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The Tablet Won’t Kill The Computer. Unless it Becomes One.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook once claimed that he does around 90% of his official and personal work on his iPad and says there’s no reason why others can’t do the same. There’s no denying that tablets, originally perceived as companion devices to computers, are becoming computer-like. Today’s fastest tablet could go toe-to-toe with a laptop from a few years ago. Same goes for gaming, where we’re actually seeing console-grade graphics in games from a device thinner than 10 millimeters. Even apps have matured to a level where people are doing serious work like image manipulation, video editing, computer aided design and other important things, instead of just flipping through their Twitter feed on a tablet. But there is one solid reason why many of us still need a computer as their primary computing device — Keyboard & Mouse Input

Tablets were originally introduced as media consumption devices. They replaced computers for some, because those people could do all the things they did on computers, on their tablet. Still, many things are done much faster and better with the combination of a keyboard and a mouse. The fastest typing speeds were achieved on a physical keyboard, not a touchscreen. Using the good ol’ Alt-Tab (or Cmd-Tab) shortcut is faster than shifting between multiple apps on a tablet. And though touchscreens have become fairly accurate since capacitive multi-touch panels, they’re still no match for the accuracy of a mouse. Especially when it comes to precision work, people still prefer the keyboard-mouse combo.

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Sure you can use a keyboard on a tablet (even a mouse on Android & Windows tablets), but then congratulations, because in the process you’ve also taken away the one thing that tablets were better at than laptops — portability.

There’s another factor worth considering — although most of you reading this post have grown up using a computer, kids of this generation are probably using a touch-screen device before a typical computer. So one can’t dismiss the chance that the people of the future will be faster on touchscreens, even when it comes to real work.

But till then, we’ll get computers in the market that are also trying to be tablets or tablets that are also trying to be computers. The whole tablets-are-eating-the-PC-market shows a shift towards people buying a tablet over a computer, but I highly doubt how many of those people are going to be satisfied with just that. The iPad surely wasn’t made on an iPad. So while Cook & co. can sell this product as the only thing you ever need, but for the rest of us, it isn’t a very likely scenario. Possibly he was saying it out of desperation; iPad sales have fallen in quarters this year versus the last. The rise of large screened phones (or phablets) also have made the junta question the need of a third device after the phone and computer. Apple’s own 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is only 2.4 inches smaller than the 7.9-inch iPad mini.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that the tablet isn’t taking over the computer any time soon. Unless the tablet becomes one. All the previous innovative attempts have pretty much failed. Maybe the touchscreen Macbook that was rumoured for years now may change the way the industry looks at things. Or maybe a day will come when slapping a touchscreen on to every computer will become a default rather than a way to upsell a product. What do you think — Can today’s tablet completely satisfy your computing needs?

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Rohan Naravane

Rohan Naravane is in charge of content & product experience on PriceBaba. When he’s not writing about technology, he likes to talk about it and will ramble on if he finds you remotely technological. His on-going endeavours include creating a perfect routine that allows him to get back in shape, followed by marathoning of TV shows/movies after work.

4 Comments

    • Nikhil Uthale
    • September 25, 2014

    Goof point of view Rohan. However, that way mobile has not replaced Landline, but has surpassed it. Tomorrow speech recognition, visual calibration and other AI inputs may surpass the capacitive touch interface. I believe there is place for both but eventually PCs will become landlines.

    Reply
    • r0han
    • September 25, 2014

    Nikhil Uthale Very well said. And looking at Google’s voice recognition abilities, voice is becoming a credible interaction method.

    Reply
    • vivekk1
    • September 26, 2014

    What’s your take on the hybrids like the CAIN ? Will they find a place in the market ?

    Vivek

    Reply
    • r0han
    • September 30, 2014

    vivekk1 Good to see that the Notion Ink CAIN is priced well. I believe hybrids like these can find a place in the market, provided they’re price is not equal to the price of buying a laptop & tablet both.

    Reply

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