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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Are tablets seriously going to dominate the computer industry?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30552points) January 9th, 2013

I just read an article explaining how pc makers are combating the onslaught of the tablet. It gave some pretty grim figures for the sales of traditional desktops and laptops as compared to tablets.

I haven’t met a tablet I like yet. I do not care for the touchscreen keyboards on any of them. If the Microsoft Surface, which I haven’t seen, turns out to be as functional as it looks, then I might be a convert. Yet I can’t make the switch at present.

Mind you, I have no intention of switching soon. I have a perfectly good Dell desktop and two laptops all purring along.

One thing I don’t understand is that my pc long ago replaced my stereo. Are we to expect great sound from a tablet?

I have so many questions.

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33 Answers

zensky's avatar

I haven’t met a tablet I like yet. I do not care for the touchscreen keyboards on any of them.

Me too.

They seem so nice and convenient. only 7 or 10 inches and light.

But I also can’t get the hang of touch. I was just talking to a computer wiz buddy and he said that it isn’t uncommon to dislike touch – it’s not for everyone.

cookieman's avatar

We have an iPad and I find it is great for consuming (books, comics, games, music, reading eMail, web surfing, video) – particularly on the go.

Not so great for creating – with the exception of dashing of a quick eMail.

mrentropy's avatar

When IBM PC clones became somewhat affordable they started to sell like hot cakes. People were buying them up and, because of the quick advances in hardware, were upgrading them fairly often. Eventually everyone had one and began realizing that they didn’t have to upgrade every year and sales slowed.

Laptops, on the other hand, became to be somewhat affordable. They started to sell like hot cakes. The desktop was doomed and the laptop would take over. Because of the quick advances in hardware, materials, and battery life, people upgraded fairly often. Eventually people began realizing that they didn’t need a new laptop every year and sales slowed.

At this point, the ultra-small netbooks became popular for some ungodly reason. They were selling like hot cakes. The traditional laptop was doomed and the desktop was on its last legs. Eventually people realized that they couldn’t see the screen and certainly couldn’t type on the minuscule keyboards and sales slowed.

Then the tablet appeared. It was different. They’re selling like hot cakes. The desktop is definitely dead, the laptop is on its last legs, and we’re all going to walk around like members of Star Fleet. Eventually, everyone will have one; everyone will realize they don’t have to upgrade every time a new model comes out, and sales are going to slow down.

Next up to kill the desktop: wearable computers.

mrentropy's avatar

But, besides that, corporations are really big purchasers of computers. I haven’t seen a large corporation yet that has dumped their desktops and laptops in favor of tablets. I certainly wouldn’t want to work for one that did.

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LostInParadise's avatar

Maybe the next development will be a virtual computer. it will be completely contained in a pair of goggles. It will have a virtual keyboard that appears to be projected out in space. You will look a bit odd poking your fingers in midair, but nobody will notice, because they will all be wearing similar devices.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

…and giving each other the finger.

It’s possible that it will dominate the industry eventually, but I still see problems with the functionality that a tablet has in comparison to a laptop or a PC. As already mentioned by a previous answer, creative types might not like to use or want to use a tablet. It lacks precision, even touch screen stylus pens are prone to being bulbous things at the end so as to simulate the touch of a finger. Much rather use a laptop or a PC and a Wacom tablet and a scanner for Photoshop than an iPad or something of the same ilk.

ragingloli's avatar

This will never fly in an office, where most of the PCs are being used. You need a big screen, you need a mouse, and above all, you need a keyboard. You also need a large hard drive for all the documents, and ports of peripheral devices such as scanners, printers, copy machines, etc. If you work in multimedia content creation you also need the massive processing power that no tablet could provide.
Not to mention all the top tier videogames, which operate at the frontier of graphics, will only ever run on the most powerful PCs, a task that is impossible for tablets and even so called “gaming laptops”, which are also quite large. All that power needs cooling. (And shut up about consoles. They take ages to develop (the ps3 is already over 6 years old) and they become obsolete performance wise within a year of release)

Tablets might be great for mobile presentations or internet browsing, but they will never be a competitor in the arena where PCs dominate.

Pachy's avatar

I have an iPad 3, a Google Nexus 7 and an iMac, I use each at different times for different reasons. In my opinion, the iPad is the best 9” tablet out there in terms of design and functionalability, and the Nexus, an android, the best of the 7”-ers and a size I really like (trust me, I’ve owned them all). Tried the iPad mini but didn’t like it. I don’t see tablets replacing laptops or desktops but I’m no technology guru, just your ordinary, basic gadget guy.

mattbrowne's avatar

It won’t work for certain applications such as digital photo editing or complex spreadsheet management or writing articles with more than 5000 characters.

tom_g's avatar

It’s clear why the focus in on tablets – they are consumption devices. If you use technology to create, then most of these “tablets are replacing pcs” declarations are silly. As a software developer, I will be using pcs (along with my triple-monitor setup) for a long time. A fisher-price little toy (like an iPad) is a consumption device for kids.

I think part of this is that many writers get excited about trends and like to get carried away with fantasy. They are also able to get by with a bluetooth keyboard and their tablet when they write their little “end of pc” stories. The rest of us need real pcs to write the software that these silly people use to write their silly articles.

Note: I think there is, however, a large number of people who had/have pcs that really didn’t need them. For them, a tablet is really all they ever really needed to watch their movies or play their games.

Seek's avatar

They won’t replace in the near future – the next ten years or so – but I make no promises about future developments.

I think the physical keyboard will eventually be as outdated as the manual typewriter is now.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Tablets work for fun and travel.

They absolutely do NOT work in a work/office environment. And they never will.

Tablets are for watching movies, not for serious work.

dabbler's avatar

I think tablets are expanding the market for consumer computing devices.
Tablets are very good for media consumers, and simple content creation (e.g. post to facebook).
They are definitely taking a bite out of the home PC market, because that’s all a lot of people ever did with their home PCs in the first place.

Tablets will never replace the workplace desktop, because you can’t do the same kind of work well on one – you may need the bigger screen and probably need easier input (keyboard and mouse). I do think that microsoft ‘surface’/windows8 technology has a chance in that market but not as a tablet or as currently implemented most of the time (their coffee table is cool! It could replace the conference room table).

As far as “dominate the computer industry” note that tablets actually cause greater use of the machines at the other end of the spectrum, server farms, mainframes, supercomputers, that all create and serve up all the stuff people are playing with on their tablets.

CWOTUS's avatar

I have a Samsung tablet that I use in bed and on the road sometimes. It’s good enough for simple browsing, some videos, light surfing and not much reading. But I’m very fond of keyboards, less so of mice, and my fingers are in no way suited to hitting the tiny links on tablets with any kind of precision. All things being equal, I much prefer my laptops.

As for speakers, you want a good remote speaker system (for sound in the room) or headphones / earbuds for private listening.

I would strongly caution any of those who say “It will never [whatever].” A lot of people figured that the early PCs were no more than simple toys, also, and look how wrong they were.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

As far as the Windows 8 Surface goes…..

I would be lying if I said I truly hated Windows 8 (although that bloody logo is not something that I agree with – they paid god knows how much for that, and yes I’m pretty sure I could have done a better job of it). I think there’s more than one reason for calling it Surface. It’s only good for what appears to be good for on the Surface of it. It’s all online only oriented. Unless you’re using a lot of “Live Tiles” it pretty much negates the function that that OS is arguably supposed to fulfill. Failing that, the rest of it still harbors much of the Windows 7 OS, file explorer, system maintenance, and all the other stuff is simply what Google would call it’s equivalent of being “under the hood”. On the surface, only useful for internet. Offline…not much benefit. I don’t see it working as well as a standard PC or a laptop so I doubt businesses would greatly benefit from using it widely throughout their offices.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I can’t afford a tablet, but I used a friend’s iPad for a few minutes the other day and yeah, I can see that thing taking over. It’s awesome.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Tablets are already dominating the PC industry whether you like them or not. Traditional desktops sales dropped by about 50% between 2008 and 2012. Tablet sales went from almost 0% to more than desktop PC’s between 2010 and 2012. Laptops sales are shrinking as well and manufacturers are producing more tablet like laptops to try and keep up so we are seeing low power highly battery efficient tech becoming more common than the 17inch desktop replacements that you used see. The half laptop/ half tablet form factor is now incredibly prevalent with 5 or 6 different attempts to get the best of both worlds. As for tablet use in business replacing workplace PC’s this is already happening as well. Journalists are increasingly using tablets for content production emailing copy and images back to the office. Schools and colleges are using them to provide learning resources and books. Hell, even the hospital I work at has massively reduced the number of traditional PC’s and is using tablets for more and more things (particularly stuff that used to be all pen and paper). Obviously there is always going to be a need for the workstation type PC where you need massively powerful graphics for 3d modelling, video editing and what have you but the days of every desk in an office having a PC on it are numbered.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

@Lightlyseared….can we have a source for that information that you provided – just out of curiosity?

zensky's avatar

I’ve read simliar stats.

I might be tempted to try the newer Tablet/Laptop hybrids. I need the keyboard.

Like this one

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Er…which one @Zensky?

I wouldn’t go near that Surface RT one with a barge pole. And is that Sony set up properly or does it just look rubbish propped up like that?

zensky's avatar

Yoga looks nice. Or the twist. Watch the two minute video for some ideas.

I am not in the market right now so I haven’t really checked them out. I’ll be in the States and get a real feel for these hybrids first. Then wait til next year’s models. I am quite happy with my Lenovo lap.

By the way if you @zensky or type it with a small z then I’ll light up so to speak.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

I must admit that looks like the best out of an otherwise pretty nasty looking lot. Kind of reminds me of the massive office flip pads. Get yer sharpies out lol.

zensky's avatar

I have used military versions of it – really heavy and bulky. What is the opposite of portable?

I like laptops and need a biggish screen. I need a keyboard. If I’m going to get a hybrid just so I can remove the tablet once in a while… maybe I’ll just stick with the laptop.
By the way – I hate smartphones – but I saw a really cool smartphone/tablet hybrid – where the smartphone is inserted into the back of the tablet and powers it.

Here ya go – it’s the Phablet

tom_g's avatar

I just want to add that there will likely be large changes that come to all technology as a result of current trends in tablets. Recall that not too long ago, the standard resolution of 1280×1024 was available on all notebooks. Then, widescreen caught on because consumers were watching DVDs and movies on their notebooks. They preferred this widescreen ratio and glossy screens. So, for awhile developers and techies were forced to stick with high-end Lenovo devices that still had the traditional (and far-superior) screen ratio, while the kids and their grandmothers bought up their movie-watching devices. A short time later, the manufacturers of LCDs no longer made the traditional screen resolution, and you can’t buy a notebook with one today. The movie-friendly widescreen resolutions on modern notebooks are miserable to use for coding.

Anyway, I suspect that the moves towards touch-screen-everything will have an influence on what is available for all notebooks in the future.

DominicX's avatar

Until a tablet matches the power of a PC, I don’t see how they can replace them. They will replace them for the people who don’t use their computer for much more than social media and taking notes (which is a lot of people I know), but for the rest of us, they’re either going to be an accessory to a PC/Mac or no replacement at all.

flutherother's avatar

Personally I prefer my desktop and I will stick with that. I am very surprised that tablets have caught on as they have. I want high quality sound and visuals I don’t want portability.

susanc's avatar

Why can’t tablets be built with good sound? Mine just whispers.

Nullo's avatar

I don’t think so, they’re just expanding into their market. Tablets aren’t good for much.

jrpowell's avatar

@susanc :: They are simply to thin have good speakers. The good thing is you can buy bluetooth speakers that work wirelessly.

dabbler's avatar

@zensky and @lightsourcetrickster the ASUS transformer has optional keyboard/dock.
It’s not only a real keyboard (thin but with actual key motion) it has an auxiliary battery and real USB ports and a SD card slot.
I have an earlier model. Friends I know have the current transformer and a ‘prime’ model (lighter, thinner). We all like the dual-mode and find the keyboard dock a useful accessory.
It’s android.

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