013, I had to talk a few traders down from wanting to employ tablets as their primary on-the-go tools. Not only can you not ensure the security of the devices, they tend to not employ the power necessary to meet the needs of such a demanding industry.
2. As a wireless router for a business network
I get it... there are times when you simply don't have any other options. But using a tablet as a wireless router is not the best bet for business. First and foremost, you're looking at the possibility of outrageous data overages. Sure, one laptop using a tablet as a hotspot is fine — but when you start connecting multiple machines up to that tablet, the data usage skyrockets. On top of that, the issue of heat build up is serious. Don't believe me? Set your tablet up as a hotspot and then connect five laptops. Give it about a half an hour of normal network usage, and then pick up that tablet. Over time, that heat build up can get serious. Let that continue on, and you might well find yourself with a non-functioning tablet. When you add the heat build-up with the serious lack of security (especially on a business network), you have the ingredients for a disaster.
3. As a serious developer tool
If you're looking to simply write or debug some code on your Android tablet, feel free. It's a great tool for working on code on-the-go. But if you're looking to use that environment as a serious developer platform, think twice. Over the last year, I came across a few developers doing their best to turn their tablets into their developer tool of choice. In a perfect world, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, the reality is that most tablets are simply under-powered for serious code compilation. On top of that, if you're developing in languages like C or C++, you won't be compiling and running that app (with ease) on any ARM-based device. Of course, if you're developing specifically for a tablet, then you could make a go at using your tablet as a development environment — but when it comes to anything larger than an app, you'll be glad you're working on a desktop or laptop.
I shouldn't even have to bring this up, but I do. If you have to turn potty training into a digital playground, then you are doing something wrong. Tablets are not designed to distract infants while they learn to do their business. Give those children a chance to grow up and learn that the tablet/toilet combination is best used when old enough to appreciate the time alone to read the news or play a game — after you've already mastered the art of "the business." On top of that, should your child become agitated at the act, one swift slam of those awkward hands and your tablet glass is gone.
5. Jewelry (wearable technology)
I actually saw a young man wearing a tablet around his neck as if it were jewelry. On the screen of the iPad was a slideshow app to display various social networking streams. This, of course, was a marriage of so many bad ideas. First and foremost, the image stream wound up displaying an image most certainly not suitable for public consumption. Wearable technology was actually designed to be worn. The tablet was designed to be held — not turned into an accessory. Please, do not attempt this at home, in public, or at your place of business.
Tablets are becoming a tool capable of so many uses. In fact, I would venture to say the tablet has far surpassed the usage of the laptop. However, that doesn't mean the tablet can be used in every way. Use common sense and don't try to put yourself in a situation where you risk security, data, or your pride.
What is the worse tablet use-case that you've seen? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.