Rethinking the tablet

Story by Zack Katz, Staff Writer

I’ve never quite understood the use of a tablet. They’re what many would consider a hybrid between a laptop and a smartphone, but also a combination of all the inconvenient qualities.  What place does this device companies have forced upon us have in the future?

It’s hard to rationalize a solid use for the tablet other than its appealing design. For example, is there any reason you would leave your house with a tablet before your phone or computer? We have created an awkward, inefficient middle ground with this device.

Companies such as Apple and Android dominate the tablet market, so there is no question as to why they sell. These tech giants are insisting on selling the pseudo-conveniences in the tablet, but as the smartphone and laptop advance, the tablet just feels like it doesn’t have a place.

We define the tablet as a media device -— a hub for information, entertainment and learning.  The problem is, we’re not paying for anything we don’t already have access to. I feel as if Apple and Android, among others, are forcing an unnecessary product upon the masses for revenue purposes.

So, do we see the tablet finding a place for itself any time soon? Despite all the shortcomings in pushing a third platform, I think the device’s simple, touch-screen format will make its way into our homes in the form of personal computers, just as it has for our smartphones.

Instead of stagnating as a third option, I see the tablet eventually replacing our desktop computers at home.  Just as we have incorporated a touch screen in our cell phones, I believe the computer is beginning to travel in a more practical direction.

Recently, Sony has introduced the idea of a tabletop computer in the form of a giant tablet.  Although companies have toyed around with this concept before, this Windows 8-compatible VAIO tablet PC seems like the most successful attempt yet.

Sony’s tablet PC is a 20-inch, 11-pound machine. It’s becoming clear that their goal is to bridge the gap between the huge screen we would see in a tablet and a portable computer.

Are there benefits to this design? I don’t know that it would be taken seriously initially.  Although a tablet PC seems like something that wouldn’t be readily accepted, I’m sure we could come up with enough downsides in our desktops to make it seem like a practical option.

For one, desktops are generally tied down to a single room.  With a wireless option, the PC would become portable.  Obviously, we’ve already accomplished portability with the laptop, but I feel like the open design Sony’s product offers evokes some family aspects. With features such as a 10-finger touch screen and family calendar apps, it’s easy to see this device replacing a bulky desktop in our homes.

Maybe the most important part of this change in the home computer is that it involves children by incorporating an inviting touch screen face. Tablet PCs would be successful, I think, because what was once tied to a single room and a limited number of people now becomes universal.