Fifteen years back, the laptop became my indispensable tool for business. It used to travel with me to meetings in town and conferences out of town. Over the years, I switched between desktop replacements to ultra-portables and from Microsoft Windows to Mac OS X. Then came the mobile phone which eventually turned into a Smartphone and over-shadowed the laptop as the single device that would stay with me most of the time.
I’ve been playing with a lot of tablets lately- they certainly seem to be the rage, trying to position themselves somewhere between the Smartphones and the laptops but not necessarily built to replace either one. If was to carry just one device- it would, without doubt, be the Smartphone. It allows me to make or receive calls, create or reply my emails and messages- and do a bit of social networking. And when I’m done using it, it comfortably slips into my pocket.
If I had to pick a second device to carry with me, eight times out of ten, it would be the laptop and not the tablet- especially when you have ultra portables like the MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9. These devices are thin enough to carry without burdening your shoulders and fast enough to start almost immediately from standby with their SSDs along with being powerful enough to encode videos for your website.
The two times that I would pick the tablet is when I know the task I am going for is extremely specific that the Tablet is capable of- such as showing a PDF or presentation to a client in a cafe or live tweeting from an event. Although a laptop can easily handle the presentation and my smartphone can tweet, the tablet is more convenient for both such tasks because of its size and interface.
Tablets will get better for content creators. And possibly replace the laptop- especially with devices like the ASUS Transformer. They’re not just there yet.