Tablets : Between Recreation and Productivity

I handed over my tablet to my son a few months ago after a failed bid to sell it off.

While I was researching for the ideal tablet to put my hard earned cash on, the Toshiba Thrive came tops as the most productive or functional tablet around. However, after a few months of using it, i realised that there is only so much even the best featured tablets could do. Read my review of the Toshiba Thrive here.

By my definition, productivity or functionality is the speed or amount of work one can get done on a tablet compared to what can be achieved on a regular computer. Yes, the yard stick for comparison has and will always be the PC.

From this definition, you may understand why the iPad was never considered.

toshiba-thrive-6While the Toshiba Thrive could take most of what I threw at it by way of hardware accessories – full USB keyboard, mouse and all – the fact remains that the operating system powering it (an enhanced Android 4.1.2 custom rom) was never suited for getting much productive work done.

While tablet manufacturers have access to near infinite apps on Google Play, with a good number focused on enterprise & productivity, however it seems majority of the apps available fall within a ‘recreational’ category.

It has been predicted by many technology analysts that the tablet form factor will be replacing the PC as we know it. And as if to prove these pundits right, the PC has witnessed a very sharp drop in sales since the introduction of the iPad.

But why is this so when it is very clear to about everyone that the functionality of the PC is almost only limited by the imagination of the user whereas the tablet can barely get simple productivity tasks done conveniently?

The reason may not be far fetched. Most users do not need the infinite computing powers of the regular PC, at least you don’t need it for the regular tasks that most people indulge in; word processing, web browsing, other Microsoft office products, solitaire, watching films, etc. A role that even the least powered tablets can undertake perfectly.

The question however still remain; would the tablet form factor be the end of the PC. Well, one thing is very sure, definitely not in our lifetime. Many have predicted the demise of Linux too which, against all odds, is probably even more relevant than before; it powers most of the websites in the world, embedded in more devices than we can ever count and also is the basis of most operating systems around now; Mac 0s, android, etc.

For geeks like me, the tablet remains what it is meant for- recreation. I can not even being myself to undertake the simplest word processing tasks on an android or iPad tablet because of formatting issues.

However, Microsoft has already set the pace with its mobile and desktop OS convergence operating system – the Windows 8. Still rough at the edges, I strongly believe this company would play a major role in how soon the tablet form factor replaces the PC form factor.

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