The current year is most likely going to be the year of the tablet computer. By all accounts Apple has sold a million iPad 2s and we will see several new tablets running Google’s Android operating system as well as HP’s TouchPad running webOS. Tablets have only joined the realm of popular gadgets in the last year, and there are still some who ask, what is the purpose of a tablet?
I’ve had my iPad pretty much since it first shipped, and here is how I have come to think about it. A tablet is more portable than a notebook computer, though not as portable as a smartphone, and it has great battery life. Because I can carry it with me nearly everywhere, and it has a larger screen than a smartphone, I can use it to perform powerful computing tasks in places where I might not otherwise perform them.
Every morning I start my day by reviewing my calendar, checking my email, checking Facebook and Twitter during breakfast. I used to do all those things during breakfast with my smartphone, but the larger screen means that I can do those things faster, simply because I can see more information at one time. During the day I may read a book that I have on my iPad and I might have bought that book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, it doesn’t matter because both bookstores have apps for the iPad.
I attend a study group at my church and easily switch between my Bible using Olive Tree’s BibleReader app and the book that we are studying that I am reading using Barnes and Noble’s nook app, and I write notes using Evernote, or one of the inking apps like Penultimate or Noteshelf. If I need to edit a document created with either Google Docs or Microsoft Office, I start up DocumentsToGo. To take a break and relax I might play Angry Birds, watch a TV program using the ABC Player, check in on what the Cubs are doing with the MLB At Bat app, or as is the case right now, check how my picks are doing in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.
I can do all of these things throught the day with my iPad because it’s portable enough for me to carry everywhere and the battery life is good enough that the iPad is always available. I could do all of these things using a personal computer, but I could not do those things at the breakfast table or at a restaurant with a PC. If powerful, portable computing is something that you think will be useful to you, and you haven’t already bought a tablet, I recommend that you consider buying one.