Tablets

Top 10 tablet problems that need a fix, fast (photos)

I really want to love my Android Motorola Xoom. I'd like to be able to say I use it all the time, but in reality its use is mainly confined to my bed where a laptop would be too heavy and hot. So what is it about tablets that stops more people buying and using them? I think it's down to a number of shortcomings that are having a serious impact on adoption.

1. Better integration with PCs
Better integration in this context means better docking stations that would allow users to use their tablets more easily with existing peripherals. To be fully effective, these docking stations need to be capable of accommodating the usual collection of hardware, including keyboards, mice, speakers and external drives.

 

About

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 getjackd.net.

38 comments
RealGem
RealGem

Paging through generic pictures is a waste of time. Thanks, I know what a printer looks like. If you're going to force me to watch a slideshow, make it relevant. Pictures for the sake of pictures don't help. It would have been slightly better if your pictures demonstrated the problems you are listing.

Regulus
Regulus

I confess that I am totally prejudiced against ???Slide Shows???. You have immensely reinforced that prejudice with this inane and poorly constructed presentation. After scrolling down to read the applicable text, one then has to scroll back up to get to the link to the next slide. Sheldon might say something like, ??? This is just so wrong on so many levels. ???

magilow
magilow

I look at the slide out keyboard on my phone and wonder if I'm the only one that sees it as a potential solution for tablet keyboards? It wouldn't even have to add as much width and weight as the one on my phone. After all, there are keyboards now that are so thin that we can literally roll them up and stuff them in a drawer. So why not use the existing tech and just make a thin slide-out? I especially agree with the storage issue. Heck, I've had my smartphone a year now and it's running out of space. That's just from updates to the apps that came installed in the phone! An IPad - as I look at the prices - starts at $500 for just sixteen GB. I know we can do better than that.

ghost77737
ghost77737

you say that the tablet should be more like a laptop than a smartphone, i partially disagree. i absolutely love the fact that tablets are a lighter operating system. i dont want to get a computer OS on it that weighs it down and have to worry about certain programs negatively effecting its performance. Tablets are headed in the right direction and once websites and important software have been property programmed for tablets we will see and even bigger push into the tablet age.

afisher
afisher

Hi Jack, I think you should take a look at the Lonovo Thinkpad Tablet, very good product. Tell your readers that they should decide if they want a notebook or a tablet. Abe

GtG1
GtG1

When you prominently tout drivel such as this article? Most of the "problems" listed are an attempt to make the "round peg" fondleslabs fit into your "square hole" concept of a computer. The main purpose behind tablets are their ability to leave the extra gear someplace else. I concur with the need for better removable storage access; printer issues are at the feet of the printer manufacturers, but the remainder of the article tries to turn tablets into desktop or laptop computers. I have a laptop, a desktop, and a smartphone and use cloud based offerings to keep them in sync. When I purchase a tablet I will also use cloud based to keep it in sync with my other devices. I will not purchase a keyboard or other peripherals to carry around to make it more laptop or desktop like. I will use it primarily to read content, with only a minor need to produce a document. For the heavy lifting, I'll use my laptop or desktop.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

I just scroll past them. If I get interested enough, I go back and look, but to get past them takes about 4 seconds!

desilvav
desilvav

get a good reason, business, social, and whatever. If a tablet works for it, buy one, else go find a good bar have a drink, get a life

merkz
merkz

I have to take issue with your comment, "We need a single browser that is fast and secure and which can be used for every job". Next you'll be asking for a One OS Does All solution! C'mon, find something else to gripe about! For example the fact that I have to "step" thru all your pics to read each item in your article! Are you THAT Ad-hungry???

chris-b
chris-b

I got one of these when Woot! had them last fall for $279 and it's a great little pad - 10.1", regular and mini USB, slot for a micro SD memory upgrade, same chipset as a Xoom, and the guys over at XDA-Developers have several sweet custom ROMs. I'm running Flashback Honeycomb. I have plugged the keyboard here at my desktop into the USB port and it works great. I use PocketCloud to remote into my desktop, even from home, and I can pretty much do everything I want. As for browsers, Opera Mobile does a great job with Flash content, and it even does Exchange OWA correctly.

rwbyshe
rwbyshe

Clicking through 10 pages of so called "Image Gallery" to get this overly simple list! This is just about as dumb as it gets. It's this type of "article" that makes me wonder why I keep reading TR!!!

ddelapaz1
ddelapaz1

Ive tested several tablet devices and have found the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet as the most versatile for business use. With a built in stylus for hand writing recognition, slots for 3 different size memory cards and a sim card, full size USB, a great keyboard with an optical trackpoint and mouse buttons, it has great flexibility. It also comes with a registered version of Docs to Go, McAfee Mobile Security, and several other apps for printing and connecting to cloud based services. It also has a slew of managability features including the ability to login using Active Directory credentials. Though it is a little bigger and heavier than my iPad, Im replacing the iPad because I feel the extra flexibility is a good trade off. I'm not using it or trying to use it as a laptop or desktop replacement and have no intention to. My take is that its a good supplement, otherwise I would just use my laptop or desktop...

jeleslie
jeleslie

I think many of the points here miss "the point" of tablet computing. If you can access files stored on Dropbox another cloud storage solution, and stream media stored elsewhere (a PC, NetFlix, Amazon, Google Music, etc), then why bother storaging stuff on your tablet? That said, a great wireless dock for keyboard, video and ports would further the appeal of tablets by making them viable laptop replacement devices. Imagine placing your tablet on your desk and having it become a touchpad. The video gets routed wirelessly to a 21" LCD and a keyboard comes on line. At this point, already falling PC sales would flatline.

maj37
maj37

The point of the tablet is not to replace a laptop or desktop it is a different device for different functions. If you load up all the stuff you want then you might as well just use the laptop.

Crash84
Crash84

I use a Dell Inspiron DUO which is a convertible tablet. A netbook with 2gb of memory, and a 320 gb harddisk, USB ports and wifi and data. When you want a tablet the screen folds down onto the keyboard. The nice thing about this is I have Win7 with a touchscreen and most of the tablet apps. The bad thing is it has poor battery life only about 2 1/2 hours.

jvegh
jvegh

Would like to have a easy to use and functional word processing cababilities

heikodewal
heikodewal

If I need a keyboard, a mouse or USB slots for DVD writers or external harddisks I start using my laptop. That's what it is made for, mobile, productive.... But if I need to check something on the web, check my email or do any of those. Small things during the day that only means consuming information , then I pick up my tablet. I rarely have the need to print something from it. If I do I have access to dropbox from my tablet and from my laptop. Problem solved. To little storage??? Use dropbox or any other service (iCloud in my case). A tablet is not a laptop and will never be able to replace one. It is a information consuming device. The laptop is used for production.

davist@childrensfactory.
davist@childrensfactory.

When am I going to see the Netbook Remix of Ubuntu on a tablet? If I am going to get a tablet I don't want a phone OS on a 10in screen I want a full distro on a 10in screen. Even some of the "no namers" are running dual core with 1gb of memory which is better than my Asus 900a which runs EasyPeasy 1.6 with ease. Give me the Xoom with Ubuntu or maybe Puppy on it and I am in, bye bye laptop.

tsnow
tsnow

It's been said before here, but can't you put a link to the content without the pictures? The pictures here are not the story. I would be less critical if they were relevant but they almost never are. If you're going to force me to look at them, can you, at least, make sure I don't have to scroll to find the text? Thank you.

GSwinford
GSwinford

How about a screen that you can use indoors and out like the Pixel Qi? What's keeping that from topping someones list?

ivank2139
ivank2139

It's not a pc, its a highly portable content consuming and viewing device not a content creation device. One might find it useful for some initital content creation, maybe note taking but so far I have not found that very helpful. Integration with a printer is a good idea. Does this requirement get subsumed if the tablet is well integrated with the private cloud services in your office or home/office? Have to agree with you on browsers. And browser plugins and extensions need to work too. Specifically Last Pass has all my pwd and unless the browser includes a good last pass integration it is useless to me for all the online logins. I prefer typing to handwriting but sketching would be useful to me. Especially when I am in the field and sketching landscaping details, building remodeling and such. It would really be helpful if the sketches I created could be pulled into Google Sketchup and used for some architectural and engineering drawings. I agree about the prices too. There is not really much in the tablet that should cost a lot. The manufacturers must be making a lot of profit on these. I need internal storage only caz getting it to the local network file storage is not so easy. This goes back to my private cloud comment in #2. I should be able to drag any file to an icon on the tablet and have it moved to the Raid array storage on my home network private cloud service. I think of the tablet as between a smartphone and a laptop. And actually if I could apportion the features between them all, smartphone, tablet, laptop, pc, workstation and server with a little bit of overlap, and all melded into a private cloud that would be best. USB support might be okay but again better integration with my private cloud would be better. Better access to SD cards would be great but again better integration with my private cloud would be better. I am waiting on the delivery of my Samsung docking station for my Galaxy Tab 10.1 I am not getting much use out of. An upcoming road trip might draw out some additional usage. In general, I would like to see my smartphone and tablet work better with my private cloud which I have to admit is not as fluid and seamless I want it to be just yet. the tablet is going to have a place in all this, I just have to figure out how to get the tablet and all the other components better integrated.

g.eibner
g.eibner

Back in 2005, I had a XDA IIi featuring Windows Mobile 2003. It was capable to recognize handwriting, to print, to show presentations via Powerpoint Mobile on an external screen 1024x768, to attach to an external keyboard, and was even capable to send faxes. SD card slot and WiFi included. I always wounder why software develops backwards, when hardware develops forward....

AlainKaz
AlainKaz

Although I agree with some points (especially an SD slot and lower prices), most of them say "buy a netbook". When I'll buy a tablet, I'll want it to be slim, light and have a long battery life. The more you slap in, the quicker it'll die on me and the heavier it'll get. I own a netbook, it has it's uses, but reading on a train is a pain. That little iPad would fit sooo nicely in my briefcase ;-) I'm from that school that thinks "Better, cheaper, faster. Choose two".

vanzmann
vanzmann

I agree on every point. As much as I would love to have a tablet, I cannot justify a $500 toy/gadget, which is what a tablet is until these issues are addressed.

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

A tablet is not 'magical' if you can not be using one in bed and print to a wireless printer across the room. Great article. Most informative. Thank you for it.

AgetroNairb
AgetroNairb

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet comes with a full sized USB port for connecting mice and keyboards. The dock for it also has the same port. They also offer what they call a keyboard folio that's pretty nice. I've been testing one at work for a while now. It comes with PrinterShare for Lenovo for Internet printing, but I haven't used it much since it needs a host computer either on your network or on their server.

aaalvh
aaalvh

I am using dropbox or everynote to sync docs/pictures beetween tablet & PC & Phone & Mac ... still obliget to have a PC or Mac in order to print. Usb exists on tablet (my one is an assus, the keybord is a battery extension. My son is using a Samsung one and the apple) is there somewhere an "usb universal text printer" or a wifi solution? The google solution needs a printer connected to internet (ip device to parameter or back to a PC) ... not easy for a non IT Alain Azencott - professionel coach - working for www.tafa.eu in France - Cannes Sophia Antipolis area

deb
deb

I agree with just about every one of your points (although I've had few problems printing wirelessly from my Galaxy Tabs to my HP wi-fi enabled printer with HP's "app for that"). Rather than "more like a laptop and less like a phone," I'd like to keep all the good things from the phone model and ADD laptop-like features (such as USB ports, good keyboards, more storage). Something else I want is a user removable/swappable battery. I can do that with my laptop or with my Android phones, so why not with my tablets?

sullivanjc
sullivanjc

Yeah. Most everything the author said could be "fixed" with a laptop. Seems like adding a touchscreen to a laptop would be easier for what he wants

mckinnej
mckinnej

I wish more people, especially the tech journalists, would "get" this. They are so focused on their holy grail of convergence that they're missing some very large flies in the ointment. PCs, tablets, and laptops are all tools for people to do work/entertainment/whatever and like tools they have their place. A wrench is great for turning bolts, but they are lousy for driving nails. Likewise a hammer drives a nail easily, but you'd be very lucky if you could ever loosen a bolt with one. If the convergence folks got their hands on these two we'd have wrenches with hammer heads on the end. Typically all-in-one tools can do a lot of stuff, but are not very good at anything. Using this example what we'd end up with is a wrench with a clumsy hammer on the end that's always in the way or a hammer that doesn't do a good job of driving nails because it has these wrench pieces sticking out. That's where I see folks headed with tablets and even smartphones. They want one device to do everything, but once they get it, they probably won't like it. We're already seeing tablets with a swarm of add-ons in an attempt to make one device do everything. I find myself scratching my head searching for the advantages. Wouldn't a laptop or netbook have been a simpler solution? Convergence might be a good thing when a little common sense is applied. I think we're better off keeping our toolboxes full of tools that are really good at what they're designed for and leave the all-in-one junk on the late night infomercials.

ypsrudy
ypsrudy

Everybody just chill. These tablets will eventually get to the point where they will be as useful as a laptop or desktop. You can see that the laptop has already replaced the desktop. That said the Tablet will soon become multi-functional, kind of like a transformer. I think the asus transformer has got the blueprint for success. It just needs a little refinement, time and good engineering and it will emerge a hybrid-Cross between a laptop and a tablet. One day you'll notice it has transformed into a laptop replacement with all the feature we all want. whoo-hoo

millsken16
millsken16

Author wants a desktop pc as a tablet. If you want a real keyboard, it's no longer a tablet - same with mouse, big memory, aux ports, printers etc. What you want is available as a netbook. Small size, real keyboard, mouse, storage, peripherals, etc. Just glue a mitten to your netbook and move on....

chalicemedia
chalicemedia

If you viewing this site via a paid subscription, then ignore the following and have a great day. I believe that I get a lot of valuable content for free, OK, nothing is free... but my small, small business is not out-of-pocket for the information I get here. Websmart people, as we all are, certainly understand the concept of metrics -- the kind of metrics that allow enough revenue generation to keep the doors open. --- yeah, clicking through pages can be a pain, but in my case, the info I add to my personal knowledge arsenal is worth the few clicks.

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

there are alternatives, for example Archos tablets which are available for less than $350

millsken16
millsken16

The tablet in it's most ubiquitous form from apple has stretched the range of computing from a rigid high school typewriter ergonomic to a simple lightweight mobile one handed feet up reclined or any other desired ergonomic. It expands the function of a laptop to a handheld without the inherent squinting of a smartphone. Yes there will be refinement, however on the tablet side this is limited simply due to to limits placed on it already. The refinement will come from the core funtionality of the computing environment and not a phase change to an offshoot -no matter how curious. Laptops will shrink, we saw that with minis, then people could not type using the mini as a chest-top which was needed to see the 10" screen reasonably. Answer, remove the keyboard and put it on the screen. It no longer means trying to type with your chin, but gives minor input functionality. The remainder, and good to be so, is touch pointing with the touchscreen at the chest top distances. The laptop will continue to exist for those who want or need the elbows at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, and wrists straight, home keys crowd. However, it will also act as a tablet as electronics, battery, and screen technology allows it. The first tablet pcs died because the tech was not there to support it, nor was the arm strength to be sure. But now? Give me a 8.5 x 11 screen size tablet that weighs little, and has a touchpad and folio type backflip motion keyboard and I'm good to go. Add a ring lookalike and sized motion mouse and I'll beat down your door to get it. Btw: whoever puts this into production, do count me in on the inellectual property rights, you saw it here first.