Tablets the King of Computing Devices! Is It? April 3, 2010 was a seminal date in the history of mobile computing, for this was the day Apple launched the first iPad and ushered in a whole new era in computing. The tablet-PC did not exist – at least in a refined form – before the iPad was announced.
Yet, within the space of two years, tablet computers have become ubiquitous, with dozens of manufacturers and thousands of apps. Research firm Gartner estimates that worldwide tablet usage will rise to 655 million units by 2016 – a huge number for a computing category that did not exist until two years ago.
The appeal of tablets isn’t hard to see: they combine the practicality and larger screen of laptops with the portability and ease of use of smartphones. The first iPad was even mocked as a ‘stretched iPhone’ since it shared so many of the iPhone’s design, features, and software.
Because they are so similar to smartphones, tablets acquired a market that wanted more power and larger screen real estate, without compromising on the features of a smartphone.
Tablets v/s Laptops and Desktops
A tablet is not merely a laptop with the keyboard removed. It is a different device altogether, with different hardware architecture and completely different software. Tablets are classified as ‘mobile’ devices, the same as smartphones and regular cell phones.
Tablets run mobile specific operating systems such as iOS and Android. While you can use a wireless keyboard with your tablet computer, tablets are largely designed to be used by hand.
Advantages of tablets over laptops and desktops
The reigning king of the tablet space, iPad 3, weighs just 652 grams and is a mere 0.37 inch thick. Combined with over 10 hours of battery charge and internet access via both Wi-Fi and 3G, the iPad is the ultimate portable device. Its light enough to be carried virtually anywhere, and the Gorilla Glass screen makes it surprisingly robust against the elements. Most tablets, including Samsung’s bestselling Galaxy Tab, boast similar specs.
2. Ease of Use
Tablets are designed for first-time and non-tech savvy users. Tablets do a good job of hiding the technical back-end, making them the perfect computers for older users. Combined with the touch-screen interface, this makes tablets the most approachable computers in the market.
A good laptop costs more than £400. Tablet computers from Google and Samsung, on the other hand, start at less than £200. With their ease of use and low price, tablets are the perfect computers for first time and casual users.
- Tablets offer a computing experience that is completely different from laptops and desktops. They simplify what can otherwise be an intimidating experience for casual users.
- A unified app store (whether Google Play or the Apple App Store) makes it easy to install, search and download applications.
- Built-in camera and sharing applications encourage casual users to use the device in new ways, while the touch-interface utilizes the most intuitive gesture device on the planet: the human finger.
- Tablets also have a decidedly different ‘transactional’ experience than desktops and laptops. The tablet experience is largely visual. Whether it is watching videos or browsing through shopping lists and pictures on Pinterest, tablets encourage consumption.
- Combined with one-click, in-app payments, tablets are the perfect devices for conducting transactions, whether it is downloading an e-book, or buying an app upgrade. Statistics indicate that tablets offer twice as high conversion as desktops – a factor that will definitely dictate the flow of ad money from desktops to tablet devices (which, in turn, will lead to creation of better content and products).
Tablets On The Market: Best Of The Current Lot
- The Apple iPad is the reigning king of the tablet computing world, and for good reason. This sleek device pioneered the entire tablet computing field and still offers the most cohesive hardware and software experience. Apple’s iOS is the perfect mobile operating system, and no company has been able to match Apple’s beautiful, solid industrial design.
- Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series offers still competition to Apple’s iPad. The Galaxy Tab runs Android, which may not be as polished as the iOS, but offers an enjoyable experience for casual and experienced users alike. Significantly, the Android OS is open-source, which means you can load it up with any app in the world.
- Google Nexus 7 is the tablet from search giant Google (which also makes the Android software). Running on Android, Nexus 7 competes directly with Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.
- Kindle Fire HD is the upgraded tablet version of Amazon’s popular e-book reader, Kindle. With a beautiful colour screen and loads of applications, the Kindle Fire HD has been a massive success from the first day that it was launched. This tablet is also the cheapest of the lot, with prices starting at just £159.
How Tablets Are The King Of Computing Devices : Conclusion
Because of their low price, ease of use, portability, and sheer good looks, tablets can be called the king of computing devices.
In the near future, it is not too far-fetched to believe that tablets will become the first computer for most users, with laptops and desktops serving as secondary devices for ‘heavy’ computing work.