Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

Summary: In 2011 tablets have proved that they are much more than a gimmick and threaten to become the mobile device of choice.


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  • I was one of thos


    e doubters who thought of tablets as nothing more than a gimmick. But having now used these devices more extensively, I've changed my tune. I can see that tablet technology is incredibly useful. My change of heart has given me a growing belief that tablets will replace the laptop as the mobile device of choice. Here are the principal reasons for my new position.

    Power consumption
    The tablet scores heavily over the laptop when it comes to power consumption. On average, I can get a full day out of a tablet on a single charge. I couldn't even get close to that with a laptop. For anyone who has to operate on the move, running out of power is just another factor that interferes with work. You're less likely to find yourself in that situation with a tablet.

    Photo credit: James Martin/CNET News

    Captions: Jack Wallen, TechRepublic

  • It's a fairly safe bet that tablets will never suffer from viruses to the same degree as Windows laptops. That's not to say the iPad or Android devices will never be the target of malware, but it shouldn't be a major concern. Of course, you can find antivirus software in the Android Market, but it's pretty pointless. A portable device that isn't vulnerable to the masses of viruses and malware that exist out in the wild is an undeniably attractive proposition.

    Photo credit: TahoeSunsets/Flickr

  • Which would you choose when going through airports, taking taxis, staying in hotels, and attending conferences and meetings — a laptop weighing between 2kg and 5.5kg or a tablet of about 600g? You'd choose the tablet every time. And it's not just because of weight. The tablet is far superior to the laptop in its ability to work in confined spaces. Need to work in a cab? Tablet. Need to work in the bathroom? Tablet. You simply can't beat the tablet for portability.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    "Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012"

    I think they will coexist.


    We'll see about that. And I should note that I've been virus free for quite a long time now.

    "A really good tablet will cost about the same as a low- to mid-range laptop."

    And probably have lower specs.

    "Online connection"

    . . . what?

    Last I checked, you can get the same online connectivity with a laptop. Even my netbook had a 3G model if I wanted one.

    BTW - remember, that data plan isn't free.

    "Application availability"

    Okay, you're nuts.


    This I'll give you - today. But it's obvious that UIs are converging, and that PCs are on a fast track for a more user friendly UI.

    "Bluetooth connectivity"

    BTW, when [b]is[/b] the last time you bought a laptop?


    Dunno what your problem is, my computers are instant on from sleep mode.

    Which is really what the tablets and smart phones are doing. Ever try a true reboot of an iOS device? It takes as long as any PC.

    "Social integration"

    LOL. Sorry, no.

    "And if you think that's a waste of time, remember that small businesses depend on social-networking tools for free marketing."

    Hey, guess what?

    I still think it's a waste of time.

    "Or do you think other obstacles lie in the tablet's path?"

    They lack a good keyboard. You'll pry my Microsoft Natural from my cold, dead hands ;).

    OK, that's because I have a tower right now, rather than a laptop. But still - I'd like something that can actually play a few decent games. And no, Angry Birds doesn't count.

    I guess I'm not much of a mobile worker. Where I work right now doesn't really require it.
    • Nice

      Looks like you covered it all :)
    • Useful if....

      When a tablet can properly run MSOffice (all of it) that I can dock with a keyboard/mouse I may grudgingly agree.

      What I see future wise: tower for work/games, tablet or travel/ light stuff, smartphone for else... All need to integrate in some fashion.
      • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

        @rhonin - run office, keyboard, mouse and a dock? That's a laptop.
    • You nailed it

      I have an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard so I'm certainly not against tablets. The only advantage I've noticed so far is portability: I can choose to use my iPad with or without the keyboard but this is not an option on traditional laptops.

      The rest of the list is pure garbage.
    • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

      Awesome, can't say anymore +!
    • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

      @CobraA1 +1,000,000

      Tablets are no better than first gen netbooks, yet everyone is willing to jump on the tablet bandwagon and shun netbooks. definitely hypocrytical sheep buyers that don't need money or a job as they can't spend or even think right
    • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

      @CobraA1 Amazing. I was just about to write a similar list. I agree with every point. The only advantage is battery life, but my Alienware m17x gets more than 4 hours when I am using my integrated card. I'd be surprised if my smartphone, a Samsung Vibrant, could last much longer than that with the screen on at all times. You don't need a Microsoft Natural keyboard to see that lack in tablets. I would never consider giving up the built in keyboard on my Alienware for a tablet. Thank you for putting out the list I was going to write. This author really needs to think before writing.
      Patrick Aupperle
  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    I can't imagine using a tablet any larger than 7 inches. It's too cumbersome to hold in your hands AND use the touch interface. I'm going to keep using my zune hd for mobile browsing until they come out with a 7 inch OLED tablet that's under 400 dollars.
    • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

      [i]I can't imagine using a tablet any larger than 7 inches.[/i]
      Don't just imagine it. Try it for yourself. Its about as cumbersome as holding a small clipboard and writing on it. In other words it's easy and natural.

      OTOH, 7-inches is too big to fit in your pocket, and too small to view full-sized documents without panning and zooming.
  • WHA?


    Good lord, is this trope going to get trotted out every time someone wants to argue against something? Well, guess what - not TOO long ago, ZDNet was spewing about how Android is rife with viruses and that the number of infections were exploding.

    Can't have it BOTH ways...


    Hey - you might want to checkout some of the tech blogs.. apparently there's this thing called an 'Ultrabook'... look it up.

    Oh.. and yeah - carrying a laptop is SO much more convenient than carrying a tablet AND a keyboard (as is shown in the photo)...

    "Cost Effectivity"

    Uh.. you can get lightweight, long battery life netbooks for $200. And as for cost of software: compared to what? If you're going to play the double standard, then let's go with Open Office (free), Paint.Net (free) and so on. Windows has Live, which gives you calendars and email - so does Google's apps.

    "On line connection"

    Again, go to any cellco's outlet and you'll find netbooks with integrated 3G. And usually cheaper than a tablet with 3G...


    If you're into Angry Birds, then yeah - get a tablet. If you're into Photoshop or Visual Studio - not so much. That being said, since a huge proportion of apps are really webscrapers - mostly to get around not being able to run Flash - a netbook or laptop really doesn't *need* many of these apps.

    "User Friendliness"

    One mans dross is another man's gold, as they say. The iPad is a testimony to 'lowest common denominator' design. If you're the kind of person who needs one - you should probably get one. Then again, Android is more complex than iOS to use - and it's beating the pants off iOS in the phone space... so something's wrong with the author's logic...


    Depends on what you're doing. In Win7 you just go to "Devices and Printers", search and add the device. It's not that much more difficult than it is on any tablet I've used.


    "Getting a laptop out of hibernation is a very different experience to waking up a tablet. "<br><br>Kind of stacking the deck a bit here - but even with that, hiberation means 'pressing the power key, waiting for the system to restore and then logging in.' Compare that to waking a laptop from sleep: 'Open the lid, log in.' and the tablet's 'Press the power key (or in the case of the iPad and some other tablets, press the home key or the power key), log in.'<br><br>VERY different. SO much harder...<br><br>In terms of speed - again, you've kind of stacked the deck here by specifically stating hibernation when any seasoned laptop user would actually have the laptop in sleep state. In sleep, many laptops can be up and ready by the time you finish opening the lid. The end result is almost exactly the same time as a tablet.

    "Social Integration"

    Because running a browser or clicking on a link to Facebook or Twitter is so hard. (BTW, doesn't this argue against 'the future is HTML5'? If it is, then all of these platforms become the same...)

    "It is not a zero sum game"

    Tablets represent one kind of computer use. It doesn't represent the ONLY kind of computer use. Most tablet purchases are new users - or people adding a tablet to their mix - not old users replacing their existing systems. Buying a tablet doesn't mean 'throwing out the laptop'.

    I have several tablets (I got into the tablet thing back when we called them UMPCs) including a Samsung Series 7 Windows slate, an iPad and a Transformer Prime. Yet here I am writing this on my minitower in my living room because it's the most comfortable set up I have of the lot because I've put time into building a good work environment.

    It's like fast food and grand cuisine... one didn't eliminate the other - people eat both (well, mostly fast food, alas - but weirdly, the analogy is all the more apt for this...), but we still go to better restaurants because sometimes we want a better experience.
    • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

      @TheWerewolf Had to get your iOS bash in there didn't ya? You really think that Apple thinks their loosing this? Who is making the money? Which app store is making the money? Seriously keep hanging your hat on market share.. it's funny. Apple didnt become the 2nd most profitable company without iOS.
    • The problem is...


      To many proponents of tablets are making too much effort to equivocate the fast food experience with the grand cuisine experience. If you are of the mind that as far as the actual computing experience of tablets is more akin to the fast food experience and the full on desktop is more akin to the grand cuisine experience then you can see why from time to time we need to take some issue with the authors who seem to be implying that tablets are much closer to grand cuisine then common sense would suggest.

      There seems to me to be no doubt that tablets can provide for a level of "handiness" that can be very compelling. That handiness has obviously impressed a lot of people who find it rather intoxicating. I know people who have tablets, I work with them, I see how the tablets are used. Unfortunately, I have yet to see anything in any tablet that takes it out of the realm of an "Angry Birds/handy machine". I know, at least from what I have read that there are some actual real jobs where a tablet has become one of the tools of choice because its so well suited for the task. But the fact remains that for most jobs the only thing a tablet has going for it is that its handy because it has a bigger screen then a smartphone and it works by touch. Yes, thats handy.

      But the fact remains it just doesn't come across as $500 worth of handy when I already own a smartphone and a netbook, as well as a laptop and several desktops. If it could do what a real computer does, even what a decent netbook does, it might get closer to being $500 worth of handy, but alas, the netbook does it for much less.

      Sorry, but in my mind from all the evidence I have seen on the ground, so to speak, the current form factor tablets are still the fast food experience but they are running perilously close to charging the the grand cuisine price. And lets keep in mind, up to this point there have always been two things that made fast food popular, one, it was handy, the other it was cheap.
  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    I don't see tablets beating laptops any time. Tablets are a device you just leave at home and do very simple tasks which could be easily accomplished with a laptop. And with recent news on ZDNet about the uptake of ultrabooks, tablets don't have much shelf life left to them. Lets review why.

    Viruses - Are you kidding me? It should be a huge concern. Any internet device needs to take precautions against viruses and malware. The mere fact that you are dismissing this is exactly why tablets will not beat laptops. Thinking you are safe doesn't mean you are.

    Portability - I'll still take the laptop as its more functional. Slightly heavier but well worth it.

    Cost effectiveness - $699 for a tablet, $550 for a laptop. I know which one I'll be choosing.

    Application Availability - Laptops still have thousands more apps available if you want to go based just on numbers. A lot of this software does a lot more than the limited apps you find on a tablet.

    Bluetooth connectivity - you are one of the few using bluetooth with a tablet. Most people I know don't use bluetooth with anything other than a cell phone.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    I don't use my iPad at anything but reading eBooks (a Kindle would display better, be cheaper, and lighter). I stopped to rely on it for other tasks because I run into issues at every corner: I can't transfer files by USB. I can't print. Web pages do not always display well. And so on.
  • unprofessional

    I can not believe this totally clueless article. It is not even worth the time arguing. Comparing full - featured laptops with stripped to the bone tablets is unprofessional at best. The author would have been better off comparing tablets with notebooks. Still, I do not get it why a missing keyboard and and an exposed screen makes it better for use. Everything in this article is incorrect. Including the omitted mention of tablets' touch screen that really makes the only difference. I am waiting for notebooks with touchscreens - that, I think, will be awesome.
  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    With our WonderSchool all applications are available so yes I agree,
    Roland Sassen
  • This article is silly!

    All of the points the author makes have nothing to do with tablets and have everything to do with technology - technology that can be used in laptops or tablets. The fundamental difference between a laptop and a tablet is a keyboard. That's it! Even that tends to go away with bluetooth KBs in leather cases. The allure of the tablet is that you didn't need a keyboard to operate it.

    Tablets have been around for a long time. I used a tablet in 1997. I admit, I loved it! It was a GRiD Convertible and it was tablet+laptop. I mostly used it as a laptop at the time, but 25% of the time, I used it as a tablet (especially on airplanes in coach). Now - 8 generations of Moores law later, and bluetooth, tiny single-chip WiFi, gestures, and capacitive touch screens, the experience is even better. Today, I have a desktop, laptop (Ultrabook), tablet, and smartphone. I still use the laptop far more than the tablet, and for different purposes.

    I find the tablet is great for reading emags and email, and for light entertainment - basically from the computer to the human. It's also great for reference (weather, maps, dictionary, etc) when I need something handy. However, when the input is from me - human to computer - the tablet is less easy to operate, and I don't use it. I'm not saying you can't work that way - only that it's not as easy.

    So, while I think tablets are a great category, and one that some people will exclusively prefer, they are merely laptop variants and the intersection of laptops and smartphones. If the author really means to point out that innovation and technology adoption is lagging in traditional laptop vendors, don't worry- that's what keeps America in business.

    The Ultrabook with touchscreen would be the be-all for me.
  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    Don't we do all of that on our mobile phones?<br>Tablet's are not powerful and reliable enough for the business user to rely on, and for the average consumer who only needs to play games, and perhaps take some notes at most, a smartphone will do just fine. Just carry an extra battery (cheap) and you'll get a full day out of it very easily.

    Still, if tablets are to replace anything, it will be certain aspects and usages of mobile phones such as web surfing, which is nicer on a big screen.
  • RE: Why tablets will beat laptops in 2012

    I love both my tablet AND laptop. Each offers a different usage experience. I purposely do not try to do document creation on the tablet. I have a small BT keyboard for occasionally replying to emails, if its going to be more than a sentence, but that's it. <br><br>Its frustrating to hear constant arguments about either-or. The people who try to convince IOS or android tablet users that a full windows tablet does more and this-and-that don't get it, and I think those who try to replace a laptop with a tablet are fooling themselves. <br><br>To me it makes perfect sense to own: a phone with wifi hotspot (you normally always have this with you or nearby), a wifi only tablet, and a full laptop for when you need true productivity capabilities.

    But, the tablet is definitely the most optional of the three.