I'm an advocate for tablets. I've been obsessed with them since long before the iPad came to be and I bought almost as many tabs as I did phones last year. I guess you could say I have a unique and dear love for the blown-up smartphones and I can't exactly explain why. They play a very specific role in my life, one that I never thought necessary until I had one of my own.
I have always known they would be somewhat limited in functionality, at least in the early stages. Nevertheless, I have done my best to try and make my current tablet my primary workhorse.
So far, that hasn't worked out very well. No matter which way I look at it, tablets in their current state will remain supplementary devices. They do not have full-fledged Web browsers and the software is still very infantile, to say the least. Multitasking is more or less task switching instead of simultasking. And the combination of hardware and software is on the verge of desktop-like functionality, but it's not quite there yet. Given some time for both to advance and mature, these ultra portables could easily replace a home PC for most people.
In fact, they have for many already. Not everyone's needs are the same, and for someone who just casually browses the Web, takes notes and indulges in occasional social media interaction, they're perfect. I generally use mine for catching up on news, knocking out some email and keeping up with my schedule. For many, like my grandmother who uses an iPad, that's all they would ever need. (For the record, she only uses her iPad when she and my grandfather are on the road in their camper.)
I was completely blown away by the number of people carrying around just tablets – no backpacks, no laptops, etc. – at CES.
For me, however, I need much more. My main line of work is done from a computer, so I clearly need a little more than what slabs currently have to offer. I need a full version of Chrome, Safari or Firefox. I need better image editing software. (Photoshop Touch is fantastic, but it's neither as nimble or easy as, say, Preview on the MacBook. I edited both of these pictures, but it took me quite some time.) I need more horsepower. And, at the very least, I need the ability to view more than one application at a time – to stack windows or split the display down the middle.
The part that really irks me, though, is the fact that all of this is possible. And it's right there, just out of reach. My tablet can do 90 percent of the work I do; it just can't finish the job. And the only tablets that promise the ability to do much more in the foreseeable future are Windows 8 tablets, which I plan to check out anyway. The problem, however, will be price point, battery life and the fact that I'm not exactly a huge proponent of Windows. Here's to hoping Windows 8 is much better than Win7.
None of this is to say that my MacBook Air isn't portable or convenient enough – I'm seriously in love with the thing. But there are still some major differences in a MacBook and tablet. Battery life, for example, is mountains better on a tablet. And that's what really makes the difference for me. I get anywhere between four and five hours per charge on my MacBook Air. The Transformer Prime with its keyboard dock boasts up to 18 hours of battery life. While in Las Vegas, David of TmoNews and I were always in search of open outlets (they're like gold at CES). If I would work solely from a tablet, I could leave the house in the morning and work all day on a single charge without the worry of it ever dying on me before getting home. That is what I want.
Not to mention, there is definitely a cool factor about being able to work completely from a tablet. Maybe it's just because so many people said it wasn't possible or that tablets would never replace PCs.
It's beginning to look like Windows 8 tablets will be the answer to my problems, the first step in that direction at least. But I'm still not 100 percent sold. I'll have to see them in action first, and get my hands on one to put it through my own tests, before I'm certain.
Have any of you replaced your home PC with a tablet? If not, would you consider it? Do multiple people in your household primarily use tablets? Have you hit any hurdles by using tablets instead of computers?
Image via The Verge