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8/26/2010
00:02 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Tablets Are Popular But Won't Replace Laptops

Apple didn't make the first tablet, not by a long shot, but they did make the first tablet that took the consumer market by storm with the iPad. Not even a year out of the gate though and companies are already looking beyond that first model. AT&T, the only seller of the 3G iPad in the US, has laid out plans to add more tablets to its wireless offerings.

Apple didn't make the first tablet, not by a long shot, but they did make the first tablet that took the consumer market by storm with the iPad. Not even a year out of the gate though and companies are already looking beyond that first model. AT&T, the only seller of the 3G iPad in the US, has laid out plans to add more tablets to its wireless offerings.According to Bloomberg, AT&T is planning to offer a wide range of tablets in the coming years to cost between $300 and $1,000, plus the data plan of course. AT&T is thinking a $1,000 tablet would take the place of a full blown laptop. While tablets may be able to computationally match what a some computer can do, I don't think it can take the place of one though, at least not for everything. The laptop form factor isn't going away anytime soon and when it comes to raw power or massive storage space, you cannot beat a desktop.

Apple seems to have confirmed this noting that Mac sales aren't being harmed by the iPad. While there may be some people that can get by with just an iPad or similar tablet device, these are likely the type of people that didn't use their PC for anything beyond email and web browsing, or possibly by people that didn't have a PC to begin with.

Use the right tool for the right job. Tablets, like smartphones, netbooks, notebooks and desktops all have their use, and the lines between them can be a bit blurry but the lines do exist.

You have to give AT&T credit though for trying this tact. They already sell phones and the service that goes with them. If they can convince consumers that a tablet is the only other device they will need, they will have them roped in on multiple data plans per user.

I think tablets will be more of a lower end device for light duty. The real risk may be for netbooks, which has dominated that lower end computing device for the past few years. You may be able to buy a decent desktop and a tablet for the same price as a good laptop, and for many that makes sense, but that would be for light mobile use only. When it comes to using advanced features of Microsoft Office, any sort of graphics package or video editing while on the go, a real laptop will be heard to beat.

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