I have finally found a reason to keep a tablet

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: July 29, 2013

I think tablets are some of the coolest devices we can buy today. They may not be new, but they've certainly come a long way. These particular mobile devices had to wait for the technology to be really worthwhile, in my opinion. They may have been technologically great back in the day, but now they're thin, lightweight, offer more features than you can shake a stick at, and they look great while doing it.

The trouble with thinking tablets are so great, is that when a new one lands on the market, I feel compelled to buy it and play with it. To try to inject the mobile device into my life. Because when I think about it, when I picture it in my mind, I have this image of a tablet sitting right next to my computer, acting like the perfect second screen. I've got something else going on on that display, so I don't have to take up any screen real estate on my primary device.

That works for the most part. Actually, it works great for a short period of time. And then, seemingly without warning, I'll just up and stop using the tablet altogether. Why? Because I'll realize I don't need to use it for what I was using it for. For instance, let's say I was using the tablet to watch a TV series via Netflix, while I typed furiously away on the computer. Great, right? Except that I can use my TV, and why wouldn't I want to watch the show on the bigger screen?

Or, one day I could be using the tablet to keep an eye on Twitter, and other social network feeds, while I'm working on the main display. One day I won't need to do that, so I'll just keep the tablet off, and next to me. And then it just becomes a large, silent companion amongst the other, smaller, silent companions (the phones).

And that's why I've never been able to keep a tablet. Despite the fact that I can give you, or anyone else, a laundry list of reasons why I want, or may even need a tablet, I've just never felt truly compelled to keep one. Out of the many I've picked up, some have lasted longer than others, but none have managed to find a permanent place in my device roster.

Until now. And the decision wasn't made by me at all.

My daughters' aunt has a fourth-generation iPad that she brings with her on her visits from California. She uses it for work, or something like that. However, the reason to own the tablet changes drastically when she's around my girls: Suddenly, it's not about work at all. It's all about fun.

The girls love the iPad. Now, let me be clear: They don't love the iPad because it's an Apple product, or because it has a Retina Display, or because it's thin, or for any other reason related to the hardware. They could care less about all that stuff. They care about the games. And, as it stands right now, there are more games on iOS that the girls like than there are on other platforms. So, the iPad it is.

But I didn't go with the larger iPad. Instead, I found an iPad Mini and picked it up. I thought the smaller size would work for my daughters anyway, as it's easier to carry around. I found the games that their aunt has on her iPad, and then I found a bunch more (there are so many Mickey-inspired games, it's ridiculous), got them all downloaded, and let my girls go to town playing whatever they could find.

It all made sense right there, and I couldn't help but scratch my head at the fact that this had eluded me for so long. I mean, I let me girls use my phone to play the same games all the time (if I have the iPhone with me at the time), but the bigger screen just never registered for me. It didn't click, until now. And I'm glad that it did. Watching them have a blast together, on games that they were able to play at the same time thanks to the larger display (and the game itself) is awesome.

And so the decision to keep a tablet was made for me, and I'm okay with that in this particular situation. So while the tablet may work for me as a secondary screen, especially if I'm away from a WiFi signal thanks to the LTE-connectivity, that's not it's sole purpose. As far as I see it, the only reason it has a place in my bag is as an interactive device for my daughters. The other stuff, the reasons why I can use it every day, are a secondary bonus.

Have you avoided picking up a tablet for some reason? If so, why? And if you've recently broken down and bought one, I want to hear what was the final factor for you to make the purchase. Was there one particular feature you were waiting for, whether it be hardware or software related? Let me know!

Products mentioned