Sunday January 6 2013

In 2013 shall you need that tablet?

Last year was a year of Tablets.

Last year was a year of Tablets. 

By Mustafa Ziraba

Last year was a year of Tablets. Even Microsoft, a software company, took a shot at the crown with their fairly elusive Surface tablet. The Chinese cottage industry is in on the new segment pumping out low end tablets running Google’s Android. Eventually, we shall all have tablets just like the proliferation of mobile phones.

But here is the thing maybe you are asking the wrong question. Instead of “Which tablet should I buy?” maybe you should be asking why you need a tablet in the first place? As for a recommendation, the two devices I can explicitly recommend right now are Apple’s iPad and, if you are into Android, the Galaxy Tab series from Samsung or the Google blessed Nexus tablet.

I have never used or physically seen Microsoft’s answer, the Surface, but early reports indicate it is not yet there. So why would you need a tablet? I must say from that Tablets are really content consumption devices rather than creation and productivity devices unless of course you have the necessary add-ons to make them so.

First off, tablets are undeniably cool. The iPad looks like a giant iPod and the look supersizes quite nicely. Offerings from other manufacturers are not far off.

Gaming. The iPhone became a surprise hit among gamers, or at least expanded the market to include lots of previous non-gamers such as my wife. Either way, the tablets particularly the iPad are optimised to improve the gaming experience, allowing new elements to be added to games.

Tablets are great for meetings. While you should probably be paying attention during meetings, tablets are a great way to take notes unobtrusively and, when things get boring, play Angry Birds on mute.

They make great e-readers. Opening PDFs, office files, long Internet articles, and so-on on tablets is such a breeze.
Tablets are great for movies and music. They don’t crash and are simply good for travel. They are just cool. They make you feel like you are from the future. With all the above going for them, tablets almost do not have to do things like Web surfing and e-mail checking or document writing.

But, perform all this and run several other applications.
But how much work can you do on one of these things? Do they run office? Okay you can view documents sent to you, but editing can be frustrating. How long will it take to write a Vlookup statement in Excel?

In my opinion if tablets can bridge the gap between work and home seamlessly then they are not going to be just a transitional technology, but one that is here to stay. With that in mind, companies like Microsoft are making such a proposition where they have a Tablet, the Surface, with a detachable keyboard.
You detach the keyboard and you dive right into the tablet space. Best of both worlds.

As of now though tablets are essentially an unnecessary device, It does not replace your phone and it does not fully replace a computer.