Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tablet craze - Don't be envious, save your money

Most of you have seen the Tablet craze, and if you are like me are envious of those who have enough money to throw around on these. Fortunately, Tablets have come down remarkably in price VERY quickly. Now the top-of-the-line model (with a smaller internal memory size) can be had for $399 (the ASUS TF101 Transformer). This particular tablet is all the rage, having sold out throughout the world. It has an optional docking station built to be mated to it, provided a REAL keyboard and touchpad, as well as USB ports and a supplemental battery. This has what has propelled this latest tablet above its closest competitor, the much more expensive XOOM. The difference is only that the XOOM can do WLAN (cell networks). For me, only having Wifi is no issue because I rarely leave the house, and *IF* I do my phone can function as a WiFi hotspot (or a person could buy a dedicated WLAN Wifi pocket hotspot from their cellular carrier).

I have fiddled with tablets, given the opportunity to use them with extended durations. I found a 7" tablet is remarkably portable and viewable. The 10.1" tablets are heavy. I couldn't imagine taking a photo or video with them, or maybe my wrists are just weak.

Back to the ASUS EEE Transformer TF-101. Like I said, the big thing about this is the docking station that effectively turns it into a netbook. So, then, why not just buy a netbook? Very little reason not to, to be honest. The netbook is cheaper, more capable, and simply more productive.

While tablets are an excellent toy and perhaps great for content consumers, anyone who has real work to do is going to use a more traditional PC. That's all there is to it right now. Productivity is NOT the tablets strong point, so do NOT think that your productivity will increase. In general, your phone is as capable as any tablet for sending and receiving emails on the go, or browsing the web. Your phone is also the choice when it comes to taking pictures or video (provided you don't want professional grade photos or video). It also is much lighter than any tablet. Your PC, laptop, or netbook will ALWAYS be more powerful and efficient.

So... tablet envy? Don't sweat it. These things are NOT all they are cracked up to be. If I get a new email, and have both a phone and a tablet handy, I'm honestly going to pull my phone from my pocket rather than pick up a big tablet. The phone seems, ironically, more readable than the tablet. Improved keyboards like Swype or SlideIT work better on phones than tablets, making text entry more efficient on the phone in some cases (assuming you haven't attached a keyboard to the tablet).

That said, I do think tablets are a good potential for a variety of specialized applications, from PoS or inventory systems, to mounted consoles for customer and client use. Heck, they could grow into tables, as has been envisioned before. They might be walls even, and actually future televisions. They aren't a replacement for a PC, that is for sure.

Just my two cents from a consumer that has to watch his every penny!

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