Tablets are nearly as ubiquitous as smartphones these days (indeed this recent report shows that more internet traffic is being driven by tablets than smartphones for the first time). In 2013, tablet shipments are expected to reach 145 million!
They’re on the bus, the subway, and they’re even used as a point of sale terminal in some stores. Enter any coffee shop and you’ll see nearly as many students and writers working on tablets as are working on laptops.
Are tablets starting to take over the traditional computer market? It sure seems that way, and here’s why.
The most obvious reason for their takeover is their portability. Sure, laptops are portable, but with a tablet weighing only one or two pounds, who would want to carry around a heavier, bulkier laptop? You’re certainly saving your shoulders and back a lot of work using a tablet instead. Not only that, with the advent of mini-versions of some of our favorite tablets, they can even fit inside your purse!
Just because a tablet is smaller, doesn’t mean that they’re less capable than a full sized computer. In fact, there are many things a tablet can do that an ordinary laptop or desktop cannot. Models that allow 3G connectivity grant you access to the Internet anywhere. Your laptop certainly can’t do that without a wifi signal.
A tablet is capable of doing virtually anything your laptop or desktop can do, depending on what applications (apps) you install. Other computer systems were always this way as well; word processing was pretty difficult, especially regarding formatting, without the help of Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect.
Top weekly tablet content activities according to US tablet users (in order):
- Send or receive email (65%),
- Get news (64%),
- Play games (60%),
- Use social networking sites (56%),
- Read books (43%),
- Watch movies (38%),
- Shop (36%),
- Read magazines (22%)
Source – Journalism.org
In terms of software, there are so many apps available through the respective app marketplaces that you can do nearly all your work straight on a tablet and later seamlessly transfer it to your computer. Tablets are simplifying our lives by providing us with scaled down versions of our favourite productivity software.
Apple’s iPad, for example, now has an app version of the most popular Microsoft Office Suite of programs. They’re not the full program, mind you, but honestly, when was the last time you used some of the more advanced options in Word?
The average tablet user spends 13.9 hours per week with the device (source – TheSocialSkinny)
Tablets are easily connected with work networks, allowing easier access for travelling business people to connect with their office while on the road. With that, many businesses that are issuing tablets to employees have seen a significant decrease in their printing costs. Employees all have access to their files and can see changes and updates in real time, resulting in a lessened need for printing draft copies.
Most of all, tablets are less expensive than more traditional computer systems. Especially with the new mini models, tablets are becoming more affordable than large desktop units, and even some models of laptops. Android tablets are beginning to outsell iPads, which are traditionally more expensive. You get all the technical capabilities of a larger computer, in a portable, handheld tablet. Who isn’t going to love that?
If 2012 was finally, definitively “the year of mobile,” we’re likely to look back on 2013 as “the year of the tablet.” (source)
While tablets have exploded onto the personal computing marketplace in recent years, their takeover is proving steady. All the capability of a full sized computer exists in a travel sized tablet. Sure, it may not do everything you want, but what technology does? And with the use of cloud storage services, access to documents and external storage is a breeze.
So, unless you’re a hardcore gamer, or just a traditionalist, tablets are today’s need-to-have technology.