“The tablet was becoming too much of a hassle to carry with me everywhere.” That is a paraphrase of the words of many individuals who have owned and used a tablet. After the initial excitement wears out, many tablet owners just use those devices same way they use a laptop. You see, tablets, by definition, are not truly mobile.
It is generally agreed that mobile has seven traits that cannot be replicated by the six legacy mass media. They are:
- Mobile is the first personal mass media i.e. as a rule, one mobile to one person
- Mobile is permanently carried i.e. pocketable and handy
- Mobile is always-on i.e. always connected to a network
- Mobile has a built-in payment mechanism
- Mobile is available at the point of creative inspiration i.e. because it is always carried around
- Mobile has the most accurate audience measurement i.e. because it is specific to one person
- Mobile captures the social context of media consumption i.e. if the operator/carrier decides to track it, the social context information of the user can be captured.
Tablets do not fulfil any of these fully. Some tablets fulfil 3 and 7, because they have a SIM slot. But even at that, they miss out on the remaining 5 traits. It is easy to see how far from being truly mobile the average tablet is. The difference is glaring. In the end, a tablet gets used same way a laptop is used. Tablets are more dumbed down PCs than large smartphones. It is why they were initially called Tablet PCs. We got lazy and just started calling them tablets.
In the same manner that phones are inherently superior in capability to laptop or Desktop PCs, phones are also superior in capability to tablets.
We ran a survey of tablet usage recently, and all respondents said that they use their tablets for reading (online and offline) and video. However, 65% of them said that they sometimes go for days without using it.
For many tablet users, a phablet will eventually replace their both their phones and tablets. Phablets, being just huge smartphones, are fully mobile. They are certainly more convenient to carry in your pocket or in your hand at all times.
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.