Why I will never buy another tablet
My brother was showing off his new iPad 2 the other day. He was most impressed with his latest purchase, and it is easy to see why. It was the first time I had been given an opportunity to play with the latest version of Apple's revolutionary device, and I give Apple full credit for transforming computers from dorky, esoteric devices into something cool and fashionable.
And then 5 minutes later I was over it.
I have to admit at this point that I own a Motorola Xoom - one of the first true Android tablets. I have had it for a good 9 months now, and in that time I have struggled to justify its existence, or the existence of any tablet for that matter.
For me tablets sit in the murky middle ground between a laptop/netbook/ultrabook (or whatever the kids are calling them these days) and a good quality mobile phone. Tablets do have advantages over these traditional form factors, but there is one glaring oversight that makes tablets almost useless in every situation: when do you make the effort to carry one around?
I carry my mobile phone everywhere. The morning check list that I run through before leaving the house is: mobile phone, pants, keys, wallet. And my mobile phone is a fairly high end one, with a generously sized screen and enough processing power to run everything that I can run on my tablet.
If I want or need to catch up on my email, play a game, watch a video, view a web site or consume my news feeds, my mobile phone is right there in my pocket ready to go.
Sure, I can do all these things on my tablet, but ironically I need to set up my phone as a wireless hotspot to get connectivity through my tablet on the go, so there is almost never a situation where I can make use of my tablet outside of the office or home without also having my mobile phone. So why would I make the effort to carry around a backpack, or have to physically hold the tablet, when I can do everything I would use a tablet for on the go with my mobile phone?
So lets assume that I do make the effort to carry a computing device around that I can't put in my pocket. Why would I choose to carry a tablet instead of a laptop?
Everything I can to on a tablet I can also do on a laptop. I mean that quite literally - Bluestacks can be used to run Android applications on a Windows PC. And then there are all the things that you can't do on a tablet, like any kind of real work. Yes, you may have a 10 inch screen on your tablet, but half of that is taken up by the keyboard if your are trying to do real work. Yes, you might be able to edit a word document on your tablet, but throw in a few macros and your tablet is useless.
Therein lies my dilemma. If I need to make the effort to carry a computing device around, the combination of mobile phone and laptop is much more powerful and flexible than a mobile phone and tablet. So unless I am watching movies in bed or idly surfing the web while watching TV (and both can be done with a laptop anyway), there really is no place for a tablet in my life.