All of them.
Wired claims 2010 is the year of the tablet. Let’s face it, however much they sound dreamy (even I’ve speculated on wanting one in the past), in practical reality tablets generally suck. They are both a worse laptop than a laptop, and a worse touch-input device than a piece of paper I can scan with my cheapo HP all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/sock darner combo device. So this is my “I don’t care what they say in the focus group, nobody’s buying your crappy tablet” intervention blog post.
Tablets suck at handwriting recognition. The dream of a touch-screen is you can easily edit/mark up your documents, and, as if by magic, the edits transform into your Word doc in a useful manner. Instead you get edts tht looh lik ths, intermixed with the occasional number and odd symbol.
Tablets suck to carry around. It’s too big for your pocket, and probably too big for your murse. Which means you need a laptop bag. Which means you might as well carry a… laptop.
Tablets make you tired. The ergonomic problems with a laptop are bad enough. Where am I going to carry the tablet such that constant use doesn’t get exhausting? The only worse user interface is the full hand motion system from Minority Report. Seriously, have you seen Tom Cruise’s biceps? they got huge after *that* movie!
Tablets can’t share nicely with others. So let’s pretend your tablet comes with some fancy new visual editing tool. Well, how do you get that useful data back to the other 99.9% of people you have to interact with? PDF? I don’t think so. Although I do assume that Apple would make some proprietary app that *would* work well, but that’s not the point.
Tablets suck at hiding smudges. The spittle residue on my MacBook screen is fairly intense. I can’t imagine how my greasy french-fry-eating fingers are going to make any tablet look. And yes, I’ve seen your iPhone, and I carry wipes around just so I don’t have to put it next to my head. Gross.
Tablets are bad Web browsers. I still applaud the CrunchPad team for their hard work, but I have no idea why anyone thinks surfing a Web page on a tablet with fingers is better, easier, or faster than doing the same with my laptop. Ditto for anyone else’s tablet. Plus, when I have to input anything, which is always, I don’t really want a virtual keyboard that will, by definition, work worse than the one on my laptop.
Tablets are priced poorly. What’s the “magic” price point for this thing? $200? No way it’ll be any good. $800? Buy a MacBook. $500? Buy a 3G NetBook. There is no price point that makes sense, other than as a gimmicky product for those with too much money lying around. Who will, for the record, all purchase one as soon as they come out.
Tablets suck at everything else. IM? Won’t work well. Video chat? Won’t work well. Spreadsheets? Nope. About the only other thing a tablet will be good at is a finger painting application, which my 2-year-old would love. For about 5 minutes until his short attention span moves onto the cardboard box he was playing with yesterday. Oh, and FreeCell – a tablet would be a killer FreeCell device. Awesome.
So there you have it. Sorry teams Apple TouchBook, CrunchPad, Windows Tablet Home Premium Ultimate 7 Edition (service pack 8), I know there is crazy hard work and tremendous effort going on in the labs. But I think until literally all of the above problems are solved, this is a non-category.
But if you do figure it out, I’m buying!
You don’t think you’d have written a similarly dismissive article at the end of 2006 named “The Smartphone That Nobody Really Wants…”?
i might’ve! and i’d have been wrong. which i might be again… of course you could’ve made a better argument than that, no?
“Tablets are bad Web browsers.”
My experience is that web browsing is one thing that tablets do very well — especially if you are standing or sitting without a desk/table.
For a tablet to be useful, the application has to be optimized for it. Like successful iPhone apps are for that device.
I hate to be “that guy”, but I’ll argue that a Tablet would be great for
1. watching movies
2. reading e-books
3. giving me a “personal” internet at work that is unmonitored
4. keeping ALL my files with me at all times.
Yes, a laptop could do all that. I’m not arguing that. I feel like a tablet should have an internal port for an iPod Touch like-device, and that smaller device actually holds all my info. Then, let me dock it into the tablet for the times I want a bigger screen.
I’m predicting Apple will roll out a product that’s quite appealing and a good value for situational use. I don’t think Dell has the innovative engineering knowhow to do this even with Intel’s help (and especially on a Windows platform).
It won’t be for everyone. You wouldn’t replace your MacBook Pro 17″ with it.
They’ve got a new type of film to help with the smudging problem. It’s already on the new 3gs iPhones.
The App Store is phenomenal. This tablet will run a variation of the iPhone version of OS X. There are so many of those apps that will benefit greatly from a bigger screen.
The battery will need to be charged so they’ll have to provide a base unit or dock for it to set on for that purpose. Why not also include a keyboard and a hard disk in that base unit. The tablet could run both the iPhone version of OS X and the full computer version of OS X using virtualization. When running on the battery it’s a giant iPod Touch. When docked to the base it’s a full featured computer that can run all applications such as Photoshop, Excel, etc.
Rotating the tablet switches it from landscape to portrait mode. Here are a few of the situational uses I think would be outstanding:
-Video – watch a movie
– Cramped quarters (think of an airplane tray table in the cheap seats section). Or think of a restaurant when you want to look something up on the web but don’t have room on the table for your laptop.
– Shared usage (think of it as a ‘coffee table computer’ that the whole family can share. Just pick it up when you want to look up something on the web or check your email.
– Sales tool – Make a presentation to a customer at a restaurant using Keynote. He holds the tablet. You control the presentation using the Remote Control app on your iPhone.
– Lecture notes for a professor who likes to move about the room. He can display items on a large screen via WiFi and control his presentation on a tablet.
Pricing is an important variable. The base unit could be priced separately in the configuration I’m describing.
Pricing on a subidized unit with 3G or 4G connectivity would be especially interesting. Most of us can’t afford to pay AT&T a monthly charge for an iPhone; Comcast a monthly charge for our cable modem hookup; and yet another monthly charge for tablet wide area connectivity. However, if they’d permit iPhone tethering to get Internet access at not additional cost (or a low add-on charge) it could be very interesting.
I want something small and easy to hold to read books on but with better usability than Kindle. A tablet just may work for me.
Handwriting recognition in Vista was greatly improved over XP. Windows 7 seems to be a big leap over Vista. It is pretty good.
@Speed – fair enough, but for how long? 30 minutes? 15? certainly not 2 hours…
@daniel – go ahead, I love “that guy”! i would be interested in hearing more about your points. i feel it’s a bad movie watching device (gotta hold this thing for 2 hours?), bad e-book device (battery life unlikely to last a whole flight), and I don’t really follow your 2nd two points.
@davesmall – doesn’t sound bad to me… i just think (per my post) that it will fall short of what you are describing. but we are on the same page, check out my first post on an apple tablet from a couple of years ago: http://www.livedigitally.com/2007/07/31/apple-to-announce-ultraportable-tablet-mac/
@clay – it may… or… not.
@fred – it has to be much better than “pretty good” to become widely accepted/used.
Alright, I saw this post and had to step away for a minute (you remember those days JT?) There is just too much to say, and too little time.
But, to begin:
No, this is just not accurate. (when posts like this come out I just have to wonder if the site traffic is slacking and we need another Mac vs. PC discussion – not that this is a mac v pc thingy)
Tablets work VERY WELL in some specific verticals and for specific users. I won’t detail out the verticals more than MEDICAL, DENTISTRY (DUDE, YOU of all people should know this) INVENTORY MGMT., Education. I could probably go on.
Some of them have some very nice form factors and features, I have been using a thinkpad/lenovo X61t for about 2+ years now – which granted would be considered a convertible, but is a tablet) I won’t go into why/how IBM/Lenovo makes great laptops, they do, but this was a great table. Dell also made a very nice tablet and will continue to do so.
For Hardwritting recognition, I didn’t EXPECT it to work, even though it should. But, you know what, on the road to me wanting to BASH VISTA, I found that the VISTA HW rec actually WORKS! And, it clearly isn’t just me if you look at tabletpcreview and other sites, they ALL say the same thing. HWR on Vista is finally there. Is it 100%, nope, but I don’t think anyone thinks it should/could be. For me, it doesn’t replace the keyboard, it compliments it and the recognition is very good.
On the X61t at least, and I know the Fujitsu’s, the pen/finger response, precision is quite good. I don’t have the problem with the pen not going exactly where I expect it. It does. for markup, for ideating (okay, I said this WAAAYY before it became an IBM slogan!) within a team, to a projector, etc. it works great. AND, it really holds peoples attention. They ask ME for the PEN, (they want to write on the screen and SHOW me what they are thinking. I really need to invent a device that allows for WIRELESS connectivity to a projector so I can just pass around the tablet (did I mention it weighs only 3.5lb, and lasts for FIVE HOURS of true wireless usage – it DOES.
Suck at carrying around: FORGET IT! The x61t as my continued example is lighter than any of my Macbooks (worst screen I have ever used – thank you apple for my Bells Palsy!) and my macbook pros (best laptops I have ever used) I also really like that at least in the convertible world I can flip the screen around and have a flat or REVERSE laptop for when using in close quarters like a COACH SEAT – BLEH!, but WHO flys coach, you know what I mean.
I’m not a huge fan of the walking with it in tablet mode, and writing and such, that is just TOO geeky for even a dapper technology/strategy consultant to be doing, but it CAN be done. Slim, easy to handle, great rotation mechanism, it rocks.
Ergonomics/ suck at web browsing: NO. I don’t get tired. When in keyboard use, it is just a bit smaller than a regulard thinkpad keyboard (still considered best in industry) when in table mode, I’m in drawing, reading, web browsing mode. I just FLICK the screen with my finger, click on bookmarks, hit the address bar with my pen and start writing on the screen and it pulls up my history and boom, i’m at another website.
YES, it took a little bit of time to transition to using this device and getting the most out of it, but that is because behaviorally I was locked in the laptop world, and needed to drive myself to seeing the usefulness of the features. But the combination of the pen/touch input and the keyboard for heavy intense text entry (which with a SLATE would be done via a bluetooth or other wireless type of external keyboard.) can be very efficient indeed.
Now, on to my mac tablet AKA the IBLET…
Now for the mac tablet – MEDIA DEVICE.
I personally have been proselytizing this device for over TWO YEARS now, but nobody seemed to be listening.
It came to me on a PS flight a few years ago when I used one of those media/video devices loaded with content which they hand out in C. (see above post about Y)
It was quite a good experience. Easy UI, nice video, small form factor, etc. The idea was born, APPLE needed to make a device for Itunes and other content, for video playback BUUUT, leverage the small footprint version of OSx developed for the iphone to enable the device to be so much more than just a media device.
This is what it needs to do and much of what it WILL do. Some of this is now projected and some will SURPRISE you.
8-10″ screen, hopefully using some new fangled OLED technology for better readability, screen resolution and battery performance.
Touch screen just like the iphone, on screen keyboard, bluetooth keyboard available for high speed text entry.
Build in web cam for video conferencing on the go. YES, you can carry it with you and use it for mobile video conferencing and video capture (there MIGHT be a camera that faces both ways, or swivels like the small sony’s used to do. Makes it easier to record.
LEAN OSx version, SDHC card slots for memory storage. FLASH or SSD based memory, relatively small.
It will have a 3G broadband radio built in. No it won’t be WIMAX. This enables it to be sold as a standalone product or subsidized by apple.
This device is going to be meant to be complimentary to a full on laptop or iphone. This device will also bring on the introduction of the iphone NANO, long discussed never seen.
The REAL KICKER HERE, is going to be the following: FINALLY in the great USA, a company in conjunction with a MOBILE WIRELESS carrier will off DUUUAAALLLL SSIIIIMMMM CAPABBILLLLLITTY!!
This means, TWO devices, same number. I will have this tablet, sit on the couch, at work, whatever. I can browse the web, flicking between my bookmarks, watch movies, do ichat video conferencing, makes calls, answer calls (imagine a pop-up text with Caller ID info and picture pops up in the middle of the screen. I can just tap answer, or tab STVM. SWEET!
I can answer the tablet, but my IPHONE NANO (for when I’m out clubbing and wearing the tight pants that cannot hold my entire, cough, IPHONE JUMBO) is ALSO ringing. Maybe I want to pickup the little phone and take the call there. Or, I can just tap answer and even do a VC with my caller.
The table/media device will rock the world – A…Gain, and will sell more than 1 Meeellion devices in the first year.
It will add revs to the mobile carrier chosen via bundled multi-phone contracts and DUAL SIIMMMMM 10$ a month surcharge. And, it will really drive revs to itunes, and hulu (which apple may just buy) and would allow NETFIX streaming to the device, etc.
It IS coming man, you just have to decide if you want to buy one. You don’t want your kids to be the ONLY ones on the block without the IBLET!!!
Pingback: Enter the Tablet Naysayers! | Technologizer
Well, tablets are a different experience than laptops. They’re more personal and/or direct. It’s difficult to convey, just like it’s difficult to explain why an e-ink ebook reader is better. It’s something that needs to be experienced, then you either get it or you don’t.
It helps that my tablet is dual-mode- Touch and Pen.
Personally, I use my tablet for studying Japanese – a task that would be virtually impossible for me without it.
I also use it to design projects, doing my sketches, etc in Onenote.
I also find it much easier to draw on a tablet than on a computer/wacom – something that Wacom themselves have latched on to with their Cintiq line.
I read ebooks on it when I’m too lazy to get them into my e-reader. Much more personable and enjoyable than hauling a laptop to bed for the same task.
I also like web surfing on them, but the input niggle crops up again.
Handwriting recognition has come a long way, and generally just works. Where it fails is in the integration into our applications. Often, the tip doesn’t work well with some apps, and the need for the tip itself is grating. Onenote works well because I can scribble anywhere and don’t have to worry about it.
I definitely want a tablet, if…
… Battery life, portability and usability justify the price.
I can imagine lying in the bed at night and browsing the world till I drop to sleep. Just hope it doesnt get hot and explode on my face!
subliminal traffic objective achieved!
You’ve pointed out some problems that have left some negative impressions about Tablets for some. However, as others have pointed out the industry has been adjusting. Just look at the iPhone and iPod Touch which have a lot in common with “tablets.” In fact, I think what’s going on here is that the iPhone/Touch are so successful that they are attracting more engineers, designers (even Apple’s) and consumers to explore the tablet space. Even the Kindle is showing what can be accomplished with a slate/tablet form factor.
Given all this, as well as Apple’s ability to engineer from top to bottom, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the success of a slate/tablet form factor from Apple on the grounds that it has similarities with devices from the past. The tablet has been evolving.
I’ve been having a great time watching movies on my Chinese PMP with 5″ screen (Ainol 6000HDG). Based on that experience, this tablet better have a nice adjustable stand otherwise it would be too fatiguing to position it at just the right angle. Handholding a device sucks, especially if if weight is an issue (e.g., lighter solid state over heavier units with hard drives).
I’d want a tablet that came with a detachable ultra thin (and cool looking) keyboard/touch pad/track point. Then I could think of this thing like a slim netbook that had a touch interface tossed in.
I love the last line: “But if you do figure it out, I’m buying!”
It perfectly describes my own sentiment. It’s like the tech-equivalent of the atheist/agnostic distinction. I’m a divine-tablet-agnostic.
I think you could not be more wrong.
I can’t count the number of persons who have asked “how did you do that” when I received a contract or some other legal document, signed it, printed it to pdf and sent it back signed — all while on the road.
I also comment documents, write the document with comments to a pdf and send those.
It’s just a matter of using the right software.
I own both a Sony reader and an iphone, but on planes I often find my tablet is the easiest reader for books.
At home, it is my favorite way to browse the web in the morning or when sitting relaxed somewhere.
As to the problems you list: (1) the size and weight disadvantages over laptops are not great; (2) yes, the screen needs cleaning but I wouldn’t want a messy laptop screen either; the battery life differences of the tablet input technology really are not significant; and, best of all, the form factor is actually better for tight airplane seats, since it doesn’t require enough space for the opened screen and the keyboard.
Finally, and I think this is the best part of the tablet form factor, sitting with a pen and tablet, able to doodle, draw, make random notes, mind map and otherwise, it is just a more creative form factor than a notebook. For when I don’t want something the size of a laptop, I use the Iphone, which does many of the same things, but tablets are essential when the Iphone screen is just too small.
@tivoboy funny thing is, I gave up on watching traffic well over a year ago… i just got sick and tired of reading all the articles on how tablets were taking over the freaking world.
otherwise you made good points. debate to be continued with a cohiba in hand.
Where a tablet will be helpful is in professional rather than personal situations.
If medical record digitization actually occurs, tablets are a wonderful solution for using, filling-out and submitting forms.
The only place I’ve ever seen Win tablets used is medically, and they were more cumbersome than what Apple would release, if it ever releases anything.
Tablet fanboy steps up to the plate…….
10 things a atblet can do that a notebook can’t.
1.Store my handwritten notes and then search and find any word/phrase I wrote, instantly.
2. Let me annotate on top of a photo in my own handwritting without destroying it.
3. Let me receive, annotate on any send out any word, excel or powerpoint document without having to kill a tree to do so.
4. Read ebooks in vertical orientation so I don’t need to carry an ebook reader like the kindle you drag around in addition to your notebook.
5. Scroll webpages using my finger instead of having to use a trackpad on a laptop, when surfing on the sofa.
6. Write complex mathematical equations quickly that the tablet then instantly recognises.
7. Make my own type font, based on my handwriting.
8. Mix ink, text, image and audio in Onenote during meetings.
9. In meeting, have my tablet discretely on my lap instead of having a screen in front of my face and clackin away on a keyboard instead of looking at you.
10. Playing Bejeweled with my fingers instead of a mouse.
Sorry, this is a small minded article, with little imagination and obviously little reasearch.
Now lets look at your article.
1. Tablets suck at handwriting reception. Depends on your handwriting I suppose but my tablet make less mistakes than my typing. YMMV
2.Tablets suck to carry around. My tablet weighs 2.4 lbs with 5-6 hours of battery life and is still a C2D with all the mod cons. Shocking ain’t it?
3. Tablets make you tired. – May I suggest a gym membership.
4. Tablets can’t share nicely with others. I think you need to have a look at OneNote before making silly statements like this. I’m also interested to see how a standard laptop shares better than a tablet. Even if it’s the same it means they both suck, right?
5. Tablets suck at hiding smudges. True. That’s why they are all supplied with a mirofibre cloth. It aint that big of a deal to give the screen a quick wipe now and then.
6.Tablets are bad Web browsers. Actually sitting on the sofa with a tablet is a brilliant experience compared to using a trackpad on a normal laptop.
7. Tablets are priced poorly. Yep. But so are Macs and Ferrari’s. People still buy them. You can either see the value and get extra benifit or you can’t.
8. Tablets suck at everything else. I use ink in IM. far more personal. Skype is great on a tablet. I can walk around the house and use the camera to show callers something beside my ugly mutt. And you do know that 80% of tablets do actually have a keyboard for when you need them and the rest can use an external keyboards.
The truth is that tablets can do EVERYTHING you notebook does, and then they do a few extra things. For some those extras are not worth the extra cost etc, but if you used to use a notebook a month like I did, you’re a student, or you spend your days ijn meetings taking notes the tblets definately don’t suck.
“of course you could’ve made a better argument than that, no?”
Yeah I coulda, but simple is best because it is waaaaay too early to speculate why something that AFAIK doesn’t exist yet is dommed to suck. I’m certain there are considerations here that we aren’t seeing. I do admit that making people really want something they don’t even know they want yet is gonna be tough, especially since iPhones already do so much.
Did you know that the average IQ of tablet users is 1.482 times higher than those who think that tablets suck.
You must be referring to the “slate” form of a tablet.
It should be noted that slates are targeted at vertical markets where they are typically asked to support only internal corporate applications.
As a matter of fact, in daily business use they are often restricted from doing those very things that you assert make them suck.
In line with this special purpose requirement they usually have lighter duty processors and video systems in order to extend battery life as far as possible.
It should be noted however that the slate form machines represent a small portion of the consumer tablet market.
The current consumer market for tablet is dominated by the much more capable “convertible” tablet.
These units have the tablet screen that rotates to lay flat on the keyboard.
These machines can literally do everything that a notebook can, and all of the things that only a tablet can do.
Visually and by feature list they are indistinguishable from a notebook until the user decides to go into pen format.
Those that are available with processors above 2GHz can compete with all but the most high end notebooks.
When I need to use the keyboard and mouse to create applications and do general data work the convertible has all of the required functionality.
When I need to create graphics to illustrate complex routines or schematics the pen functionality is priceless.
When I want to capture notes during field trials of the robotic systems that I help build I can scribble the notes directly into electronic form.
When I want to quietly catch up on some early morning online tasks while my beautiful bride sleeps next to me there is NOTHING that can compete with a tablet.
Tablets are not perfect of course.
As with all portable computer systems there is still a need for better battery performance and faster boot times.
All of the marketing buffoons have unilaterally decided that all current tablets should be restricted to WXGA which is a paltry 1280 x 800 resolution. Only one manufacturer recognizes a market for a form factor above 12.1”
On the retail front you are hard pressed to find any form of any tablet on display where a potential customer can actually try it out. On the off chance that you find that rare store with one on display, and even rarer chance where the pen is still with the computer, you will then find out that they are never kept in stock and can only be acquired by waiting for a shipment from the manufacturer.
With this type of marketing it is a wonder that tablets still sell at all.
Yes they have been over hyped on several occasions, as have other new technologies.
The over hype does not make the product itself suck.
It can certainly reveal how much a pundit’s opinion can suck though.
Applications will make the device great. The support for Multitouch in Windows7 as well as the improved inking and charactor recognition combined with full support for these in Silverlight3 will really change the game. I’m finally able to write a rich web application in .Net that can take advantage of tablets and multitouch.
I’m building a mapping application and the ability to use gestures to manipulate the map surface why using a pen in the other hand to annotate and query is pretty darn cool and productive, espeacially when your not tied to a desk.
I think Apple will lead the way in the consumer space showing how cumbersome being stuck infront of a box with a little virtual pointer really is.
Pingback: Are Tablets Doomed To Fail Again? | Regular Geek
Pingback: Apple's not-so-secret tablet: Flawed from the start | iGeneration | ZDNet.com
Pingback: Jerry Fahrni » If the “tablet” is dead, why is everyone talking about it?
10 years ago I presented a scenario where highway contractors in the field would use a “tablet” device to look through a plan set instead of paper copies. The tablet would be great for this environment where a physical keyboard could be unreliable.
Maybe tablets aren’t for everyone but they might be the right tool for some applications.
I agree that the pricing structure may be the largest influence and Apple typically charges a premium for their products. If other companies can make them in the $300-400 range then you’ll see some movement.
Alright Jeremy, I thought about taking a deep breath before I write this, but I’d rather not. 🙂
Tablets suck at handwriting recognition – FALSE
The handwriting recognition is excellent. I have handed tablets to doctors, consultants, lawyers and other people with notoriously bad handwriting and they have great success from the get-go. The only people who won’t have it work are those that need an assistant or spouse to translate their handwriting normally.
Tablets suck to carry around – FALSE
You must be one of those people I see at the airport balancing their laptop precariously on one hand while trying to type and operate the touchpad with the other while slowly moving your luggage through the line. I’m the guy comfortably taking notes with my pen in my own handwriting and emailing them back to the office.
Tablets make you tired – FALSE
Staying up too late bashing products that you don’t own or use makes you tired. Tablets make you happy because instead of taking notes on a yellow pad and then spending 3 hours entering the information into your computer at night you can watch reruns of Desperate Housewives and go to bed early.
Tablets can’t share nicely with others – WRONG AGAIN
Tablets run XP and Vista and Windows 7 just like any other computer. There are some programs for notetaking that other, less capable computers don’t have but you can just print to PDF with a FREE PDF converter and anyone (even you) can open them.
Tablets suck at hiding smudges – ?????
Tablets are computers, they don’t hide things. Kids and pets hide things. If you don’t want smudges, do the same thing you do for every other electronic device that can get dirty – buy a screen protector with an anti-fingerprint layer. And switch to carrots – you’ll live longer.
Tablets are bad Web browsers – FALSE
They are the same as any other computer. A tablet is just a computer, Jeremy, only really portable. Open up any computer magazine and find a picture of someone using a laptop. My favorite is the one where the person lays on the floor with their neck craned up so they can see the screen. With a tablet you can sit, stand or walk and still use it to surf the web – even read blogs from misguided pundits.
Tablets are priced poorly – WRONG AGAIN
Are Ford SuperDuty F-450s priced poorly? Try putting all your work tools, 2x4s, drywall and 3 co-workers in your Toyota Camry. Ain’t gonna happen. But you’re going to pay 3x as much for the truck. It’s all about ROI. Companies and individuals that need a TOOL TO MAKE MONEY see the value in a tablet right away. For a specific example, search for “Doster Construction case study”. There are more out there if you look.
Tablets suck at everything else – sigh
I know that the best way to get traffic to your site and provoke commentary like mine is to be controversial. Fine.
Whenever I see an article like this one I just look back at my customers over the last 60 days and realize that you are just not the person that a tablet PC is meant for. So you have a better understanding, here are some examples of REAL PEOPLE and REAL BUSINESSES using tablet PCs to make REAL MONEY:
Good Shepherd Rehab Hospital, Allentown, PA – Motion C5 slate tablets for use with their electronic medical record
Canon Business Solutions, New York, NY – Motion LE1700 slate tablet and an IT asset management application to track all their computer equipment
Sirina Protection System, New York, NY – Getac Rugged Tablets for their alarm installers to complete paperwork in the field
Piedmont Advantage Credit Union, Winston-Salem, NC – HP 2730p convertible tablets for notetaking by executives
Public Insurance Adjusters, Orlando, FL – Motion J3400 Rugged Tablet for filling out insurance forms in the field and submitting them instantly to the insurance company
Isabella Health Care Center, Mt. Pleasant, MI – Motion LE1700 slate tablet along with Practice Velocity EMR software for improving patient recordkeeping
Ray and Son Heating and Air Conditioning, Nashville, GA – Used Motion LE1600 slate tablet for completing work orders at the custom site and instantly submitting paperwork for faster billing
Indianapolis Car Exchange, Whitestown, IN – Motion F5 slate tablet for checking in autos
Central Florida Hand Specialists, Celebration, FL – Motion F5 slate tablet to allow patients in the waiting room to fill out medical history forms
There are more stories but I think these should give you an appreciation for how they fit into some businesses and organizations.
If you ever want to know more about tablet PCs and how our company sold $10M of them over the last 7 years you can give me a call at 215-441-5580 x101.
Owner/Editor, TabletPCBuzz.com (www.tabletpcbuzz.com)
Owner, Allegiance Tablet PC Experts (www.alltp.com)
Microsoft MVP for Touch and Tablet PC
Although I don’t use my stylus as much as I imagined I would, I disagree with most of your observations:
“Tablets suck at handwriting recognition” – My tablet reads my handwriting better than I do. Honestly. The key, I find is you have to use cursive writing. Printing is trickier for it b/c it’s harder to discern the word breaks which are important clues.
“Tablets suck to carry around.” – Mine (an x61) is smaller than most laptops.
“Tablets make you tired.” – I read and annotated over 10,000 pages of case studies in a wingbacked chair in a coffee shop with my tablet. I wouldn’t want to write a book with one, but it’s a great way to annotate documents.
“Tablets can’t share nicely with others.” – Any MS-Office document can be annotated with a tablet pen and those annotations will appear (and can be hidden) by anyone with MS-Office.
“Tablets suck at hiding smudges.” – Just cause you don’t see the crap on your keyboard doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact there’s more b/c you are using the pads of your fingers instead of a sytlus and the back of your hand. It’s easier clean a screen than a keyboard.
“Tablets suck at everything else” – That’s when you turn the screen and tada, it’s a regular laptop again.
“Tablets are poor web browsers” – Hey, we agree on this one. I flip mine around or dock it for serious web browsing.
You’ve been reading about how tablets are taking over everything? I’ve been reading how tablets are dead, dead, dead, snuffed by smart phones, MIDs, netbooks (not one of which has ANY, let alone sucky, handwriting recognition), and that since Apple got burned on Newton, they’ll never make one, ergo, the tablet will never, ever be a real computer.
I have no idea where my college and grad school notes are, but I have five years of meeting notes, mark-ups of documents, etc., etc., that indexed and searchable. Nobody stands scanning their handwritten meeting notes, and certainly not their post-it notes. They go into drawers or are thrown away. Mine are live, all of them, synced on to my desktop, tablet, and UMPC. If I were an Evernote fan, I’d have them on my Palm Pre and iPod Touch (inherited from my daughter).
Since you can’t even tell anymore that Toshiba, Dell, HP, and Levono still make them, I don’t see where you’re getting overwhelmed by the Tablets are Taking Over Everything meme.
I’m late to the game, but I wanted to add a few.
Name one portable computer that does handwriting recognition better! I’m drawing a blank.
As for lugability, you don’t seem to realize (or acknowledge) that tablets come in different sizes and weights. Look at the Fujitsu LifeBook P series; it has a 9″ WXGA screen, for goodness’ sake; it’s only a little bigger than a paperback book! Are you going to have more trouble carrying that around than I (5’2.5″ tall, 120-lb female) am? There have also been 10″ and 8″ tablets. They’d fit in smaller bags than the Dell Latitude E-series or anything Apple offers. My T2010 (12″ display, 4 lbs) doesn’t pull me off my motorcycle when I lean into a turn; when I’m toting my users’ E6xxs (14″ display, 8lbs) around, I feel those suckers. The tablet is so portable that I feel comfortable toting my hackin–er, a second computer around as well. No, I don’t NEED a second computer, but I like to play, and I like variety.
After too many years of too much computing, using a mouse and keyboard is very often pain-inducing. Thanks to my Tablet PC, I can use the pen to get my work done–and it does get my work done.
As for sucking as a web browser or anything else, my Fujitsu T2010 (a convertible; that means it has a keyboard, too) has very similar specs to my heavier (but admittedly thinner) 13″ MacBook: Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM (unlike my MacBook, which was ordered 16 days before the 2007 refresh GRRR, I can upgrade the Fujitsu’s memory to 4GB). I love browsing the web on my LifeBook with my pen; that’s TRUE point-and-click, not drag-the-pointer-and-click. It’s also a lot easier to keep track of “paperwork,” including the kind that needs to be signed, on my Tablet. No printing/signing/faxing for me; I just write it up and email it! I dare say no other device does THAT better.
I’ve used a tablet for since 2003, and have owned at least three of them. Don’t get me wrong, – I still like the concept and occasional functionality, but unlike most of the replies here, I have to AGREE with a lot of Jeremy Toeman’s points. Sure, a tablet is useful in some situations – vertical enterprises, form completion – heck, I use it for teaching and for reviewing e-documents. But for “every day” use as we come to expect it, there are just too many compromises. For me:
– The tablet didn’t start up fast enough for impromptu meetings or sessions – I tried to optimize Vista’s startup – what a joke;
– Standby or sleep would fail, or the screen wouldn’t appear, forcing a soft reset;
– Too bulky to carry standing up;
– Can’t use it in hostile or rugged environments, but too expensive to buy a ruggedized tablet for only occasional use;
– Digitizer drifts despite repeated calibration;
– Usually suboptimal keyboard when you want to use it as a laptop;
– Often faster to type (why bother using an e-pen then?);
– Doesn’t have the viewing flexibility of book and notepad combination – I like to see the reference and write at the same time and the tablet is small enough that I have to flip back and forth;
– Can’t sketch or write something on paper and give it to somebody (Oh… just wait an hour until I can make this into a PDF and then get to a wifi spot…) – so I have to bring a pad of paper with me anyways – what’s the point of bringing both?
– Everbody loves OneNote – I tried to love it – found it awkward. I have to create a filing system within OneNote, and then replicate the same filing structure within Windows itself. Where did I file that document? OneNote? C: drive?
– Ironically, I never cared for handwriting recognition. I’m the only one who reads what I write anyways.
The funny thing is that most of my colleagues who also bought tablets also don’t usually use them as tablets – they’re used 80% to 90% of the time as laptops. Why not just get a laptop then? Some have just given up on them. We’re all engineers and researchers, so yes, we’re comfortable with technology. In reality, the only two situations where I’ve found the tablet useful is when I teach, or if I have a fixed, long meeting in a pretty controlled environment.
The rest of the time… I use my MacBook Air (1st gen fires up and is ready to go in 1/3 to 1/2 the time of my Vista tablet) and a Moleskin or other journal pad and a pen. Go figure.
About the only point I could begin to agree with you on unfortunately is that tablets suck at hiding smudges. Because of that reason, within 3 months of buying my tablet (an Acer C204TMi convertible tablet, purchased for $1600 in 2005 I believe), I bought a screen protector for it that has a MATTE finish. I don’t have to worry about smudges, grease streaks, food particles, and other loveliness all of the screen I was trying to see through. I should mention that this particular tablet is not touch capable but just has a stylus.
I bought this tablet to be my primary computer and from the day I bought it through this day it has been. And having used it as my primary computer almost every day for the last 4 years, I’ll let you in on my opinions of a tablet: It can do EVERYTHING a laptop can AND MORE. This is the benefit of a convertible tablet. I also have a Nokia N800, which is purely touch screen and digital keyboards and don’t have a problem with that either. Yes, there’s a learning curve to various degrees, but there are learning curves on everything in life. You don’t quit driving after you take a car out for the first time because you don’t know what you’re doing.
Tablets suck at handwriting recognition.
This tablet shipped with XP Tablet PC Edition. The handwriting recognition wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t as bad as you make it sound. My ex had about a 75% recognition rate then and if that seems low, he’s the same person that, half the time, couldn’t read his own writing. The tablet PC could understand his writing better than he could. And that was on XP. Vista I have next to no issues with and the only thing that gives me a little grief there are 6s, simply because I make them backwards from the norm. The HWR is trainable though.
Tablets suck to carry around.
As many others have said, no more so than a laptop. Tucking mine under my arm isn’t a big deal because of the way it was designed. They’re designed to be held. My tablet certainly isn’t light (just over 5lbs if I recall) but it’s not unreasonable. I also have a laptop bag that I carry it in too, as I would do anyway if I had a regular laptop.
Tablets make you tired.
Not really. I understand the point you’re making but it’s not entirely true. Yes, tablets require more movement (though one pen stroke vs. 5 touch pad swipes is less movement overall) for the most part but that movement is more NATURAL. It’s really hard to explain without being experienced but everything just feels more natural. Like using a pen and notebook to write notes down or hold a book (maybe a bigger book but less awkward than a heavy hard cover book), it just feels better overall. Maybe you’re using more muscles in the end, but it doesn’t feel as forced.
Tablets can’t share nicely with others.
Tablets can share and exchange files exactly the same way as a regular laptop. Every handwriting application has some way to export the file in a way that another computer (tablet or otherwise) can read. Plus, they can handle every other file that any laptop can. They’re still computers if you’re talking about a typical tablet PC, not a MID or e-book reader.
Tablets suck at hiding smudges.
See comment above. This was fixed with a $20 matte screen protector that has been on my tablet for the last 4 years. I’ve had 0 problems with it since then.
Tablets are bad Web browsers.
They have exactly the same web browsers that a laptop has so they can’t be worse than any laptop web browser. That being said, in my experience, I have found them to be BETTER web browsers than laptops. I can slide my screen down to slate mode and rotate the screen to portrait (I have it set to do it automatically so it does this when the screen goes down) and I can use the pen to navigate any website I want in a NATURAL way. The great thing about this is that with the pen (or finger), you don’t need as much elbow room as you do with a touch pad or trackball so you can sit more relaxed and in less space. This is similar to what someone else said about sitting in coach while flying, and also similar to riding in the backseat of a coupe with two other people on each side of you. You don’t need elbow room at all. It’s absolutely wonderful to browse like this. The same applies to my internet tablet from Nokia, except that’s using either my finger or a stylus. Same great experience though. This feature WINS over laptops.
Tablets are priced poorly.
In 2005, I paid $1600 for my tablet and it came with an extra battery as well. Was this more than other laptops with similar or better specs? Of course, about twice as much actually. I knew this going in though because, looking at the actual specs aside, the form factor is worth the price. The ease of browsing, the natural interaction, and the benefits of a tablet PC while keeping all of the functions of a standard laptop. I got as much as I would have gotten on a laptop and MORE, so yes, it costs more. The benefits were worth the price for me.
Tablets suck at everything else.
Far from true. Again, this is my primary computer. I do all of my college work on it, I browse the internet, I work often in the full Adobe suite with the pressure sensitivity features of the Wacom penabled sylus (exactly like owning a graphics tablet without the extra piece of hardware), AND I game on this machine as well. I have yet to run into a situation where my tablet didn’t do something that a regular laptop could. Quite the opposite, in fact. My tablet PC has been able to do quite a bit that a regular laptop can’t do and has made my PC experience more enjoyable and easier because of it. Tablet PCs aren’t just viable in niche markets. Pretty much anyone can find a benefit.
I have to agree with the handwriting recognition argument. It usually sucks, even for languages as simple as those using the roman alphabet. Come back in 50 years for Japanese.
Tablets are the ants pants!
I got mine, because I hate having to sit at a desk just to do some work. Now I can work, surf and read – in bed, on the couch, walking around, standing up, or sitting under a tree.
Sure the input is a little slower than a keyboard, but for me the creative process is greatly aided by pen and ink programs like Inkseine, rather than a keyboard and mouse that require a desk and make it impossible to sketch out my ideas.
As for tablets taking over, I wish! They’d be a lot cheaper! 🙂
Pingback: A history of the elusive Apple tablet, in links | Tech Sanity Check | TechRepublic.com
Pingback: LIVEdigitally » Blog Archive » If tablets suck, why did I order an iPad?
Pingback: LIVEdigitally » Blog Archive » The Handy Android Fanboy Detector