Do you ever notice that it doesn’t take long for all of the cool consumer gadgets to quickly migrate into the business world? Smartphones, once marketed to gizmo junkies, are now standard issue to most company employees requiring mobile computing. They are as necessary as online business administration degrees. As of late, we’ve seen an atom-bomb-explosion of tablet devices flooding the market, and many manufacturers are betting the ranch that these slates are the wave of future computing as we know it, not just for the consumer but for big business as well.
So what about these super-slim, keyboardless media slabs? Are they apt enough to replace the PC in this modern corporate world? The short answer is….”possibly”. But I wouldn’t bank on tablets completely replacing the PC very soon. Today’s tablets are great for media applications, portability, gaming, general web browsing and a few office applications, but the extent of their ability to run powerful cloud business applications is limited. At the moment, tablet business prowess is defined to a few industry-specific uses.
“Tablets are evolving into more powerful devices as we speak, but there capabilities right now are still reserved more for the home consumer, and we haven’t seen any real serious initiatives from big corporations to adopt the tablet as a business device….yet,” says Mike Morgan, founder of The Media Group, Inc., a Tennessee based IT research group. ”Having said that, there is a lot of opportunity here. Very soon, these devices will be as powerful as today’s PC, thanks to smaller and faster components, and we should see big business coming around to the convenience and mobility of the tablet.”
There are some key advantages and some elemental differences between the tablet and the PC. Tablets use lightweight, lower consumption operating systems, which allow them to boot up quickly and run longer on a single charge. Secondly, the touch-screen, which most all tablets possess, has completely changed the way we input and retrieve data. This touching, pinching and gesturing allow much greater control over the use of data. And finally, today’s tablets are treated more like companions to PCs. In other words, they don’t do everything a PC can do, but if someone needs to stay connected when out of the office, tablets are a great fit. Real estate agents, insurance adjusters, health care professionals and general sales forces love the tablet for these reasons. But for the hard-core office worker, tablets come up a tad short.
With the popularity of the tablet devices in the last year, however, PC manufacturers are beginning to rethink the design of the computer. This year, PC sales worldwide rose a little over 2%, while tablets have gained a whopping 112% in units sold, according to the Media Group, Inc. Nearly 50 million tablet devices have been sold worldwide, and this number is expected to grow to as much as 100 million within a year. Tablets are obviously crushing the demand for PCs, which is why computer companies are taking big-time notice of the tablet trend.
A strategy that PC manufactures have been adopting to combat PC extinction is the development of devices which incorporate the features of both PCs and tablet devices. Microsoft is presently working on a version of Windows that would be able to run on lighter processors, which means that in the near future, we should be able to see laptops developed on the structural lines of tablet PCs. In short, with the widespread success of the tablet, certain changes in the structural patterns of conventional computers are inevitable because users prefer lighter devices with longer battery life. This will not only change the landscape of the PC market, but will completely overhaul our idea of the personal computer.