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Portables Technology

Are Tablets Replacing Notebook Computers? (Video) 211

Posted by Roblimo
from the computers-get-better-faster-and-cheaper-every-year dept.
Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the application and the user. We're seeing tablets advertised like crazy these days, and a trip to any busy coffee shop with free wi-fi will make it obvious that while there may not be as many tablets in use as notebooks, you see a lot more of them than you did five years ago, when it seemed like Bill Gates was the only person who had one, which he tried to show off as often as he could. In 2010, Apple debuted the iPad, and before long tablets were all over the place. So, on behalf of people we know -- and there are more than a few -- who either sneer at tablet computers or aren't sure they need one, we turned to David Needle, editor of TabTimes.com, for advice on what kind of tablet to buy -- assuming we need to buy one at all.

Robin: This is David Needle. He is the Editor of Tab Times. And we’re going to talk about tablets. Should we buy tablets now?

David: That’s a great question. Sure, sure, I mean, they burst on the scene, they are kind of like reminds me of a couple of generations back when notebooks shook up the desktop establishment, which was what everybody bought was a desktop PC; well, a tablet is a more portable version of a notebook.

Robin: So, now instead of notebooks are we all going to get tablets?

David: Yeah, I think that’s the direction things are headed in. For now there is somewhat of an accessory or something that augments the use of a notebook. They can’t do everything a notebook does because the notebook has a full keyboard; it has much fuller range of applications, especially for productivity type stuff. But it does a lot of those things and it’s headed in that direction where it could be a true replacement for the notebook.

Robin: I am seeing them and I am actually playing with a very cheap Android tablet, and it has Bluetooth, it’s called a Nook from Barnes & Nobel, and a Bluetooth keyboard I have hooked up to it and you know that I can get Open Office on it, I have Open Office on it?

David: Yeah, yeah, ah, that’s cool. So Office compatible, you can do some things there, right?

Robin: Right. As a writer that means it’s a full productivity machine for me. What about these, what kind of – it’s after Christmas, it’s time to look at, we’re beyond the gifts for us, we can calm down and shop carefully, what’s a good tablet – what’s a good deal on a tablet now?

David: Well, actually and of course that doesn’t mean the end of the deal, so, right? Because now we’re hitting end of the year, we are hitting people that want to do may be tax deductions for home office, that type of thing, so there is a lot of deals. It’s a great time to buy. I think what we have to decide as a buyer, as a consumer is, is this in fact replacing the notebook, is this going to be something that you use for work or is this an entity in and of itself. Is this a device that you’re going to use to supplement what you’re watching on TV, occasional e-mails, and that kind of thing and more of a media consumption device, or is it going to be that full replacement or near full replacement for your notebook?

If it’s the latter, then you want to buy a product that’s a little more in-sync with the devices you’re already using, your computers and your notebook. So that’s where Windows Tablets have a little bit of an edge, you can run Office applications, do things like that. If you’re more in the media consumption side, there is where Amazon and its Kindle Fire line come into play, because they are a little bit like the android but they are kind of their own universe. So they’re kind of their own thing, but for media consumption and a great range of apps, very good prices, very good hardware.

Robin: Okay, yeah. And I’ve been experimenting literally, I’m using my android phone as my camera and fast action camcorder, and I am starting to use that tablet as my chariot to a conference or to a remote ____3:41 even though I have a small 11.5 inch screen Chromebook type computer.

David: Okay, right.

Robin: You have a Chromebook yourself, do you not?

David: I have a Chromebook, I have several tablets, I have an iPad, I have Windows 8 machine, so the whole range that you kind of have to have to cover all the stuff. So they all have different purposes but you know the iPad of course is still the winner and the leading tablet. And that’s the gold standard. I mean there is many many more apps for the iPad than any other tablet and it’s a beautiful device.

Robin: Okay. But it’s also costly, let’s say.

David: It’s a beautiful device, it starts at $500 and goes up from there. The iPad Mini with Retina Display is $100 less, that’s a very good tablet. You know smaller than the full sized iPad. Android devices from the Samsung Galaxy to Google’s Nexus, those are great tablets, I mean, they give you a lot for the money too. Kind of the killer app for tablets is the form factor itself, is the fact that ____5:01 supportable that you can go anywhere with them and do more with them.

Robin: What do you figure has the minimum right now that we need to spend to get a usable, not fancy just usable tablet?

David: Sure, sure. You know the funny thing is you could go as low as – we had heard a lot of talk last year about the $99 tablets. I mean they came out from sort of no name manufacturers. It didn’t really happen in a big way. Now the big CES, the Consumer Electronics Show is in January, so we’re going to see a lot of more low-end devices there. But whether we’re really going to see $99 mainstream I don’t know. But for as low as $150, you’ve got Dell Computer with Venue 7 coming out with a pretty good, pretty usable 7 inch tablet. So that’s pretty exciting. That sounded great, that’s not cream of the crop on display or any of those things, but you can certainly do stuff with it.

Robin: Right. Well, I mean, I learned the hard way that you don’t buy pre-teens good stuff because we suffered this. “Give me, no that’s mine, no it’s my turn and it’s plugged in and boom and there goes your main board where the....

David: Well, we’re actually seeing new thing, we’re seeing actually quite a few manufacturers come out with kid specific tablets, designed for kids, designed for the family. So you don’t have to necessarily pass along the one that you’re using for work or play. And these are ruggedized. They have pretty good hardware in terms of hard plastic shells, being able to take a few simple falls, that kind of thing.

Robin: Indeed. From what I’ve seen, the OLPC, the One Laptop Per Child is quickly becoming the one tablet per child project. They have a kid

David: Yeah.

Robin: I don’t remember who makes a Polaroid or somebody unlikely

David: Well, they were ahead of their time. They basically that original idea was that there would be $100 computer, it was ahead of its time, it’s still around and it’s morphed into a tablet thing, but that was the idea, spill proof, drop proof, applications built-in, pretty nifty idea.

Robin: Okay. Now we all love tablets all of a sudden, in fact here you are working on an publication that covers nothing else, why didn’t we pick up on tablets when Bill Gates was walking around showing them off over and over again, why did we ignore him?

David: Right, well and we largely did, I mean, they did find a niche, the Windows Tablets did find a niche in sort of delivery service people and medical and certain more limited scenarios. The problem was, Microsoft’s vision has always been ever since Windows came in the scene, Windows and then everything else grows from that. So they tried to extend the basic Windows desktop metaphor to a tablet form factor. And it didn’t really work. What Apple did, Apple came along and said, let’s reinvent this idea of a tablet and they were also the beneficiary of great timing, because the hardware had really evolved to the point where they could come out with a real portable device, low cost – relatively low cost and it worked out well for them. They started from a blank slate. They didn’t try to extend the Mac OS to a tablet. They said, no, let’s start with this iOS idea. And make it for tablets and let’s make a tablet be this unique thing that’s a very portable device for media consumption.

Now since that’s come out and Microsoft was always like, well, you can do everything you do in a desktop on a tablet. Well, it was heavy, it was expensive, it just didn’t work from that perspective, from a mass market perspective. Now, Apple has extended – really the developer community has extended this idea of media consumption and said, now you can do productive things on the tablet.

Robin: Which you can.

David: Which you can and there’s third parties companies coming out with keyboards and peripherals. It’s interesting because Apple itself is not – Apple sees different markets, Apple sees the tablet market, it sees the desktop market, the notebook market. So they themselves don’t do a lot to make the tablet more usable from a productivity point of view. They want you to buy a MacBook.

Robin: Well, I mean those who can afford it, no doubt do, it’s a

David: Yeah.

Robin: I’m just finding that the jump from the desktop down to the tablet isn’t big, and that leads me to another question, okay; let’s say we’re making a website.

David: Okay.

Robin: Okay, let’s do that, do we need an app or apps (plural) for Android and for the Apple people or do we just need a mobile website?

David: Yeah, I think there is going to be and they’re already is starting to be a big convergence, we’ve heard about this term called HTML5.

Robin: Yes.

David: Which is a kind of programming language, and the great promise of that is that it kind of reminds me of Java, the write-once-run-anywhere idea.

Robin: Right.

David: You do HTML and then you don’t do separate apps, and whether apps will – I think that is the direction. But right now there is this hybrid idea that you need an app for everything, and that hasn’t always been successful particularly on the publishing side, for example Rupert Murdoch’s company News Corp., invested a lot of money and hired a lot of people to do this thing called The Daily, which was an app for the iPad, and it just didn’t work, it didn’t pay in terms of the pay back for them. The idea that you have to load a separate app, I mean, we have an app, there’s a Times app, there are different apps for publications, but the idea that you always have to launch an app when people are so used to just go into a website. For media, it’s hard to know if that’s going to work long term.

Robin: I personally don’t think it will, I mean, I remember when everybody was going to have their private little walled-off piece of the internet; in fact, I have started writing one online, when Time Life was doing that.

David: Yeah.

Robin: They had all their magazines; it was Path Finder was the site, you’d never need another site except

David: Well, not to get too off topic, but, yeah, the idea that you had this gold standard, you had this terrific brand Time and they said, well, okay for the web we’re going to start this thing called a Path Finder with all new names and all new – yeah, in retrospect not so smart.

Robin: But even so, once again everybody was trying to have their little private thing; as you may or may not recall, you’re not an old man like me, so you may not remember back when there were like these things like CompuServe and the [Prodders]; there’re all these different online services, and you gave one money and you couldn’t send email to your friend from CompuServe, you couldn’t send email to your friend on ____13:01 .

David: Right.

Robin: Everybody wanted their private thing. With the one size

David: Yes, I don’t really see us going back to that, now the one thing you do have is for example you can’t run iTunes on an Android tablet, on a Kindle Fire, that’s not available, so we still have our separate universes up to a point.

Robin: Really I haven’t tried, I thought I – yeah, I do too have, I have iTunes on an Android; yeah, you can do that.

David: On like a Kindle Fire, you can’t run

Robin: Well, the Kindle, there’s some adoptions you have to do, you have to route it, so you’re in the mainstream Android.

David: Yeah, except

Robin: It’s not hard.

David: Well, yeah.

Robin: Well, I’m the tinkerer, let’s face it, I run Linux and I play with things. But I’m fine with the Android stuff which I gathered Android is now the world’s most popular operating system. Scary.

David: Yeah, that maybe, and I guess that is true, but then you get into usage, and when they do measurements of Internet usage and an app usage and things like that, it’s no contest, I mean, there’s much more traffic going through the iOS universe; iPhone and iPad.

Robin: Really?

David: Yeah, well, there's a lot of devices, they’re really cheap on the Android side that, do they ever get used? Well, it’s kind of hard to say. Or they are used very minimally. So a lot of devices out there, what’s actually being used, it’s iOS.

Robin: So if we want to be mainstream at this moment, we want to go with iOS.

David: Yeah, I mean, in aggregate I mean there’s still plenty of great things on the Android side that you can take a look at. And, I mean, Nexus 7, there is no question that that’s a popular device, Kindle Fire very popular, so plenty of options there. Windows ironically you’re talking about things in the past, Windows is the dark horse and I would say don’t count them out. There’s lot of resources there. They don’t always get it right the

first time, but they get it right at some point.

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Are Tablets Replacing Notebook Computers? (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:01PM (#45822571) Homepage
    No.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:09PM (#45822655)

      Let's qualify this "no" answer. If you're a power user, a tablet isn't (today) going to get the job done. But if all you want to do is check email, browse websites, maybe play a few games, and so on, a tablet is just fine. I know many people that have quit using their desktops and notebooks because a tablet is all they need.

      Desktops and notebooks have a place in the corporate world and other small businesses, and I don't see many geeks replacing their workstations with tablets. Certainly you can't effectively program on them yet and there is still a lot of software that requires a full Windows, OS X or Linux install. There may be a day when the tablet is the workstation and acts like a desktop when you're at your desk, and a tablet when you're not. But that is not quite here today for most people.

      The desktop is not dead, and tablets have not replaced notebooks. But I think we can all envision a day when that is a distinct possibility.

      • by mlts (1038732) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:38PM (#45822907)

        I might add a cautious exception to this. There are some x86 tablets (like the MS Surface Pro) which are coming along well enough that if they have a decent docking station that supports USB (for backup drives, keyboards and other HID items), a plug for a monitor, a Thunderbolt port or two for faster drives, it may be that a tablet can function as someone's sole computer. The video on newer x86 tablets won't handle the next Crysis iteration, but for most gaming, it is OK. With 8GB of RAM, that will do for a number of tasks, similar with the onboard SSD storage. To boot, it provides decent security, as BitLocker [1] is easy to enable.

        So, for most tablets, I'd say "no" with qualifications as the parent. However, one can make an x86 tablet running Windows function identically to a desktop, so that would be a cautious exception.

        [1]: Until MS gets a new BIOS rev, be careful on enabling the TPM PIN, as it won't be enterable on the display, and you will need to hit the volume-down (minus) rocket for the Surface Pro to scan for HID items. BitLocker will work just with the TPM, or with the TPM and a USB flash drive as usual.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There are some x86 tablets (like the MS Surface Pro) which are coming along well enough that if they have a decent docking station that supports USB (for backup drives, keyboards and other HID items), a plug for a monitor, a Thunderbolt port or two for faster drives, it may be that a tablet can function as someone's sole computer.

          If I need a docking station, external backup drives, external keyboard, etc. then please explain why I'm even bothering with a tablet? Seriously, just get a laptop. Tablets are for people who don't need all that stuff, they are designed as a device used to consume content, not create it.

          • by tepples (727027)

            If I need a docking station, external backup drives, external keyboard, etc. then please explain why I'm even bothering with a tablet? Seriously, just get a laptop.

            Because I want the portability of a 10" device, and they stopped making 10" laptops a year ago [slashdot.org].

          • Because you can use a tablet as a tablet. You can't use a laptop as a tablet.

            A convertible tablet, e.g. Asus Transformer, can be used as either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Betteridge's Law of Headlines indicates this answer is most likely correct :)
    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:16PM (#45822715) Journal

      For most ordinary home users who go online to consume content and do brief chats/facebook/such, the answer can be a fairly easy "yes", so long as they're willing to ditch their old programs in exchange for apps. My wife did this in July by swapping to an iPad, and hasn't looked back. I think she used the bluetooth keyboard twice... meanwhile, it's replaced her PMP, camera, gaming console, and she watches movies with it on long road trips.

      For crabby old tech types like me the answer is "hell no!" - I have way too much invested in CG/3D hobbyist bits and tools, I need the horsepower to render with, I type way too much, and in my estimation, screen real-estate is king. I'll stick with my MacBook Pro, thanks much.

      In-between? Depends on whether or not you primarily consume content or primarily create it; therein lies your answer.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:42PM (#45822959) Journal

        I have an ASUS TransformerPad which has the advantage of a dockable keyboard with an extra battery in it, which is great for when I'm going to be spending a long time on trains / at airports / on planes, because the keyboard also works well as a stand and fits on the tray table in most places. It can play back films for 7 hours and can show PDFs and run vim. There's actually a nice LaTeX app for Android that will load the packages you use on demand (a feature I'd love to have on the desktop, to avoid the 2GB TeXLive download for the few MBs of LaTeX that I actually use, without having to manually work out what they and their dependencies are).

        It doesn't replace a laptop, but it does augment it nicely.

      • In my case it's it leans towards the yes. I just got one of the asus android transformers and so far it's working out far better than my old laptop. I've found quick development tasks much quicker and easier than using the laptop and it's really convenient that the battery lasts as long as it does and I can get up and wander around with just the screen when I need thinking/reading time. This is suitable of course because I am developing android software and I am not someone who likes sitting down when I sol

        • Thank you for the suggestion of xrdp. I've been looking for something to log into a Linux box graphically since I discovered that the version of x11vnc in certain versions of Ubuntu was incompatible with the version of Xvfb in the same distribution.

          I just got one of the asus android transformers and so far it's working out far better than my old laptop. I've found quick development tasks much quicker and easier than using the laptop

          What software do you use for this? Is it AIDE or something else?

          Having ssh, xrdp and samba shares on the desktop machine also gives me the freedom to wander around with the tablet while doing heavy wokloads.

          (Skipping the Chinese frying pan) That's all well and good for wandering about a building. But what happens if you wander onto a bus or otherwise out of range of your access point's signal?

      • by Rob Y. (110975)

        For developers, I think tablets restore the viability of the desktop. Development should still be done on a desktop machine with a good keyboard, mouse and a big screen. Using a laptop for this is a pretty bad compromise. Sure, if you need the portability of your dev environment, there's no other good choice. But you probably already have a laptop that can do this stuff perfectly well - why buy another pricey 'all in one' device for that. It's just an evey worse compromise. Most developers work either

        • Most developers work either at an office or at home

          Unless the bus commute to and from work is the only quality time that you can carve out to work on your hobby projects. I've been in such a situation.

          or can RDP into one of those desktops to work

          RDP on a bus costs 500 to 600 USD per year for mobile broadband. Some people need to carry around a device that can do at least a subset of their work locally. I guess they're among your "some that do".

          You don't want your big dev machine on your lap to check your email

          Sometimes when you check your e-mail, you want to reply to one or messages that you received. It's far easier to type out a detailed reply on a physical keyboar

      • Just did an end of the year analysis with a client and got to looking at their statistics and planning for 2014. I was shocked that the single largest block of users as far as OS & Browser were concerned was iPad @ 22% of all traffic. Chrome was 2nd @ 16.9% (about 1/3 of that is Android). 3rd was iPhone @ 16.2%. That means that roughly half their traffic is now from mobile devices and 1/3rd over all is iOS.

        So much for that the plans for 2014 is now to look at building mobile apps for iOS & Andro

        • Just did an end of the year analysis with a client and got to looking at their statistics and planning for 2014. I was shocked that the single largest block of users as far as OS & Browser were concerned was iPad @ 22% of all traffic. Chrome was 2nd @ 16.9% (about 1/3 of that is Android). 3rd was iPhone @ 16.2%. That means that roughly half their traffic is now from mobile devices and 1/3rd over all is iOS.

          So much for that the plans for 2014 is now to look at building mobile apps for iOS & Android.

          Obligatory:
          http://xkcd.com/1174/ [xkcd.com]

          • I wonder how many of these site-specific apps exist primarily because Safari for iOS doesn't support WebGL, the Stream API, or even uploads of content types other than pictures or video.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        That is the answer.

        Most homes will probably need a computer for the near future. Note I said "a" computer. Most first world places (basically most of the /. readers) will probably have at least one computer per person - and maybe a couple more "community" computers (e.g., HTPC, servers, etc).

        And most families probably have close to three computers - the "family" PC, the work/parents PC (which may or may not be borrowed from work), and the kids PC. Or more.

        Well, it probably turns out a number of them are co

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      The only thing my tablet is replacing, is my Nintendo DS.

      • The only thing my tablet is replacing, is my Nintendo DS.

        How so? The DS has games like New Super Mario Bros. where the player runs and jumps on platforms and shoots enemies. Last time I checked, a tablet was good for point-and-click games and single-button timing games but horrible for anything else.* Which developer has figured out a useful way to control platformers on the flat sheet of glass that is a tablet's input device?

        * I'm referring to tablets that people are likely to own, not obscure gaming tablets by JXD.

        • Apple release a hardware control BTLE API with iOS7 allowing for third party hardware controllers, many of which are being built now.

          Even before that a number of games used physical buttons that made use of the bluetooth keyboard interface...

          • Apple release a hardware control BTLE API with iOS7 allowing for third party hardware controllers

            I'm aware of this and of the keyboard-emulating iControlPad and iCade that preceded it. But how many people actually buy a $39.99 third-party controller to play a $0.99 game?

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:27PM (#45823377) Journal

      Correct but there is A REASON why sales are down, something that none of the pundits seem able to grasp and the reason is thus: The PC went from being "good enough" to insanely overpowered while the user's jobs? They didn't change.

      I mean look at the kits I sell on the low end, we're talking triples and quads with 4Gb of RAM, GPUs that do 1080P, and 500Gb HDDs....now how many of your average folks is gonna be able to slam that chip hard enough to require an upgrade, much less a new PC?

      The PC industry (and MSFT) got spoiled by what was a bubble, the MHz war created a bubble because increased single core performance? Trivial for a programmer to take advantage of while taking advantage of an 8 thread CPU? Insanely HARD and many jobs simply don't scale across cores well. The same will happen to tablets, we are already seeing quad tablets in the sub $150 range so it won't be long until everyone has an insanely overpowered tablet that wants one, which will be followed by smartphones.

      What will happen to the industry then? Who knows but the days of just throwing a new PC on the market and having it sell itself are over, the industry is just gonna have to adapt and try to come up with new markets.

  • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Cat (19816) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:04PM (#45822595)

    Two different tools for two different tasks. Tablets are consumption tools. Computers are production tools.

    The end.

    • precisely so. wish I had mod points.
    • I'm not a fan of the word "consumption". It sounds more like either using something up or tuberculosis than like the meaning people tend to use it for in PC vs. tablet discussions, which is viewing works created by others. But as people shift viewing activity to tablets, the PC market could end up losing the economies of scale that it currently enjoys, and more low-end PC categories might go the way of the netbook (affordable 10" laptops discontinued a year ago in favor of higher-margin tablets). This might
      • by Culture20 (968837)
        Perhaps "reception" might be better received as the purpose of the devices? More in line with radios and TVs, but with a few more features that make them like two way radios with board games built in.
    • Two different tools for two different tasks. Tablets are consumption tools. Computers are production tools.

      The end.

      Ironically its not true, we suddenly have Devices that people are comfortable creating in creating twitter; taking pictures and editing them, discussing *everything*. I notice the latest craze is creating comics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ApplePy (2703131)

        Devices that people are comfortable creating in creating twitter;

        "Creating twitter"?

        That's about as much "creating" as is "creating" a turd from the contents of my colon.

      • by Culture20 (968837)
        That certainly would explain Romita Jr's art.
    • Could you say that about computers so firmly in 2008?

      Tablets are replacing a large percentage of computers. My household has 50% the computers it had back then.

    • But many people are just consumers, so they are probably opting for the tablet rather than a laptop. Also, it's simple economics. You get a better screen for a lot less money. Have you ever tried buying a laptop with a good screen lately? They're mostly $1K+.... You can get a 1920x1200 kindle fire for $230. That's a friggin bargain compared to a laptop with the same screen resolution. I hope the laptop makers get destroyed by tablets, and finally force them to bring out laptops with good screens for a good
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      As a general rule, I agree. But I do have a doctor friend who was quite happy to toss her laptop in exchange for an iPad with a keyboard case. Yes, it's basically a laptop in this configuration, but there is no 10" laptop with 12 hours of battery life and a touch screen on the market, AFAIK. She needs email, obviously, but more importantly uses it to take patient notes. And yes, I do believe there is some kind of HIPAA approved app that she uses.

  • They've lowered the street price of used laptops enough that I can buy a workable 15" laptop for $15 and install CrunchBang Linux on it and use it for everything I could need, save for gaming. The project that I did this with is working out beautifully, even using it for work:

    http://www.tidbitsfortechs.com/2013/12/project-5050-a-low-budget-linux-laptop/ [tidbitsfortechs.com]

    Then again, Tablets Are Not Computers. Not yet, anyway.

    • by toygeek (473120)

      $50, not $15!! Silly brain.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I'm running CrunchBang on an old packard bell R1936 laptop with much lower specs and it runs quite well.
      CrunchBang is an excellent distro for making old laptops useful again.

      • by thebes (663586)

        Define useful...I don't think that word means what you think it means.

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          "useful" as in "I'm using it".
          It lets my old laptop be a handy webbrowser or an extra screen.

    • I bought a machine with similar specs (second hand) for £100 around 2006, so I don't think you can credit tablets with the fact that second-hand laptops have fallen in price by a factor of 3-4 over 6-7 years.
  • News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Golgafrinchan (777313) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:05PM (#45822611)
    What a strange article to post on Slashdot. I wasn't aware that a fairly basic "this is what tablets do, and here's a brief buying guide" article qualifies as "News for Nerds."
    • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SethJohnson (112166) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:15PM (#45822707) Homepage Journal
      I thought exactly the same thing. It's like the staff at Slashdot don't recognize that its audience would collectively know a million times more about this topic than the goofball at "tabtimes.com" would.

      This kind of post is disrespectful to the audience. It's the kind of thing that drives it away and then you're left with mainstream audience who doesn't know crap about tablets. How profitable is advertising to them? Probably not as much as advertising to people who routinely configure Cisco routers or select cloud platforms for enterprise application deployments.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Well, I rarely see them anywhere, so it is sort of news to know what they can do :-) Honest, I don't drink coffee so I don't know what sorts of weird shennanigans happen at coffee shops, but in the real world I've only seen a few tablets which was just after ipad announced but none recently (except for dedicated ebook readers).
      But then the article is pointless anyway since people who don't know much about tablets don't care to know more about tablets, so it feels like advertising to me.

  • by QuesarVII (904243) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:06PM (#45822629)
    I tried checking out the tabtimes website but immediately closed it. It looks like 1 giant ad.
    • Ye Gods...

      At first I was about to demand your geek card for not using ABP and DoNotTrackMe browser extensions/add-ons. Then I saw the site.

      Garish is word entirely insufficient to describe the crap layout of that website. Dunno who thought it would be somehow cool to replicate the Metro interface as a website, but whoever did should be taken out back and beaten senseless with a worn-out SCSI-2 full-height hard disk.

  • by dalias (1978986) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:11PM (#45822671)
    Ever since tablets got popular, it's been almost impossible to find a decent notebook. Everybody's playing conservative and going for bottom-level pricing, ugly oversided junk models, and/or the gamer market. What happened to the 10" models with 8-12 hour batteries? Or anything with a screen resolution over 1366x768? I'm waiting for a notebook (real keyboard, usb ports, etc.) with DPI and battery life that come anywhere near what tablets have nowadays, and it looks like I'm going to keep waiting... P.S. Please refrain from replies referring to any sort of fruit...
    • by redmid17 (1217076)
      Netbooks got turfed about 3 years ago. You can get the new version of those 11" Airs, Surface Pros, Android type tablets with a full keyboard. They are more expensive than the netbooks were in general, but they are there. Same with the resolution. You can get better than 1366x768, but you have to pony up for it. Netbooks generally had bad resolution anyway, so you're not losing much there. Get a chromebook and slap a big SD card in it. USB 3, HDMI, 12/32 GB SSD, real keyboard are all included. Those are ty
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:22PM (#45822787)

      Indeed. I'm a big netbook fan, and good netbooks have all but disappeared. I dread the day my 2 current netbooks die because I fear I'll have nothing to replace them with.

      The arrival of tablets and their touchscreen UI also have another nasty side effect: it's completely impossible to find a laptop with a matte (frosted, non-touchscreen) screen. All the screens out there are shiny and extremely nasty to do actual work with, because of reflections.

      All this would be good and well if tablets could replace laptops (as in: buy a tablet, a keyboard and a mouse, and you have a laptop). Trouble is, you can't: their very touch event-driven UI makes using a mouse with them completely stupid - try hovering over something with a bluetooth mouse connected to a tablet: nothing happens. Keyboard locales too are handled catastrophically, since most of the work is done on on-screen soft keyboards.

      So, tablets are great if used strictly as tablet. Trouble is, tablets aren't any good to do actual work, save for very specialized applications. And the tools to do real work have been killed by tablets.

      That sucks...

    • Well... netbooks are dead, so that's out. Not sure if the HP Mini is still around, but that's what I last had and it worked nicely w/ Ubuntu on it.

      I think Dell and HP figured out that since consumers make up a tiny portion of their market, and since corporate models doesn't need all that much, well, screw making badassed laptops anymore... If Alienware wasn't so obsessed with size-uber-alles (for gaming), well...

      (as per your request, I'll leave out mentioning the MB Air .)

    • by mlts (1038732)

      Unfortunately, for some notebook items, you will have to pay through the nose for it. Dell Latitudes have some decent options... but you will be paying over a thousand for one, especially once you hit the ultrabook tier.

      Of course, touch screens are becoming standard issue in laptops (which to me is pointless since it is easier to use a keyboard/trackpad than smudge the screen up... but to each his/her own.)

    • by l3v1 (787564)
      "Ever since tablets got popular, it's been almost impossible to find a decent notebook."

      So right. There are some good ones, but much less to choose from then we could a few years ago. Thats why I'm happy I got an xps13 when it came out, still using it, especially when I'm travelling since I'm much more productive with it than with any tablet. I just hope that when I'll have to ditch it there will still be some decent notebooks to pick from (I'm not too optimistic though).
    • by soundguy (415780)

      One word - Lenovo. I tried Sony and Toshiba in the old days. Complete junk. Screens fell off, keyboards stopped working, cooling systems crapped out. Got a used Thinkpad (1999 era) in the mid 2000's that is still being used as a print server in the back room. Got a dual-core in 2009 that still works like new. I just replaced a couple months ago with a W530 (workstation grade) quad-core so I could do HD video editing on the road without dying of old age before a render finished. Wasn't cheap though. About $1

  • things will really changed. You will still need computers for serious production, but the $38 tablet [pcmag.com] may take over as the home computer.
  • by Bigbutt (65939)

    That was a headache to read.

    First off, I thought the iPad was a logical extension of the iPhone not a whole cloth creation. Even at the time we were saying it was just a bigger iPhone.

    Next. I don't think the table will replace the notebook/laptop for the folks who create. Sure, I can type a lot even with a keyboard on my iPad however I absolutely do not want to create websites on it. I certainly don't want to use OpenOffice on a Nook.

    Third, the individual apps for each news organization, on-line marketplace

  • Timely article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:13PM (#45822685) Homepage Journal

    Only a few weeks ago I was in a meeting. There were 2 laptops and 6 iPads in the room. I think that was the first time I saw 3x more tablets in a meeting of that size (or at least that I remember noticing)
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Only a few weeks ago I was in a meeting. There were 2 laptops and 6 iPads in the room. I think that was the first time I saw 3x more tablets in a meeting of that size (or at least that I remember noticing)

      I've started to see this at work also, but were they creating content, or just consuming it?

      • by Holi (250190)

        I can tell you that the CEO at JWT only has an iPad anymore, and for most executives that's all they need, just something to email with. A full blown PC is wasted on most people.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      It's quite normal for meetings to have only 25% of people actually needing to be in the meeting..

  • Until the Adobe Creative Suite runs reasonably well on a tablet, then no.

    • Until the Adobe Creative Suite runs reasonably well on a tablet, then no.

      Very few actually care about adobe products, now flash is dead(WTF happened to Gnash). In fact going forward not Adobe is moving towards Web DRM. How many people will suddenly become Gimp advocates.

      In fact with failing Apple and Windows Sales they are creating tablet versions of their software. If they had any sense they should have had a Linux versions forever ago.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Regarding flash, an astounding number of sites still use it, especially to play video, and there doesn't seem to be much sign of that changing. But I wasn't talking about flash.

        I've been using Gimp since point-something, and it's gone a long way, but I still need Photoshop and Lightroom for my work. Yes, I'm really not looking forward to the web version, (I don't necessarily have internet access in the field) and that may make me look at alternatives. But at least for now, Adobe CS is the killer tablet a

    • by soundguy (415780)

      Until the Adobe Creative Suite runs reasonably well on a tablet, then no.

      ... and Vegas/Premier/Avid and AutoCad/Blender/Maya and CGminer/Folding@home/SETI and ...

  • Tablets are fine as a media consumption device, and for many (most?) people, that's all they need. But once you add everything you need to be truly useful (keyboard & mouse + maybe more local storage), you have a notebook in a much less convenient form.

  • Depends on the use case and exactly what ones means by "replacing". Within six months of the iPad's release, none of the senior execs at my company carried their laptop out of the office anymore. They still have laptops, though. So Dell still gets to sell them a new laptop every few years. But the requirements of that laptop have declined. It no longer needs a DVD drive to play movies on long flights. They no longer ask for the most cutting-edge thin/light model laptop, since they rarely carry it arou

  • However, they are expanding the market for computers generally considered. Like everyone else, I have a bunch of each and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

    Oh and, Long Live Desktop Computers with replaceable, chooseable parts.

    • It might not replace jobs where a keyboard+mouse input is required for vast quantiles of text input or serious pointing nailed to a desk, but many jobs require you to walk around and consume information(or simple imput), and require you to have a similar device e.g doctor; teacher; pupil, warehouse worker etc etc.

  • Um, yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:25PM (#45822807) Journal

    From the first link in the summary: Last July, during an interview with Charlie Rose, Bill Gates explained that Jobs "did some things better than I did. His timing in terms of when it came out, the engineering work, just the package that was put together. The tablets we had done before, weren't as thin, they weren't as attractive."

    Well yeah, plus, anyone who has used Windows XP Tablet Edition will tell you, it really didn't have tablet support. The "tablet features" were repurposed Accessibility features and they really didn't work very well. What Apple brought to the table was that a touch-only interface, to be intuitive and easy to use, couldn't be merely a bunch of cabalistic gestures that mimicked the actions of a three button mouse. Had Microsoft started *then* on a touch-only gui, instead of trying to shoehorn in the KVM-centric GUI of XP, maybe things would have been different.

    • Well yeah, plus, anyone who has used Windows XP Tablet Edition will tell you, it really didn't have tablet support.

      Having used one myself the biggest drawback was battery life...ans the solution to this was ARM.

  • Why is nobody mentioning the massive mark-up that Microsoft and Intel have, walking around with their 60-70% Profit Margins. The bottom line is PC's are poor value compared to Android tablets. The success of competing on price is the massive growth of Chromebooks...which have already overtaken Mac even without it being a mature platform.

  • Maybe, maybe not.

    I suspect that number of people will find it moderately easy to either agree or disagree with that. Probably.

  • Yes, a Windows notebook that is also a tablet! So I can log on to my VPN (only from Windows, blame my IT dept.). Plus I need to be able to use Creo 2.0 (CAD software, again Windows only). I have a nice, high end notebook machine with a good graphics chipset but it's a boat anchor with about 45 mins battery life. & it takes up a ton of space. For any real work, it's gotta be the notebook. But for some fast, simple changes, I could get away with an Intel 4000 series graphics chipset.

    So what I want is

  • I keep hearing that tablets are good for "Joe Sixpack" because he just consumes content. That's not quite true. Posting on a forum, explaining why the previous poster is an idiot is creating content, and even that can be a PITA on a tablet/phone. I don't see tablets replacing laptops anytime soon.

  • We have let me count...3 tablets, 3 phones, 1 ipod, 3 laptops and one iMac in my household. We use them all. We use them for different purposes and reasons.
    Books, recipes, pictures, casting to the new Chomecast -- Tablet.
    Phone, pictures, taking it with you -- Phone.
    Home work, work work, email, shopping. -- Laptop.
    My development environment -- iMac.
    I don't get why the success of one thing means the death of another. Ok I get the car means the horse and buggy are on the way out. But, TV didn't kill
    • I don't get why the success of one thing means the death of another.

      I think the implication is that if enough people choose to buy a tablet instead of a PC, the drop in PC sales might weaken the PC market's economies of scale, which could cause certain categories of low-end PC to go the way of affordable 10" laptops [slashdot.org]. Or can tablets already do everything that low-end PCs can for a comparable price?

      But, TV didn't kill radio or movies.

      Radio drama [wikipedia.org] is dead. In fact, pretty much all radio program formats other than popular music, political talk, and religious talk have pretty much died as far as I can tell.

  • you see a lot more [tablets] than you did five years ago, when it seemed like Bill Gates was the only person who had one, which he tried to show off as often as he could

    The problem with Microsoft's tablet vision is that they saw it as an driving force for Windows sales. They tried to make sure every tablet they sold was also another sale of Windows. Consequently your low-end laptop cost $750 (back then), the average laptop around $1300, and a Tablet PC cost north of $2000.

    The early success of netbooks

  • https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/u-s-commercial-channel-computing-device-sales-set-to-end-2013-with-double-digit-growth-according-to-npd/ [npd.com]

    These are end of year sales figures in the American Market. What seems to be wining is Good Value. Overpriced Tablets and PC's from Apple/Microsoft are losing out to Android\Chromebooks, and still there is a shift(For many) toward tablets. I think we are seeing the overpriced Wintel/Apple computers(including iPads) being replaced with good value Ch

  • Sales, medical, Medicare workers, government, retail and others I see are showing up with iPads literally every day.

    You don't need to use a laptop-netbook-keyboard to enter a name or date or answers to a few questions or a food order at your local burger joint. iPads are pervasive.

  • I have tried some plain media consumption on my current Android phone and technically there are very little problems. (No built-in samba is probably the biggest minor "glitch", but there are some solutions to that.)

    But the overall experience is simply ruined by the glossy screen. It is the worst with the movies: half time you wonder if it is some detail in the movie - or it is reflection of something - or just my face. It's like frigging mirror.

    Until they start producing devices with matte screens, I'm

    • Until they start producing devices with matte screens, I'm absolutely not interested in tablets.

      http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/09/hands-on-with-panasonics-toughpad-tablet/ [engadget.com] a quick search produces a matt screen. google is quite easy to use.

      • What would have I've done without you? </sarcasm>

        You should have checked the prices first. Or used a price matching site where one can easily filter by "non-glare" and "Android".

        Panasonic Toughpad starts at around €900 for 7" device. (10" costs €1100 and does NOT have matte display.)

        Bit too much for a content consumption device, don't you think? (Comparable normal, non-tough 10" tablet would cost at most €500.)

        P.S. Also HP (Android) and Fujitsu (Win8) appear to produce on and of

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:36PM (#45823445) Homepage Journal
    Let me guess: flash video. Not that I mind missing out on this particular video. I just wanted to remark on the irony that I can't watch this video about tablets replacing notebooks on my Nexus 7 tablet. News for nerds indeed.
  • I must have missed something.
  • Huh...? I know of an app to sync iTunes content to your Android, but.....
  • One is ARM, one is x86. One you can type 100 WPM on, the other you can type about 15 WPM on. One has an optical drive, one doesn't. They aren't even comparable computing devices.

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