The dirty little secret about tablets

Summary:Tablets are the hottest thing currently in the mobile sector, but there is a dirty little secret that Apple and other companies don't want you to know about them.

Updated: There are a lot of pixels devoted to tablets on web sites like this one that cover mobile technology, as the thin slates are the apple of everyone's eye. The coverage and resulting discussion about them often deal with which tablet is better than the others, and which platform is preferable for this type of device. Tablets are fun and I admit I am a sucker for them, having owned more of them than I care to admit. All of the tablets on the market today have one dirty little secret that the manufacturers hope you never discover. Nobody really needs one.

Tablets are cool devices that make users feel good when using them. This is by design because gadgets used in the hands evoke a very personal response from the owner. There is something almost mystical  about having a powerful computer in hand that can tap into the vast Internet as well as any computer on a desk. The ability to watch videos that range from kitty videos on YouTube to blockbuster movies from Hollywood is heady indeed. These are feel good activities, and the tablet excels at performing these and other fun activities for the owner's enjoyment.

The truth is that no one really needs a tablet. They don't replace any one piece of technology already in place. They can't fully replace a laptop, although one of the first things new tablet owners attempt is leaving the laptop at home. They usually don't do that for long before they return to throwing the laptop in the bag. They probably toss the tablet in there too, after all it is so darn cool, but they need the laptop for many work things.

Tablets don't replace the smartphone either, in fact most of the things you can do on a tablet you can do on most phones available today. Of course the tablet has that nice, big shiny screen, and that is why we prefer them over smartphones. And rightly so, as tablets are so much cooler.

Tablets are great gadgets to use while sitting on the couch at home in front of the TV. Surveys show that's usually where they are used by most who own them. Not on the plane, or at the beach, or some other exotic location, but on the couch at home. They are great fun to use this way, I do it all the time. But if I am honest with myself I don't need it for this. I do enjoy this, and as long as we tablet buyers aren't depriving our families of necessities there is nothing wrong with that.

Don't get me wrong, it's great to use a tablet in all of those exotic places and on the couch. I enjoy my tablets (yes I have several) a great deal and can usually be spotted with one of them in my hands. But do I absolutely need a tablet? Not at all. That is the dirty little secret Apple, Google, Samsung, Motorola, Acer, and ASUS (among others) don't want you to know. They have too many of these magical slates to sell.

Update: While most users don't need a tablet as stated in this article, there are good uses for them in healthcare. Many medical providers are now using tablets in therapy for autistic children, stroke victims and other patients. These uses are becoming more commonplace, and proof that in this area tablets are serving a great need.

See also:

Image credit: Flickr user takomabibelot

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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