Who really needs a stinking tablet, anyway?

Summary:I may be the biggest tablet lover on the planet, but to be totally honest they aren't really necessary for anyone.

Tablets, tablets, tablets. They are everywhere. Big ones, little ones, thick ones, thin ones. First the iPad came along, followed by lots of Android tablets, and now the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are fighting to get in our hands. I have several tablets, and while I love the slate the honest truth is they aren't a necessity.

Don't misunderstand me, I love using tablets for all sorts of purposes. They are great for entertainment, even for getting work done in my case. But I have to be honest and admit that there's not a single thing I can think of that I can only do on a tablet. It is constantly pointed out to me that with laptops getting thinner and cheaper, why use a tablet without a full OS? That is being echoed by Microsoft with the Windows 8 tablets coming next year. The fact of the matter is if tablets disappeared off the face of the earth, life would go on, and pretty much as it is now.

Tablets have evolved to augment the little smartphone screen, and that's a good thing. It is easier to use a tablet for many things instead of a smartphone, due to the bigger display. But is a tablet required to do those things? No; everything we do on tablets can be done on smartphones or computers, especially laptops, just not as conveniently. Basically tablets are a tool of convenience, not necessity.

The tablet is like a programmable coffeemaker. It is nice to be able to set the coffeemaker so you wake up to fresh-brewed coffee, but no matter how important caffeine is to get your day going it is not a necessity. If programmable coffeemakers didn't exist you would just wake up and make coffee manually. It's not as easy nor convenient, but it's not life-changing.

That's basically what tablets bring to the table-- ease and convenience. Sure they can be quite enjoyable, like that fresh cup of coffee waiting for us in the programmable coffeemaker. But that is not a requirement. That is why many mainstream consumers aren't lining up to buy tablets. They are nice, but do they really need one? The truthful answer is no, not really.

Don't get me wrong, I love my tablets and you couldn't get me to give them up. They make me happy using them, and they are convenient. But if they all disappeared would my life be radically changed for the worse? It is hard to admit, but nope.

Image credit: Flickr user ylo

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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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