Tag Archives: tablet

Tablets vs Laptops: Which Is Better?

Tablet vs Laptop

If you are in the market for a new computer, you may be considering a tablet PC over a traditional laptop. Many tech analysts predicted that tablets would phase out netbooks and that seems to be the case. A bigger question now is, would it kill off laptops? As an owner of a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop computer, this is a legitimate scenario. What are the roles of these devices, where do tablets fit in, and which is better? To better aswer these questions, lets go though the basics of these 2 and their pros and cons.

Filling the gap

Most people already have a smartphone in their pockets. With all major carriers pushing them over the past 10 years, its almost rare to find someone with a dumb phone. Even prepaid carriers like Virgin Mobile offer smartphones at an affordable price. Smartphones are filling the communications gap not just with calling, but with email and social networking. You can do a lot with a smartphone but the primary role is still communications whether its call or text messages.

PlayBook and Torch

Desktop PCs have been the workhorse for consumers and professionals since the invention of the personal computer. That title isnt likely to change any time soon. A desktop computer can do nearly everything you can imagine from editing videos, browsing the web, or simply chatting with friends. A desktop is best suited for graphic designers, musicians, or gamers. Theres one disadvantage of desktops that will likely remain. Portability. While you have production power with a desktop, you cant take it with you on the road. Laptops and tablets fill this gap but which is best?


Are laptops dying?

Laptops solved this problem by offering portability without sacrificing much power. Over the years, laptops evolved and specialized into different niches from gaming laptops, ultraportables, to the very small netbook. For the average consumer, a laptop could fulfill about 95% of their needs. Some of the best laptops on the market areВ advertised as desktop replacements. Laptops can connect to most hardware devices from all-in-one printers, portable hard drives, PMP(Portable Music Players), smartphones, and third-party peripherals such as keyboards/mice.

Pros: Portable yet still relatively powerful. Cheap. Price has drop considerably. Hardware keyboard. Full desktop OS. Connectivity
Cons: Not portable enough to take everywhere. Heat.


Tablet PCs are newcomers to the game but theyve proven over the years that they are not just a fad. These touchscreen computers have been criticized for being no more than oversized smartphones yet theyve proven to be capable consumer devices that are more portable than laptops, and in some cases, more practical. An unavoidable example is Apple and the iPad.


All play and no work?

New iPadThe iPad is more portable than a laptop and can be used to consume media easier as well. There have been internal reports from Apple that the iPad is cannibalizing their laptops(macbooks). This points us to a trend that most consumers are more aimed at consuming media rather than being productive. The iPad has gone through 3 generations(so far) and has shown staying power. Other tablets(Android and RIM) have entered the market to claim their piece of the pie. I use my tablet to listen to internet radio, read magazines, books, and do quick web browsing. All of which seems easier compared toВ a laptop while taking up less space. One inherent flaw of tablets is the proprietary nature. They dont have to be compatible with all printers, keyboards/mice, etc like their laptop rivals. This initial flaw looks like it will be phased out with time as newer printers and accessories adopt standard technologies like WiFi printing and Bluetooth 4.

Pros: More portable than laptops. Great for consuming media. Easier to pick up and use.
Cons: No hardware keyboard. Poor for production work. Hardware connectivity.


Needs and preferences

One of the biggest factor in determining which is better is recognizing your needs. Do you need a tablet or a laptop? Do you already have a Desktop? If so, then a laptop wouldnt be a good choice. A tablet would be a better choice that fills a larger gap. In that scenario, a laptop would just be a less powerful, slightly more portable desktop replacement. The next question you should ask yourself is what do you plan to use it for? If you just want a new gadget and dont critically need it, then a tablet is the likely choice. On the other hand, if you were starting university and had a choice between a laptop or a tablet, get a laptop without question. That would fit your needs better.


Another factor is portability. When you are out, do you find yourself hunting for a computer? Is your smartphone not cutting it for extending web browsing? Laptops revolutionized computing because they offered mobility. Tablets take it a step further. Laptops, although portable, are still too big. Tablets take up the same footprint as a textbook and are relatively lighter in comparison. Now, trendy hipsters can pretend to do work in coffee shops instead of being cooped up in homes. I kid. рџ?›


If you are debating between a laptop and a tablet, considerВ portability. If you find yourself in need to do quick tasks like checking your bank account online or just killing time, then a tablet would be a better choice. If you find yourself trying to edit office documents or doing more critical tasks on the go, then a laptop would be a better choice.


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If you look at the size of these devices, there seems to be a correlation between size and function. The smaller touchscreen devices tend to be more popular for media consumption and leisure gaming while the larger laptops and desktops are more geared towards work, production, and serious gaming. This doesnt equal causation but its interesting to point out.


The Winner?

So which is better? A tablet or a laptop? The final answer is, it depends. For pure capability and power, a tablet cannot match aВ laptop. Theres just no comparison. A laptop with a true desktop OS can do more than a tablet which is highly dependant on apps. For most consumers, this isnt a major issue. Most people spend their computing time browsing the web, not editing images/video. The trend for a more capable mobile PC is growing and the tablet does a noble job fulfilling this role. Though not nearly as capable as laptops(yet), tablets definitely wins in terms of portability. The touchscreen interface not only adds novelty to the experience, but it also opens the door to some interesting and refreshing UI changes. Some professionals are critical of tablets calling them toys and distractions. Is the tablet craze a result of marketing or is it a practical tool in todays tech world? Personally, I have to agree with the critics. You can use tablets for work but every time I see someone using them, 99% of the time, theyre using it to consume media or playing games. Not saying thats a bad thing, it just doesnt seem useful. I already own a desktop and I love my tablet. If I didnt have a main computer, I wouldnt buy a tablet. Id probably opt for a laptop instead. Most people do own a main computer so buying a tablet as a supplementary device may make sense but to say that theyre better than laptops is a stretch. Are they portable? Yes. Are they powerful? Yes. Are they useful? Productive? Meh. But it has a touchscreen and thats cool right?!


It will be interesting to see how tablets evolve. As it stands, tablets are luxury electronics and laptops are tools. When technology became status symbols, keeping up with the Joneses means spending half a grand on an electronic slate that runs Angry Birds. Theyll sell regardless.


Are Netbooks Dying?

Dead Netbook

Around late 2007, a new computer entered the consumer market by appealing to users who wanted something in between their smart phones and laptops. Filling the gap, theВ NetbookВ was born. The main purpose of the Netbook? Its a computer that can browse the Internet, type documents, and still be portable. Most netbooks are powered by Intels underwhelming Atom CPUs which improved longevity. Besides their small form factor and long battery life, netbooks continued to penetrate the market with their attractive pricing. Most can be bought for about $300 and even giant retailers like Wal-Mart and Target started selling them. They also worked great on Linux and I even bought one! Whats not to like? They were portable, В affordable, В and cool. Today, theres a general consensus thatВ the Netbook is dead or dying. Can this be true? Lets take a look at the signs.


The mainstream do not like Netbooks. Netbooks are looked at as cheap, underpowered laptops. The mainstream values power over longevity. This is probably why people drool over the latest 1-2Ghz smart phones but battery life is a second thought. The same can be said about computers. If you think about it, marketing power is easy. This laptop is the fastest on the market sounds much more appealing than This netbook lasts twice as long as that fast laptop. Power is easy to market and trying to sell an underpowered laptop is difficult to say the least. Another reason the mainstream dont like Netbooks is their build quality. Netbooks are affordable. The side-effects of affordability is a reduction inВ quality. In order to keep their prices down, luxuries like a metal body must be replaced with plastic. One can argue that you are getting a good value, but try convincing that to a culture that is infatuated with expensive iProducts.


MSRP Buy I mean Best Buy

I was in the market for a netbook last year and Best Buy had tons of them for sale. Unfortunately, they all had the N450 single-core processors. I spoke to one of the staff and asked him if they were getting the dual-core N550 soon. He told me perhaps they are clearing out the N450 netbooks before they stock in the new one. Flash forward a year later and Best Buy still has these crappy N450 Atom netbooks on their shelves! Im glad I didnt wait. I ordered my AsusВ EeePC off Amazon and put that sucker to work. If I am in the market for another netbook, my money will probably go to Amazon again. Why? Because the retail industry suck. Why, after a year, does Best Buy still have netbooks that are years out-dated? I mean, this is not a flea market. This is supposed to be an electronics retailer. Electronics go out of date the day they hit the store shelf. Lets get some new models already!

I think a few things might be going on. They could be liquidating the ones they have in stock. That makes some sense. If netbooks are dying, why order new units? Why not just get rid of the ones you have? On the other hand, if you are trying to sell a bunch of new tablets, why promote a competing product? Out with the old, in with the new, right? Maybe retailers dont have much faith in netbooks anymore? Maybe they ARE dying? One thing is clear, if netbooks are not dying, the retail industry is not helping.

The Tablet Experience

Many analysts predicted that the tablet market will eventually kill off netbooks. People needed a product to fill in the gap between their phones and their laptops. Netbooks and tablets did just that. Although netbooks had a head start in the market, tablets continue to fill the shelves of electronics retailers gaining massive popularity. Another interesting thing about tablets is their demographic. Both tablets and netbooks aim at similar markets but tablets are more geared towards consumers. A netbooks main strength is the physical keyboard and full operation system. Tablet OS are less featured and generally dependant on app quality. App design and quality varies on most tablet OS and they havent had as much time to mature compared with traditional desktop OS. Tablets seem to have a disadvantage, right? They dont have keyboards. Their OS is not geared for production. And yet they are still more popular. This leads me to believe that most people are looking to buy tablets for another purpose; consuming media. And that is probably why the netbook is dying. The gap between smart phones and laptops is more fit for consumers than producers. Producers would rather use a laptop or a desktop to edit images and video over a netbook. The only real production work you can do on a netbook without hiccups is word processing. With tablets, you can browse the web, listen to music, view photos, watch videos, and play games easily. You cant really edit videos or images effectively on tablets but consuming media fulfill the needs of most people. Perhaps in the future, they will be powerful enough to handle production tasks.

In the meantime, the relatively new experience of using gestures and a touchscreen as a main input method is fun and intuitive. This tablet experience makes it easy for anyone to pick one up and use without being well versed with computers. Maybe the market is asking for a new way to use the computer.


The Future of Netbooks?

Do I think netbooks are dying? Yes, sort of. Netbooks are becoming less popular in the mainstream but there is still a demand for them. Students who want a computer are still more likely to buy a netbook over a tablet because of their physical hardware keyboard. Netbooks are becoming a bit stale. Theres nothing about netbooks that really impresses consumers. They dont offer anything new. Sure they are smaller and slowly getting more powerful. Anything else? The tablet experience is fresh and while some people thought it was a passing fad, they are still going strong. The fact that netbooks are small and affordable means they can be transported easier by student and purchased in bulk by school districts. Aside from the education sector, netbooks in the consumer market only seem to attract a small niche. Unfortunately, unless something drastic happens, like a huge bump in processing power, I continue to see interest in netbooks decline. As someone who is a part of this niche, this makes me sad. What do you thing? Are netbooks dying?

RIM Prepares To Take On The iPad 2: The Breakdown

iPad2 BlackBerry PlayBook

Apples iPad line is setting a fierce pace in the tablet market. Its doing so well, iPad may soon be considered a brandnomer to tablets much like Kleenex is to tissue. In a market dominated by Apple, does RIM have a chance? Set to launch on April 19th, The BlackBerry PlayBook is RIMs first tablet PC. It will have to play catchup to the highly hyped iPad 2. What exactly does the PlayBook bring to the table? How does it fare against the iPad 2? With all the buzz surrounding any iProduct, is there any room for the PlayBook? Why, yes. Yes there is. Lets look at the breakdown comparison.




While people have their preferences, its hard to deny the popularity of the iPad 2. Eventually, this market will diversify enough where it would be unfair to compare them. But considering tablets are fairly new consumer electronics, comparing size is justified. RIM is advertising the 7-inch PlayBook as The worlds first professional-grade tablet. In comparison, the magical iPad 2 is 10-inches diagnally. The jury is still out on whether 7 is any good for a tablet. Some people say 10 is good since you have more screen real-estate while others say its too big to be portable. The physical footprint isnt the only factor that is considered in the size issue. Weight is also important. The PlayBook weighs in at 0.9 lbs while the heavier iPad 2 tips the scale at 1.33 lbs. The iPad 2 is a larger device and is better suited for home use while the smaller and lighter PlayBook is ideal for travel. For pure portability, the PlayBook is the clear winner but for screen real-estate, the iPad 2 wins.




The iPad 2 offers a few options as far as wireless connectivity. You can purchase a WiFi only version or one with WiFi + 3G. The iPad 2 supports the WiFi b/g/n standard and is available for AT&T and Verizon in the US. At launch, the PlayBook will only be available as a WiFi only tablet. Sprint has announced they will release a PlayBook with Clearwire 4G support in the future. Other carriers will likely pick up the PlayBook in their respective 4G technology. So far, the iPad 2 offers more options to connect to the internet but the PlayBook will offer this in a faster 4G standard in the future.




Android App Count

As of this post, Apple advertises Over 65,000 apps for iPad plus nearly all of the 350,000+ iOS apps found on the iPod Touchs and iPhones can be used on the iPad 2 as well. The PlayBook however has an anemic 120 apps officially in BlackBerry App world however more are being developed each day. Since the PlayBooks OS (QNX) is a completely different platform than BlackBerry OS5 and OS6, developers have to build applications from scratch. There is some good news for the PlayBook. RIM announced that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps through an app player which is basically an emulator. Optimization may be an issue since Android apps is not native to QNX but this news comes with great joy for those waiting on the PlayBook. According to AndroLib, theres over 310,000 apps and games in the Android market. This doesnt mean all these apps will be available for the PlayBook. Android developers will have to submit their work to BlackBerry App World and have it accepted. The iPad 2 is leader in the number of apps, this recent move by RIM to accept Android developers my be the ace card they need to compete.



Power And Platform

iPad 2Personally, I think its pointless to compare specs of 2 different platforms but lets go over them. The iPad 2 has a 1 GHz dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM. In comparison, the PlayBook also has a dual-core 1GHz processor but 1 GB of RAM. Apples iPad 2 runs on iOS and RIMs PlayBook runs on QNX. While most people are familiar with iOS, not many people know about QNX. QNX is a Unix-like OS that was founded in 1982 and the platform has been used in many applications including running cars to running Canadian nuclear power plants. QNX is new to the consumer market but its enterprise resume is impressive to say the least. RIM announced their purchased QNX on April 9th, 2010. iOS is also a Unix-like OS. iOS is famous for popularizing multi-touch gestures on their iPhones and iPod Touches. Apple iOS users have been wanting Adobe support for years and the two cant seem to work together for whatever reasons. Adobe has been working with RIM and providing support for the PlayBook. This means Flash 10.1 support out of the box as well as Adobe Air support. RIM also touts that the PlayBook will have true multitasking, taking a shot at Apple. Since multitasking on iOS is limited, RIM is quick to show off the PlayBooks multitasking abilities on many demos. With flash being a big part of the web, Adobe Air, and Android app emulation, and multi-tasking, the PlayBook may inch ahead of the iPad 2 in terms of platform features. On the other hand, iOS is a solid and proven OS while the consumer QNX is still new.



How Much?

The price of the WiFi only models on both the iPad 2 and PlayBook are identical. $499 for 16 GB $599 for 32 GB and $699 for 64 GB models. The only difference is the iPad 2 offers in WiFi + 3G models for an additional $130.



Who Will Buy An iPad 2/PlayBook?

The first part of that question is easy. Everyone. If youve been following the news, sales of the iPad 2 is through the roof topping 1 million units sold during the launch weekend. Sales have been so good, Best Buy is temporarily restricting iPad 2 units due to shortage. Its probably safe to say that RIMs PlayBook wont break any record since the Apple branding is so strong. Basically, consumers are buying iPads and the PlayBook is aiming at the second place position. That doesnt mean it will flop. Using its security reputation, RIM is aiming to target the enterprise market with some medical apps. These apps, backed with proper security, might entice the medical industry to tap into their deep pockets.


PlayBook HospitalPlayBook Medical Application







The Breakdown

Apples iPad is quickly becoming a generic trademark for tablets. It is massively popular and the PlayBook is far behind. Being popular doesnt alway mean better. Just look at Internet Explorer or Windows (for all the Apple fans reading this). On that note, is there any room for the PlayBook or any other tablet? Sure. Having choices is always a good thing. The only way for the quality and cost of tablets to go down is an increase in competition and supply. Im just as eager as the next guy to pick up a tablet. The question now? which one is the best bang for my buck?