Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The car, the pick-up and the truck

More than a year after the Apple iPad's release, with more than 30 million sold, people still question whether the tablet is a practical device. The answer to that is a simple yes.
As the "Personal Computer" has evolved it, has moved from a machine designed for business, to a household device, and now is a personal communication,  entertainment and productivity device.

For years we were stuck with the desktop as our only personal computer, for reasons of cost. The laptop had been around for some time, since the Dulmont Magnum in 1985. But with the entry level model going for US$2,995. That was a lot of money in 1985, and it is still a lot of money today. It was only after the year 2000 that laptops started dropping in price and became available to the regular consumer as an alternative computing choice to the desktop. The tablet now gives you a third choice.

The tablet is the car of the computing world. A good choice to take you around day to day, but with its primary function being people transport. A tablet is useful for someone whose computing needs is mainly web browsing, reading and writing email, note taking, instant messaging, listening to music, basic photo editing, watching movies and playing games. Some in the industry call it the "media" tablet, and that is pretty much correct. A tablet is a great computer for someone who does not use the computer for work. I know many will disagree with this. 

The laptop is the pick-up truck of the computing world. Small enough to be a daily driver, and capable enough to do some serious work. Many people chose a laptop for lack of choice, but if you do not spend much time typing documents, preparing spreadsheets and the like, a keyboard is not all that important. If you don't use a keyboard much, the virtual keyboard of the tablet should be sufficient. You could add a keyboard to a tablet, but than it really just becomes a ARM powered laptop, with a touchscreen and a detachable keyboard.

The desktop is the truck of the PC world. The desktop is still the platform of choice for those who need a computer for a dedicated task, whether that task be a workstation or a hardcore gaming machine. The highest end desktop components still have a little more power than the highest end laptop components.

Which one is best for you? It really depends on your needs. Do you need a car, a pick-up or a tuck?

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