Despite what you may have heard or what you may hear in the future, a tablet isn’t the same thing as a tablet PC. Tablet PCs have been around longer than tablets even though the newer hybrid tablet PCs resemble the older tablet PCs.
Choosing a Tablet over another PC
Although it may seem like a tablet isn’t a real PC, it is. PC stands for personal computer and anything that has a central processing unit (CPU) is a computer. However, for the sake of argument, I’ll limit my usage of “PC” to the IBM-compatible desktop computers (as opposed to Macs).
Lately, manufacturers have complained about the lackluster sales of new desktop PCs. There are two reasons why people aren’t buying a lot of them. The first is market saturation. Most people who want a desktop PC already have a desktop PC (many simply replacing PCs as they break down). The second is the variety of choices. People used to buy desktop PCs (and later, laptop computers) because they didn’t have any other choices. This all changed with the introduction of the tablet.
We need to let logic rule when it comes to explanations. If Average Joe just wants to browse the web, play certain video games and watch Netflix (these are all just examples), a tablet is all he needs. If he needs to respond to e-mail messages, he can bring up and use the on-screen keyboard. If Average Joe needs to be able to do more than what a tablet has the capability of doing, he’ll probably want a desktop PC or a laptop computer.
The Tablet PC
The tablet PC was invented before the tablet. I only know this because a friend of mine (a real estate agent) bought one. It was a laptop with a monitor that swiveled and a stylus could be used to write on it. I don’t even think it had a touch screen.
Recently, manufacturers have created tablet PCs that are really hybrids of laptops and tablets, with the monitor being a detachable tablet. This is an attempt to capture the market for people who use both laptops and tablets and don’t want to buy two different devices. After the introduction of the tablet, some people were buying add-on devices like tablet stands, detachable keyboards and mice because tablets aren’t well-suited for people who type a lot or people who are more comfortable with mice than touch screens. These new hybrids attempt to fill the market gap identified by all the add-ons.
Desktop PC and Laptop Computer Users
There will always be a market for desktop PCs and laptop computers, regardless of any new devices being invented. I’m one of those people who will probably never own a tablet and not because I don’t want one. I don’t need one. I may someday want a hybrid tablet if they’re cheap enough and powerful enough to serve my purposes, but somehow I doubt it.
I’m a touch-typist. I learned to type on a manual typewriter in the 1970s, being taught to type without looking at the keys. Today, I type on a computer keyboard, whether it’s a desktop PC or a laptop computer, without looking at the keyboard – I watch the characters appear on the screen as I’m typing. I can type more than 60 words per minute, no matter how those words are counted by any particular software program. Using an on-screen keyboard seems totally foreign to me and I have difficulty using one (which is what I have to do on my Kindle sometimes).
While tablets have their uses, some people will consider a desktop PC or a laptop computer a better choice. Tablets may some day be able to do everything those computers will do, but I don’t think it will happen any time soon. There are just so many things a “traditional” computer can do that tablets can’t do without added peripherals and much more powerful processors.
I’m not thinking out loud. My older son has an iPad while other relatives have iPhones and iPads. I’ve seen how frustrated they get while using them, the kind of frustration I never experience while plugging away on the laptop I’m using now.