With the rise of tablet computers, some may wonder if the laptop is on its way to becoming obsolete. We’re left wondering when the laptop will go the way of the desktop as the ways in which we connect and organize our lives become more mobile—with iPads, iPhones, Droids, KindleFires and the like.
Tablets allow us to feed our stream of thought into our device—capturing those fleeting thoughts come while we’re sitting on the bus. They also provide a new platform for marketers to make connections between supply and demand through location-based marketing. They are just less awkward.
Nevertheless, despite the edge that tablet gains due to its portability, an examination of the issue shows that with the current technology, the two are likely to coexist in the market for some time to come. This is because they each offer features and benefits that appeal to different people.
Laptops offer hardware that appeals to those who do a lot of typing, reading, and viewing of pictures. Their full-sized keyboards allow for more typing accuracy than the touchscreens found on tablets. People who suffer from eye strain or have trouble seeing tiny fonts appreciate the large screens. On a full laptop, these screens are at least 13 inches.
The downside of laptops is their weight. According to Top Ten Reviews, a laptop weighs between three and nine pounds. This is heavy enough to cause backaches when carried for prolonged periods. Laptops are also a bit of a hassle to carry in a briefcase.
Tablets have benefits that appeal to a different group of consumers. Artists, for example, like them because they can work with a stylus. This allows for a more tactile drawing experience than other alternatives.
Despite their small size, tablets can hold a full array of music, pictures, and other data. They also include eReaders that allow for the reading of books. These abilities, however, are somewhat compromised by their tiny screens. The displays range from seven to 10 inches, which can lead to eye strain when reading for prolonged periods.
Tablets may seem more portable, but they have the drawback of being less durable than their laptop counterparts. This is because their sensitive touchscreens remain exposed unless protected by a case that is normally sold separately. Therefore, those that want to carry a computer with them will need to buy a case, use a laptop for travel, or simply be very careful.
The well-known consumer magazine, Consumer Reports, also notes in a video that tablets and laptops serve different needs. They point out that a laptop has more storage space than a tablet. Furthermore, it’s easier to transfer data to a laptop thanks to the larger computer’s ability to handle CDs.
On the other hand, they note that a tablet’s touch screen makes it great for playing games. All a player needs to do is tap the screen, which eliminates the need for controllers and to some extent provides a greater intimacy with the content. Luddites will object and wax nostalgic about some aspect of controllers that can’t be replicated—but things seem to be headed in the direction of the touch screens dominance. Of course, the game would need to be set up to accept this type of input for this to work.
Consumer Reports also advocates using tablets for watching movies. Those who want to be able to actually see the show are unlikely to agree with this assessment. In most cases, video is best viewed at the biggest possible screen size – as the popularity of large screen TVs shows.
Overall, Consumer Reports’ opinion is that laptops are better for serious activity, while tablets are better for leisure. They aren’t the only ones who think tablets and other small mobile devices are great for games. Qualcomm has released a special tool for developers to make games. Their Adreno Mobile Gaming & Graphics Optimization system allows developers to make 3D apps for mobile devices using the Snapdragon processor and Adreno GPU.
While tablets are surely good for more than games and movies, it is clear that they won’t replace the laptop any time soon. Instead, tablets will likely continue to occupy their own niche as indispensible tools for artists and others who can get the full use of their touchscreens and stylus capabilities. Laptops, on the other hand, will remain the favorites for people who need their full-sized keyboards and larger screens.