There is no doubt that the tablet PC (or simply tablet) has become a runaway success. People are buying tablets in droves. A number of people have wondered exactly if there is a place for the tablet. Yes; there is, but it isn’t what some people probably think it is.
The Desktop/Laptop/Netbook Replacement
Simply put, for the vast majority of people, the tablet is a replacement for their desktop, laptop and netbook. “Impossible!! Some will ejaculate, “Surely, there is no way that a tablet can fully replace a PC; is there?” The truth is that the average consumer use their desktop/laptop/netbook for the following tasks:
- web browsing, including: email, social networking and downloads
- multimedia consumption: music, movies and video playback
- documents viewing: reading of PDF and other documents
The above three broad classifications sum up what the average PC user does on their terminals. All three classification of activities are handled nicely – and in some cases even better – on tablets. This is why the tablet is a very capable replacement for the PC. Add the benefits of greater portability and extended battery life, and it is no big surprise that the tablet has hurt PC sales as we see today.
Highly specialised skills – graphics design, video editing, and other heavy-duty, precision tasks – will continue to need the PC as we know it, perhaps for some time till tablets evolve into more capable devices. But for now, the tablet as we know it is a perfect PC replacement for the average user.
PC Manufacturers Respond
One by one, Pc manufacturers either get the message the easy way or the hard way. Apple got it the easy way. As a matter of fact, they led the revolution. Manufacturer after manufacturer has lost PC sales to the onslaught of the tablet. It has been brutal and shocking, but the statistics say that the PC is losing ground to the tablet. And PC manufacturers are responding by attempting to get a share of the tablet market too. That is the logical move – produce tablets.
The Smartphone; The Mobile King
While the tablet continues to cannibalize PC sales, it hasn’t got anything on the smartphone. The fact is that tablets are not as mobile as smartphones are. Whereas the smartphone goes everywhere with users, many treat tablets the exact way that they treat their laptops and netbooks – fairly inconvenient tools to carry around except when absolutely when needed. A average mobile user who owns both a smartphone and a tablet tends to leave the tablet at home or on the desk in the office more often than not, yet carry the smartphone everywhere. In other words, the tablet is less mobile.
To that extent, the tablet is no real threat to the smartphone, as it is a threat to the PC. As a matter of fact, smartphones are doing some cannibalization of their own. The smartphone keeps eating up the feature phone. As budget smartphones hit new low price points, there is an upward migration by feature phone owners to smartphones.
While smartphones and tablets are clearly today’s primary computing devices, who knows what the future will bring? The possibilities are exciting. At some point, we shall see holographic projections, cybernetics, and certainly artificial intelligence become a part of everyday communications technology. Perhaps, some day, mobile will be gone, or for convenience’ sake, we shall just continue to call whatever evolves out of it the same name, “mobile”.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.