I was sitting in the airport and surveyed the variety of devices in the terminal – laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Notably absent though, were netbooks. A few years ago netbooks were more common, but now tablets are the new netbooks – small, lightweight, portable computing platforms that give those who don’t need more than what the tablet offers a cheap, accessible platform for consuming media. The use cases for tablets include surfing the internet, social media, reading books, watching movies and listening to music – things that in and of themselves don’t requires much computing horsepower. For many people, tablets are the big brother to their phones or even smart phones, and cover many of the same use cases that tablets do.
Personally, I have nothing against tablets, and in fact was an early adopter of tablet technology in 2005 when I got my first tablet – a slate style tablet PC called from Motion Computing. It had a 1.4ghz processor, 80 gigabytes of storage, and 1 gigabytes of RAM. These specs are on par with many higher end tablets that are being made today, but a moderate PC of seven years ago. I used this tablet as a general-purpose computer and as tablet computer useful for all the aforementioned use cases. As I used the devices, I found myself not using it more as PC and less as one would use a tablet, so eventually a sold it and went to a traditional laptop. For a number of years, I used a feature phone, and only recently upgraded to a smartphone. I find myself using my smartphone for a number of the same things I used my tablet for – Internet, email, social media, reading, movies, and media.
But there are certainly a number of things I don’t use a smartphone for – namely content creation. I run a number of blogs that I post on, and I type posts on my PC. There are keyboard options available for smartphones and tablets, but the limited feature set of tablets makes some content creation difficult such as windowed multitasking between apps. Additionally, I write software. Development practically requires that one have a general purpose, powerful computer of some sort. I run seven different operating systems on my computer and use five different IDEs for various portions of projects. Additionally, I use my computer for photography. Tablets simply don’t have the storage capacity to hold the thousands of images I process. Essentially, I use a computer for everything that I don’t do on a smartphone.
So for now, I am not going to be getting a tablet any time soon. Until I have a compelling reason to get one, I’ll continue to use the ol’ smartphone and computer(s).