I still don’t have a tablet. There would be a lot of reasons to get one, especially since I’m in the business, so it would really help me in a lot of things, but I yet don’t feel the need to buy one. The first tablet presentation that really impressed was Microsoft’s Surface slate. It would make sense for me to buy that kind of tablet, because the majority of products that I use, except for my Android smartphone, rely on Windows.

By 2017, More Tablets than Laptops Will be Shipped

But if I were a:


  • doctor
  • engineer
  • architect
  • anchorman
  • reporter

and many other jobs, then a tablet might come in handy. I will tell you from the beginning, I’m not a fan of neither tablets or notebooks, I like them the same. Tablets have their use, notebooks do as well, but if one adds up the pros and cons, then we definitely don’t have a clear winner. People tend to be attracted by what’s new, by the latest innovations and improvements and they would rather bet their money on that then something that’s been around on the market for so many years already.

For example, like many others, I never had a netbook, I’ve relied on my laptop and carried it around whenever I needed it. But now I realize that with a notebook, it would have been much more comfortable, because it’s much lighter. Now I regret that I didn’t buy a netbook when I needed it and now it’s too late, because if I’ll need another portable device to help me, most likely it will be a tablet.

Almost 300 million tablets to be sold in 5 years

An interesting report comes to suggest that 5 years from now, tablets will surpass notebooks in shipment numbers. The mobile PC’s (that is notebooks – laptops, tablets, ultramobile PC)  total number of shipments will see a growth from 347 million units in 2012 to more than 809 million units by 2017. The data comes from DisplayResearch and says the following:

While notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208 million units in 2012 to 393 million units by 2017, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 121 million units to 416 million units in this period, for a compound annual growth rate of 28%. A key driver for tablet PC growth is adoption in mature markets (including North America, Japan and Western Europe), which will account for 66% of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60% range throughout the forecast period. Tablet PC shipments into mature markets will grow from 80 million units in 2012 to 254 million units by 2017

As unbelievable as it may sound, but this company is suggesting that by 2017, there will be more shipped tablets than notebooks, which we refer to as laptops. We can see the threat from the tablet market in how laptops’ design is being modified, so that it would appeal to more clients. We’ve got the ultrabooks craziness which produces thinner forms, and the latest MacBoook Pro should serve as proof to that.

Why do we buy tablets?

From where I stand, the majority of people that buy tablets are consumers that already have a desktop PC, laptop or smartphone. It wouldn’t make sense for me to buy only a tablet and rely on it. We see that some tablets come with keyboard docks, such as the ASUS Transformer Prime or even Microsoft’s Surface tablet. But even that’s not the main reason why people buy tablets. They buy them, unless they need it for their job, for content consumption. They buy them to be able to see a movie while laying in their bed and even to boost their kids’ creativity with ingenious mobile apps.

Confronting the laptops vs tablets is silly, in my opinion, mainly because these are two different devices with different purposes, even if they might look similar to a certain extent. Like always, one most put the vital question: “what are you going to do with?” It will take some time until we will see the number of tablets being equal to the one of laptops, but until then, I’m almost sure that the majority of those that buy tablets already have a laptop.

Desktop PC, Laptop, Netbook, Smartphones, Tablets

That’s why, tablets are “completing” the environment of devices that one has: desktop PC, laptop, smartphone. The best example might be Apple. If you want to fully experience their products, then you would need far more than just one device. Tablets represent the ultimate expression of mobility, fast access to information and versatility in the work place. The day when tablets will surpass laptops in shipments, will be the day when technology will be even more present in our lives.

No matter what you’ll say, tablets are about touch, while laptop are still about type. We have already examples of hybrids, products that would mix a laptop with a tablet, but on this matter, I stand with Tim Cook, who said:

“Anything can be forced to converge but the problem is the products are about tradeoffs. You begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”

That’s precisely the reason why I never like the idea of buying an all-in-one touch PC. The touch experience should be closer  to your hands and eyes than what a laptop or desktop PC could offer. From my point of view, one can truly experience touch only if you can hold and grip the device. It allows for a much more intimate experience and a richer, faster interaction between humans and technology.

The expression of intimacy

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johanl/

Going to a meeting, you can always put your tablet inside your folder or make it look like a book. A 7 to 10 or even 12-13 inch screen can still be viewed as being intimate and personal, not to mention the light weight. It will do wonders for you at a public presentation. In the same time, you’d look lame with a notebook in your hands. There are so many other pros and cons that we could debate on, but bottom line is this – tablets are made to further interconnect humans with technology.

You should never ask yourself – a tablet or a laptop? Put aside some money and go for a tablet, that is, if you’re a technology enthusiast. The same logic goes if you have a desktop PC and you’re looking to buy a laptop or if you have all that and you’re looking to buy a smartphone. These are not  substitutable goods, they all form a bigger whole. We’re not living the post-PC or the post-laptop era; we are rather in a moment of transition towards a society where mobile computing will be extended even more and brought in your house.

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Managing Editor

is the Managing Editor of Technically Personal. When he has some extra-time, he writes about Windows 8 apps and reviews them on Wind8Apps. Believes that technology is the main engine of civilization. Send him a tweet or make him your Facebook friend

 
 
  • Sankar Datti

    In following sentence ‘L’ is missing in “Like many others” sentence.

    “For example, ike many others, I never had a netbook, I’ve relied on my laptop and carried it around whenever I needed it.

    • http://www.maindevice.com Radu Tyrsina

      Oops, thanks!