Tablets

Tablets are for people who hate computers

Tablets may be stealing some of the thunder from traditional PC sales, but that doesn't mean they're for everyone. If you're already proficient with a PC, you may be disappointed by a tablet.

I started using the original Apple iPad the day it launched in 2010. Same for the iPad 2 in 2011. For most of the other high-profile tablets that have arrived during the past year -- Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry PlayBook, HP TouchPad -- I've been fortune enough to get my hands on them even before they were available to the public. For all of these tablets, I've been able to experiment with them for weeks, if not months.

This little journey has made the past year pretty exciting with all of these uber-gadgets to work with and write about. But, after working with the iPad and most of these competitor tablets month after month, I've come to a bit of a sobering conclusion: If you're already highly-proficient with a computer then you're probably going to end up pretty frustrated with most of these tablets.

Photo credit: iStockPhoto/ozgurdonmaz

I've come up with a new rule for technophiles who are thinking about which tablet to buy. I'd encourage you to repeat this to yourself. Memorize it. It will either save you money or help set your expectations correctly if you do decide to get a tablet. Here it is...

New rule: Tablets are for people who hate computers

Okay, I know that "hate" is a pretty strong word here, but let's be honest, there are still a lot of people who are scared, intimidated, or simply averse to using computers. For many of these people, tablets like the iPad are perfect. The interface is self-evident, the user experience is limited and uncomplicated, and there aren't a lot of buttons and menus to cause confusion (especially with the iPad).

Tablets like the iPad are also great for children. Since most kids are natural touchers, they tend to learn the multitouch interface almost instantly, without any instruction. I've seen kids as young as two who have watched their parents use an iPad and quickly learned how to swipe to unlock it and pull up the Photos app and swipe through pictures.

However, if you are a person that is already highly-proficient with a computer and has refined a way of doing things on a PC or Mac that enables you to speed through your most important tasks, then you will probably be impressed with the look-and-feel of a tablet in your hands, but ultimately frustrated that it can't do a lot of the things you're used to doing with a computer, or at least can't do them fast enough.

That's the same feeling I get with every tablet that I try to use for an extended period in place of a laptop. I continually run into moments where I try to do something and get frustrated because it's slow, clunky, or impossible to do on a tablet. I always end up just wanting to put the tablet down and pick up a laptop to speed through the task. Examples of normally simple tasks that end up getting really frustrating on a tablet include copying and pasting text from one email message to another, editing a spreadsheet or a presentation, and shortening and URL and then posting it to several different social networks.

As a result, that pretty much relegates a tablet to a companion device. It's just not going to replace a laptop for people who are already PC-proficient. The best case scenario is that it might replace a second laptop -- the old, low-powered laptop you used to leave downstairs in the basement or the den, or maybe on a bedside table. Even then, watch out. There will be times when you'll get frustrated by the things you can't do on the tablet. As I've said before, tablets are good for two things, reading and Scrabble (or other games).

Don't get me wrong, there are moments of utter coolness with tablets. One time we had some friends over and decided to order Chinese. I grabbed the iPad, pulled up the restaurant's menu and passed it around for everyone to decide what they wanted. That was cool.

Despite the occasional cool moment like that, I think lots of business professionals and technologists will find that the Amazon Kindle is a lot better for reading books while laptops are better for reading articles since the social tools for sharing and commenting are a lot better. The only real advantage that tablets have is that they are a lot easier to learn how to use and there aren't as many ways for people to mess them up. That makes them appeal to a lot of people and that's why Apple will sell 40-50 million of them in 2011. But, I think that techies and professionals who buy tablets will increasingly find that they use them less and less as they reach for their laptops to do stuff that's simply too frustrating on a tablet.

Exceptions to the rule

Naturally, there are few exceptions to my new rule. Tablets aren't completely worthless. Here are some of the ways tablets can still be useful for certain people and certain tasks in the business world.

  • Field workers - For people who aren't at a desk all day, but need to go on site and meet with clients, show them photos or illustrations, and get them to simply sign documents, the tablet makes perfect sense and always has. Some of these folks were already on board with Microsoft's Tablet PC. The biggest advantage of the iPad and the other new multi-touch tablets is that they're a lot cheaper.
  • Single-purpose tasks - The iPad and other tablets can serve as inexpensive systems for doing single tasks like presenting photos (as in a showing for a photographer), serving as a document viewer for large documents, being a survey tool for people to fill out feedback forms, and lots of other functions that you can see if you browse the App Store.
  • The meeting machine - For people who are in meetings all day, like project managers and sales professionals, a tablet can be the ideal computer to carry. You can use it to quickly access email, calendar, address book, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can take notes with it. You can use it to show off charts. And, there's also a social aspect to this. There's just something a little more friendly about having a tablet sitting flat on a table and tapping a few notes on it than putting a laptop between you and the person you're meeting with.
  • Inexpensive kiosks - Another interesting way that businesses can use tablets is to create a low-cost kiosk. The iPad already has a number of apps that can streamline the process. You can set up a video or a presentation on a loop, or create something more interactive. A business could even build its own interactive app and install it as a private app on the iPad or on an Android tablet.

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    About

    Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

    212 comments
    ycc
    ycc

    If you use a Windows 7 based slate (ASUS EP121 or Samsung 700t1a) almost all of the issues listed are gone. Sure there are some idiosyncracies but no more than those on an iPad1 or 2. I am more than computer proficient and use my tabet as my pc. I have actually used it for professional Excel macro development and it is great. i have two forms of wireles display and it works well at 1080p on the Samsung, i use a Warpia usb wireless display onthe ASUS. Allround, i you use microsoft office fully, a Windws based tabet is the ultimate way to go!

    Niel.M
    Niel.M

    I think Tablets are good for reading and game. I really love iPad.

    JackNg
    JackNg

    I like it. It can help me a lot when doing a presentation. I am kind of people who does not like carry notebook with myself all the time.

    JohnieEnglish
    JohnieEnglish

    I am not a big fan of tablets!!! Something between Fashion & Function? I don???t think they can do a good work on both aspects. Too Big to carry at all time Too Small when I need to work on it.

    karendavis
    karendavis

    I only use the tablet when I don't have access to a computer. If I had a computer or a tablet to choose from infront of me I would obviously use the computer, the only advantage with the Tablet is mobility.

    bezerkus
    bezerkus

    I do believe they have a very useful purpose and as they get quad core processing this year, there is no reason for 80% of the users out there to buy bigger more powerful equipment. I will use them as I already see the need, as I hook up my nook to my wireless hotspot device to browse at a more pleasant size while riding around running errands with the wife, or when visiting branch offices. I am along with others are in the minority as they will be most other people's only computer at the price point they are coming at (that is the key). Sad really as enthusiasts for the high end machine equipment will see prices go up as manufacturing quantities go down. Nothing will ever stop me other than $$$ from continuously building my own high end machines like these starting with my favorite cases... http://www.slashgear.com/thermaltake-level-10-pc-case-with-bmw-designworks-0636768/

    BlazingEagle
    BlazingEagle

    Some seem to be viewing tablets as a desktop/laptop replacement in their negative opinions of tablets. I personally have no need for a tablet, But I CAN see situations where tablets are advantageous.

    CharlesDR
    CharlesDR

    I am bit surprised with expectation ??? a tablet is here to replace PC or notebook. It seems to me like personal car (limousine and so) is there to replace heavy truck. And to be once and again surprised, that while personal car is good to carry family and to go alone to visit friend, it cannot carry 7 tons of sand. For me a tablet is device with specific purpose. I am with PC since 1990, even before with nice old Sinclairs and other 8bit ???beasts???. I am IT program and project manager. I was technician building networks and PCs for a while. I do not count myself among PC hatters. And I love to use my tablet (iPad 2). And I use my notebook and my PC as well, each for specific purpose. True is that I use notebook something like 30% of time which I was using it before I bought iPad2. Reading/answering emails in Restaurant takes me fraction of time (instant switch on and off) and so on and on (you wrote about the use) ??? maybe I am one of these you put as exception, but I do not really understand why that is exception. I never expected iPad to replace PC. I never expected to watch my BluRays on it or to make extensive photo editing or huge complicated documents or Visio diagrams. Long time I have a feeling, that PCs are not yet ready to be used as wide as they were. Too cumbersome, too unfriendly. Tablet is finally what I would expect PCs could have been some time ago. Easy to manage, straightforward. Like if you would like to watch TV. Or drive a car. Or listen CD. Therefore I see your point, nevertheless I am not sure where there where a flyer ???Replace the PC ??? buy yourself a tablet???. I never saw it. Isn???t it just your wish? ;-)

    roystreet
    roystreet

    Hi All: I totally agree most tablets out there are for quick & simple tasks. I think that's their design intention - At least I hope so. They are wonderful with entertainment 'tasks'. I don't agree about that tablets are for people who "hate" computers - Definitely hate is a very strong word. It always goes back to your needs & what you just plain like to have at your fingertips. I wanted to have a tablet, but I had specific requirements or I couldn't justify getting one. I refuse to have an entertainment device & a home computer - What's the use?? My Requirements? - The new device MUST be able to run my existing productivity software, including MS Office & graphic design software. It MUST be able to connect to my printers, external drives, wireless keyboard/mouse, & my external (big) monitor. AND - I must be able to write on it. That's a lot to ask from a little ole tablet. Repeatedly I found tablets were just a continual let down for my productivity needs, they might look nice, flashy, & great for eye candy. If I used an Andriod or iOS device I just couldn't be seriously productive. I have the ability on my iPhone to work with word & excel, but very limited. I can barely print some documents from it. I found a tablet that would work - Yes I did!! It's the Acer Iconia. It has a detachable keyboard (Just attaches into one of the USB ports on the bottom) so there isn't some special dock, it just plugs in & yes it becomes a small laptop. It also can lay down on the keyboard & lock closed as a laptop ready to go with you. The base has 2 USB ports to replace the ones that it covers. I don't say it's a netbook because this can actually handle some resource intensive applications (AKA Hogs) Here's how it's used at home (Sometimes) Plug in my: External monitor via HDMI USB Hub which includes wireless keyboard & occasionally my DVD burner (I use it rarely) A wireless mouse receiver My iPhone to snyc Thumb drive (Oh, I can also use a hard wired network cable RJ-45 when the keyboard attached) I can also plug in my SD card that my camera uses to download pictures But my general use is without anything connected to it. (or just a my wireless mouse receiver) Well, this basically exactly what my laptop or a PC would do. When I have all of this connected, you wouldn't know it's a tablet. Then I can unplug the little Acer & take it with me. No matter if I'm in the living room or on the go somewhere, I can write word documents, mess around with Access databases, surf the web, or yes - Even do some graphic design work. It handles basically all of the web perfectly because it uses Windows 7. No real issue with learning a new OS, no real transition stage of if I can or can't use this software. Microsoft did well this time with Windows 7. Also, I have never seen handwriting recognition as good as windows has. It learns your handwriting - Even if your writing it is scribbling. It is very light weight & I've seen the battery life easily go over 6 hours, even possibly up to 10 hours! It has a sleep button on the side, so when I sit it down it keeps in the state I left it. I press the button again when I'm ready to use & it's instantly ready. No reboot time to wait for. Just like my iPhone!! I have to say - This is exactly what I was looking for! What does it cost me? Well, it cost me around $549.00 - It includes the keyboard 'base' if you want to use it. What else does it cost me? Well, I will say that I have taken a performance hit. Yes, it is a little slower at times when a lot of it's resources are being used. I have easily had multiple word documents open that are around 1 to 10 mb in size at the same time I've had a browser open & had paint.net open (Graphic editting) And....Drumroll...It didn't crash! I've also taken a hit on hard drive size. It comes with a 32gb SSD (hard drive), but I can use the SD Card slot to increase my available memory space if needed. Hopefully this was helpful, but maybe not - But Acer has done a great job with the W500. They also have an Andriod version, but I wouldn't touch it :) I have written a script that will sync files to my server when I turn on my tablet & it connects to my network - So it backs up what I want it to. It's able to recognize at least 5 finger touch points - My iPhone can detect 2 fingers. Is this able to replace my laptop or a pc? Yes, it certainly is. If you want something where you can enjoy the web or be incredibly productive don't look at Andriod devices - That's not what they are made for. Look to the Acer Iconia w500.

    PC Ferret
    PC Ferret

    Tablet computer with touchscreen and handwriting recognition from the 1980's. A little too far ahead of its time.

    tablet2cases
    tablet2cases

    reads more like a selling headline rather than actual fact. if tablet buyers hate computers, then based on the number of ppl buying them it seems like most people hate computers in the first place. not sure if that is actually the case

    bezerkus
    bezerkus

    Flexibility in docking will be key and the tablet will win over bigger devices faster than some of us here would like to see. Very soon, your next computer will be a choice of Smart phone or a powerful tablet. Voice/Video calls will be relegated to the bluetooth device connected to your tablet for people always on the computer or the smartphone. The screen is just big enough to do work on the go that current smartphone owners refuse to do. If I could I would invest right now in the company that is producing docks for tablets with HDMI output and also bluetooth devices, keyboards mostly. Mice still have life but it's days will be numbered, keyboards and add on monitors no. Tablets and phones will take over and will be enough computing power for the majority of users and will have help with apps in the cloud. They will be the center (sooner than you think) of our end user experience with Win 8 and then to be able to connect up to either our monitor/keyboard at work, home server, or cloud services for storage, and finally our TV or Home Monitor at night. I personally want to keep my home server going as long as I can and keep control of my HD media. This conclusion of the tablet becoming king (having an Alienware tower now that handles everything) was a hard pill for me to swallow, but it is there...bring on the fancy docking stations!

    metaphysician
    metaphysician

    Jason - Your comments are valid only if you consider a tablet a computer. The bare form, like my new Android phone, lacks something major. The heart of the difference is the fact that neither has a real keyboard, or other I/O method that is easy to use. It's kind of like surfing the internet on your phone. You really need one for each eye, set up at the correct focal distance. I'll probably get a tablet when the prices get to the point that my wife won't cringe. But it's going to be kind of like a big-screen PDA. Useful for reviewing, minor editing, reading, games, etc. Something I can carry when I don't lug my portable around. Both are powerful. But different.

    kalyan_revadi
    kalyan_revadi

    I see tablets are for those who are on the GO ! it is small and powerful. Much better than carrying a 5lb laptop or 20lb desktop.

    adornoe
    adornoe

    years ago. Like the netbooks, which have been fading in popularity lately, the tablets will have their 2-4 years of popularity, and then they'll fade too, and we'll still be left with PCs of all different sizes and performance levels, still occupying the majority of the time of personal and business computer users. These cycles for "new and different" gadgetry occur in cycles, and after the tablets, somebody will come up with the "newest and greatest" way to consume media and do computing.

    Clayton L.
    Clayton L.

    I'm surprised to see not one mention of the slate. I've been running about 40% on my slate and the rest between my desktop and notebook. I started using the Asus Slate and absolutely love it. I'm a technology business consultant and this comes out more often at client sites than anything else. My typing speed is about half, but with bluetooth the world's my oyster. These will certainly not replace desktop, but I could see them replacing netbooks if not notebooks considering my slate runs an i5 with 4gbs ram, 64gb ssd, and win7. That spanks most netbooks and many notebooks. The drawback, like with any new technology, is its cost right now.

    Elementalism
    Elementalism

    One thing to remember, for the most part, tablets are still in their first and second generation(Android 1st, iPad 2nd). And, I do understand we have had windows powered tablets for years. However these were terrible for user interface experience as Windows wasnt really designed for touch screens. Windows 8 will change that from what I hear. Also those tablets were plauged with terrible battery performance. That said these current generation tablets are now at the point where you can reaonably accomplish simple tasks like email, browsing, and very simple office applications. I expect by the time Windows 8 arrives on an ARM based tablet we will see functionality, battery life, and performance increase. On top of that dock stations will and are currently available to allow for a keyboard and mouse while in an office setting. I dont expect tablets to replace PCs in performance driven scenarios. However I do see them replacing low end laptops and netbooks for people needing the mobility, battery longevity, and ease of use. I just got an ASUS Transformer. It allows me to respond to email, browse the internet, watch 720p movies,play simple games, and play MP3s on the road. All in a device that weighs 1.5 pounds, has a battery life that lasts 8+ hours during use, and can fit in a small sleeve. My Dell precision laptop has just turned into a desktop that will be left at home. It weights about 7 pounds, and has a battery life of about 2.5 hours while watching movies, and 4 hours playing MP3s. And requires a backpack. BTW I love PCs, and like tablets :D

    crick616
    crick616

    Here's my observation... A big appeal for tablets is their smaller size and weight compared to laptops. Netbooks should have satisfied that same appeal, but they didn't because they weren't marketed properly. Most netbooks are pretty crappy. However, the higher-end netbooks are just about equal to entry-level laptops in display and power, yet their form factor is closer to a tablet PC. The netbook I've been using for over a year has a better display than my employer-provided laptop and it's almost as powerful, yet it weighs just 3 pounds and is about the same size as many tablets. It doesn't have an optical drive (CD/DVD) but I rarely miss that. The netbook keyboard is even better than my laptop's. I can't imagine preferring a tablet PC over this netbook. So I would modify the premise of the above article this way: Tablets are for people who hate keyboards The problem with laptops... they have evolved past the point of inconvenience. Customers expected (actually demanded) laptops rivaling desktop PCs so they grew in size and weight, and now they aren't nearly as portable as they should be. And even though we call them laptops, they get so hot you can't set them on your lap. Networking, cloud storage, and PC synchronization have evolved such that I don't need a super powerful laptop. I prefer a good desktop PC (cheaper than a good laptop) and a good netbook... I can conveniently do everything I need.

    pschulz
    pschulz

    I might get interested. The iPad is as large as a laptop but you cannot do any serious work on it since it has no keyboard - and no USB connectors and things. So you end up with a large clumsy device in your ? pocket? wallet? large bag? just so you are "mobile". Honestly, it is a bit like the old days when a "portable computer" was weighing 15 kg or something and you needed to be almost Schwarzenegger to carry one

    harishkumar09
    harishkumar09

    Basically, I am looking for an invention that uses one glass frame or both of a spectacle as the display unit and some small hand held or wearable device which acts as a pointing device. I move my finger on my wrist or palm and I can see the pointing device move in my spectacle glass. Very cool device it would be for consumption of media, answering emails, playing the odd game, and doing everything a tablet does but without having the need to carry it around.

    AnsuGisalas
    AnsuGisalas

    Are tablets now having directionally focused displays? I hate having even my cellphone flat on the table, I can't see anything. Not just because of the angle, also because it's at a non-optimized distance. Hand-held devices usually are not really workable once you put them down... meaning that you have your hands full when you use them. I don't see that ever changing, either. If they figure out a way to let the tablet standable in a useful angle (some kind of flip-out legs or whatever), that may be something, but until then it will be for hand-held use only, totally undermining it as a replacement for even a netbook. I can totally see the netbook formula improving to make tablets obsolete, though. A netbook made like a large slide-qwerty touchscreen cell phone, with a swivel in the keyboard that lets it double as a stand - that would have everything a tablet has, with none of the drawbacks.

    baltovet
    baltovet

    Having been a Web OS fan since the purchase of my Palm Pre Plus in February 2010, and having seen the HP announcement of the Touchpad this past February, I was eagerly awaiting its arrival. However, as cool and impressive as it is, and having had a chance to mess around with one in a store, I am trying to justify purchasing this tablet. Unfortunately, I just can't do it with any sense of practicality. I have a Kindle for reading e-books, and I have 6 different laptops or various sizes and speeds. I'm aware that a tablet will not be able to run any of the programs I use on my laptops, and I won't have any use for it as a reader. So...........I have decided that for me, it would be little more than an expensive toy. That's not to say that I might not find some of the applications quite useful to use, but I would imagine there's not much I could put on it that wouldn't be available for my laptops. The best use I can think of for it is sitting in a car and surfing the internet during a long trip. However, I'm usually the one driving, so that would be an unlikely scenario. Eventually I may still find myself with one, just because I tend to gravitate to new and exciting technology. But, I certainly don't mind waiting until the competition stiffens enough to bring the prices down. Then I'll have a somewhat less expensive toy.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    I have to disagree with nearly every point made by the author. * True: Field workers will benefit by a tablet for all the reasons stated; but they're not an exception, they're a rule. * False: None of those is a single-purpose task because a tablet can do any of those at any time depending on the application chosen. It could even multi-task by tying location data to the database in use. * True, but: You seem to ignore just how many professionals attend meetings over and over and over, day in and day out in almost every career field including IT professionals. You might also consider non-profit organizations such as service clubs and health and welfare organizations which hold regular meetings. Quite honestly this is again a rule, not an exception. * Kiosks: You really ignore the convenience factor of a tablet for Point of Sale purposes. Kiosks? So limiting! How about yard sales? How about a county fair/state fair/whatever? Anywhere a hand-held device could serve as a remote credit card reader or digital cash register, a tablet could serve the purpose easily--especially if there's no wired electrical or phone service that other 'portable' card readers require. No, a tablet is not just for 'computer haters', it's a convenient supplemental device that brings the minimum needed capabilities to a site or purpose where a laptop would be too clumsy or too inefficient to use.

    your last hope
    your last hope

    I use a tablet like a nice toy with cool games to spare some time before go to sleep, a computer with at lease one 23" screen is just perfect

    Sam_Might_Say
    Sam_Might_Say

    I feel like Jason either has been personally let down by tablets because his expectations were so high or just has a personal vendetta against them. I love mine, it makes web browsing, note taking, reading, video watching, listening to/viewing podcasts and marking up documents so easy. I can see the limitations that people hate but a lot of the time I find it is more to do with website and 3rd party limitations, not the tablets.

    H.Matt
    H.Matt

    Same to me... Computer will be my first choice and tablet will be something for entertainment with its mobility.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    Quite frequently I use my tablet while I'm sitting in front of my computer--tagging a site or doing other research while my PC itself is occupied with a bit of rendering one way or another. It's also nice having a third, independent screen when your two primary screens are occupied with your task and you really don't want to cover either screen to look up something else. As I've said before, a tablet can be a great supplemental device.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    Now if the rest of the haters could understand your point.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    That doesn't mean that other tablets can't handle most of the same tasks--albeit differently. What a tablet can do and how it's used can and are frequently two completely different things. Just because a tablet is used for entertainment doesn't mean that's all it can do; I've been using mine to work on my novels as well as maintain charity-work databases as well as photographic tasks. Maybe it doesn't have all those connections that some people feel are so absolutely necessary, but then, it seems I don't need them either--wireless and adaptors for the infrequently-used single 30-pin port have more than met my needs. Different people have different needs. Honestly, I don't see an all-out need to have a full desktop OS on a mobility device for the vast majority of users. My own experience with touch on Win7 is quite unsatisfying but that may be due to not knowing what touches and gestures are recognized and not having any kind of guide or cheat sheet to show me. Adding to this the fact that very little software for Windows is touch-sensitive--our should I say, touch-centric--that makes the usefulness quite limited for now.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    But I don't think so; at least, not in the way you envision them. For a tablet to become a PC replacement it's going to need to get significantly larger. When it does, it ceases to be a mobility device which effectively eliminates its usefulness as a tablet. However, that same touch capability will make things like the Star Trek wall- and control system computer on the Enterprise D very possible. In fact, I think this is where Microsoft's "Surface" technology is trying to go but hasn't had the impact they envisioned when they created it. Honestly, a $50,000 table is gross overkill for what the real capabilities were. Touch technology is improving, but without the apps to make it work, it's useless. As for your docks, I might point out that probably the most intriguing docks are ones that don't look like docks. Apple has submitted a patent application that implies a tablet or phone socketed into a desktop display like an oversized SD card while ASUS has a tablet concept that plugs a smart phone into the back like a battery with a locking cover over it. To me these concepts are far more efficient and realistic--reducing the risk of damaged connectors and making the slide-out components more usable for what they are--mobility devices. Add to this Apple's concept of cloud computing, which is significantly different from what anybody else has demonstrated, and I think the external dock concept will fade as quickly as the netbook itself, which these current docks are trying to emulate.

    rhonin
    rhonin

    A netbook = scaled down cheaper more portable notebook A tablet = ......................................... hmmmmmm........... still looking For netbooks, the fate was sealed with the flood of low cost notebooks. To use the same thinking for tablets, what device would / could be their downfall? :|

    CharlieSpencer
    CharlieSpencer

    You say the first two models lack a keyboard and USB, but you hope those features will be included in something smaller?

    jfuller05
    jfuller05

    baby step further and just ask for the matrix?

    CharlieSpencer
    CharlieSpencer

    It's bad enough we have to put up with the Bluetoothed idjits walking around apparently talking to themselves. Now you want them pointing and gesturing too, and bumping into things because their vision is focused on a game instead of where they're walking (or even worse, driving). Gods of us all, can't anyone stand to be offline anymore?

    bvlenci
    bvlenci

    I used to read in bed with my netbook and a Kindle application. However, now I have a real Kindle and, for reading while lying on your back, a netbook is not a great idea. I do agree that having to hold the tablet (or phone) in your hand all the time is a real drawback otherwise.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    Nearly every tablet on the market has a protective case that includes some manner of making it stand up in either landscape or portrait position and sometimes both. If that's all that's preventing you from purchasing a tablet, you're really reaching for an excuse. Tablets (and I'm not limiting myself to the iPad) can be and are remarkably functional, if you only have the imagination to see how it can be used. The netbook form factor, much more limiting for practicality, though admittedly useful for some functions; however, it's not the be-all, end-all of the portable computing landscape. Tablets can effectively replace the paper-and-pen clipboard much better than any clamshell-form-factor device, no matter how large or small it is.

    CharlieSpencer
    CharlieSpencer

    I know you're not suggesting someone get a tablet and credit card vendor account to process yard sale transactions a couple of times a year or fairs for eight or ten days. If the hardware didn't cost more than they'd clear, the transaction costs would. Normally you make more sense than that. Did you get on a roll and just not stop in time? I could see maybe beach equipment rentals; that's several months of transactions. Full-time street vendors or 'roach coaches', sure. But, like field workers, I regard those as exceptions to the general pool of potential users. The key word is still 'supplemental'.

    dogknees
    dogknees

    How much content creation do you do on your tablet? How many pages of text can you enter in 10 minutes typing on the screen?

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    But don't blind yourself to what it can do for you in productivity as well.

    adornoe
    adornoe

    Tablets are very expensive for their limited features, and when compared to full-feature laptops/notebooks, which sell for a lot less, then the answer is the same as what doomed the netbooks.

    dcolbert
    dcolbert

    Also known as the iPod Touch Maxi. :) I dunno if this poster is trolling or completely disconnected from reality... but - Jobs has repeatedly claimed he has no intention of entering the 7" form factor for iOS devices. He doesn't see the value. There is a value there - but it *may* remain a relative niche, and adding a model to the iOS line there *might* be too much of a crowd. At this point, you can go very small screen with a touch or bigger screen with an iPad. The 7" format is GREAT for e-reading... the device is about the size of a paper-back when you go with this format. I just don't know if there is enough justification for Apple to really ever make a 7" iPod/iPad. Furthermore... you can already get blue-tooth and USB keyboards for iPads. But you'll NEVER get full true, USB host on an iOS device, without jailbreaking. I just don't see any flexibility among Apple's policies on this factor. Unless Android starts to *completely* dominante and it is this clear difference that is driving sales, Apple is not going to give in on this.

    santeewelding
    santeewelding

    Of the Borg alcove. I would strap me in and have my manservant push me about with a handtruck.

    tbmay
    tbmay

    I agree you with.

    AnsuGisalas
    AnsuGisalas

    I would prefer a slide-out keyboard... right now space may be a limiter, but that only means that there are improvements to be made on the components side. By the time the hand-held device has grown up, the battery life will no longer limit connectors or technologies, and there will be space enough for a real keyboard when needed.

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    I clearly expressed that these were but a few of the potential uses far beyond the limited viewpoint of the author of this article (and apparently of my own detractors.) While I thank you for the compliment that I normally make sense, you, Palmetto, seem to have gone out of your way to say I'm the one with the limited viewpoint. You're right that a seasonal POS function is possible, but it's just as possible that a service organization could have dozens of fundraising events over the course of a year that on their own may not be much but taken all together could be as productive as that beach rental concept you raise. Point of Sale isn't limited to businesses, after all. So no, I do not consider them "exceptions" but rather expansions and more a normal use for a tablet device than an unlikely one. And yes, I have a tablet and a card reader for exactly that kind of purpose.

    CharlesDR
    CharlesDR

    I am using iPad very much as preparatory device for both short and larger text and as main device to answer mails and so and very much to for IM. I am typing when I need the structure of doc with iPad and later I polish it on big screen. I do not have any ideological problems like some to use blutooth keyboard to improve typing experience significantly, so I do. And I do not care if iPad+keyboard is still tablet or not - I just use it cause it is good. It is for me more efficient and it follows more closely my natural way of work - not be productive and smart sudenly while I sit in front of my PC or notebook, but when ideas come, I open iPad and type it in. Even when I feel like write more text, opening iPad and take my keyboard out of my bag is faster than boot PC. It just gave me freedom of working when I want, where I want. Yes and I do have my working comp switched on during working hours when I am in office. It is just easier for me to read e-mails in relaxed position in my chair... ;-) And yes again I am 2 days of week out of office on the move.

    rhonin
    rhonin

    Quite a bit. ;) I do almost all my blogging via tablet, email via tablet, document mod via tablet. Will say the doc mod is hit/miss and mostely on my ASUS, not my iPad. Android has better compatabitlity with MSOffice documents than the iPad. It is expectation. While I may not write a book on one (my ASUS has a nice keybaord so maybe...) I will surely review and mod on one. It's a tool. Be creative. :D

    Vulpinemac
    Vulpinemac

    Netbook sales leveled off when the iPad was practically an assured rumor--in other words, about 3 months before the first iPad was announced. Netbook sales now are a fraction of what they were at their height while tablets are selling in the multi-millions per month. No, what's going to kill the tablet is something better; what that will be, who knows, maybe some sort of wearable device with "Geordie laForge"-style visor you can see through and still get data. In fact, I think that's pretty much where we're headed next, at least until we can figure out how to impress a display directly into our visual cortex.