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Old 05-09-2011, 07:07 PM   #1
dpodblood
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Default Why do people buy tablets?

Let me preface this by saying I think tablets a cool gadgets, and I myself have considered getting a tablet, whether it be an iPad, Galaxy tab, or a Chinese knock off, but when I really think about it; why do people buy tablets to begin with?

People complain about a lot of things when it comes to tablets. A lot of things which would be solved by simply buying a netbook or low cost laptop.

1) Storage

People are always complaining about the lack of storage in tablets. Usually 16GB for an entry model, or you can pay considerably more for a 32/64GB model or a tablet with expandable memory such as the Xoom. If you get a netbook/laptop you will be getting a 160GB drive minimum, and if you don't like the thought of a mechanical drive you can simply throw in an SSD.

2) File formats

People are always complaining device x doesn't support format y. With a laptop you don't have to worry about such things. Just install the community codec pack, or VLC player and you can play any format you want without any need to convert or transcode.

3) Keyboards

Seems like the ability to have a dockable keyboard, or bluetooth keyboard on tablets these days is a big deal. This leads me to believe that touch screen keyboard simply aren't as good. If this is such a big selling point why not just get a laptop? The keyboard is built right in. No need to dock or pair with bluetooth. Not to mention a laptop will sit upright on it's own. No need to buy a stand to get your device to stand upright.

4) Apps

People are always touting "but iOS has this or that app" or "android has a great app for that." People act as if applications are a new thing, when in fact there would be no point to having a computer in the first place. A PC can run a plethora of applications whether you choose Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. And many have free alternatives to expensive paid products, such as Open Office instead of MS Office. So why do we need a tablet when there are tons of full fledged application already out there, and with more features than what can be found on any tablet application.

5) Games

Ok. So there may not be a ton of great games coming out for low power platforms like netbooks, but who cares? There are already tons of great games out there from years gone by which *can* run on these low power platforms. Just take a look at "good old games." There are tons of classic games out there that can run on low cost laptops which are so much better than the shovelware being released on android and iOS. I'd much rather play NFS High Stakes or Midtown Madness than whatever tilt screen racing garbage they have on android/ios/wp7. Not to mention emulators are really available for PC as well, and are much easier to control with a keyboard or USB controller than they are with a touchscreen.

6) Flash

"But can it play flash?" People are always asking if this tablet or that tablet can run flash. Who cares? Any PC less than a decade old can run flash. If flash is really that important why not just get a real computer instead of a tablet?

7) Price

With the iPad 1 starting off > $400 and the xoom even more than that what is the justification for buying a tablet really? When a netbook can be had for $300 or less, and with a fully fledged operating system is capable of so much more than any tablet on the market today.

These are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head that would make be pick up a netbook over a tablet anyday. I'm not trying to bash on tablets. Like I said I think they are neat gadgets, but at the end of the day, I just don't see how you can justify the cost when a "real computer" can be had for less and do more. It seems like tablets are fillinh a market which apple created rather than filling a void, or niche which already existed. Maybe someone in this thread will help me see the light :p.

Anyway just my 2 cents...
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:13 PM   #2
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I didn't buy a tablet to use it like a mini computer, I bought one to use it like a tablet. Once you get past that hurdle, maybe you can view tablets with a more open mind.

What can a tablet do that a PC can't?
Be used as a touch screen device, power on instantly, last 12+ hours on a single charge, and weigh <1.5 pounds

And "being used as a touch screen device" opens up a million doors that cannot be handled with a PC

Quote:
3) Keyboards

Seems like the ability to have a dockable keyboard, or bluetooth keyboard on tablets these days is a big deal. This leads me to believe that touch screen keyboard simply aren't as good. If this is such a big selling point why not just get a laptop? The keyboard is built right in. No need to dock or pair with bluetooth. Not to mention a laptop will sit upright on it's own. No need to buy a stand to get your device to stand upright.
No option to remove keyboard when you don't need one. And you don't need a physical KB to whore ATOT while sitting on the shitter.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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I haven't turned on my netbook in over a month. My smartphone, iPad, and Apple TV replaced it. I use my desktop if I need to use a computer.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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I have lawnchairs.
Who's bringing the beer?
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ns1 View Post
I didn't buy a tablet to use it like a mini computer, I bought one to use it like a tablet. Once you get past that hurdle, maybe you can view tablets with a more open mind.

That's what I'm aiming for with this thread.

What can a tablet do that a PC can't?
Be used as a touch screen device, power on instantly, last 12+ hours on a single charge, and weigh <1.5 pounds

And "being used as a touch screen device" opens up a million doors that cannot be handled with a PC

Decent 9-cell batteries can last upwards of 9 hours. Maybe not quite as good as a tablet, but still pretty nice.

No option to remove keyboard when you don't need one. And you don't need a physical KB to whore ATOT while sitting on the shitter.
Good point. I did think of that, but for my personal situation there isn't much need for removing the keyboard. Maybe if I wanted to use the device as an e-reader that would be useful, but in that case I would rather have a dedicated e-reader device such as the kindle. The price of a netbook + e-reader is about equal to the price of an iPad.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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Good point. I did think of that, but for my personal situation there isn't much need for removing the keyboard. Maybe if I wanted to use the device as an e-reader that would be useful, but in that case I would rather have a dedicated e-reader device such as the kindle. The price of a netbook + e-reader is about equal to the price of an iPad.
so in the end you have a "real" computer, a netbook (which is a pissant version of a computer), and an e-reader to meet the needs of a "real" computer and a tablet.

logmein ignition + tablet = win


BTW my tablet isn't used as an e-reader, it's used as an "everything except for shit I need a REAL computer for" device.


iPad meets 75% of my needs or so, hoping Transformer can kick that up to 85-90%. Finally, I realize tablets are not for everyone. I made it work for me, based on my usage, and it's been great.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:55 PM   #7
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I have lawnchairs.
Who's bringing the beer?
Got it. What'd I miss?
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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I got one mainly for:

-Bad ass battery life (I can watch movies and play games for 10 hours ish, without turning down brightness or anything)
-Portability for work and independent studies (long battery life = no charger = less weight) Plus the charger is tiny anyways.
-Simplicity of always being on and instantly on.
-Touch screen is GREAT for PDFs. I carry around 200 page project drawings as PDF in my iPad. I have ALL of my drawings with me at all times now and synced to drop box which my laptop/computer is synced to. I can mark up drawings in the field with no computer using a stylus and it gets updated at all my computers all at once. That in itself is worth it.
-I love having it in bed, bathroom, kitchen (recipes), living room.

Like someone else said. I made it work for me for the tasks that don't require powering on my behemoth of a computer. I program android and PLC logic on my desktop and play my hardcore games. The ipad fills in the gap for everything else.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:12 PM   #9
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I got one mainly for:

-Bad ass battery life (I can watch movies and play games for 10 hours ish, without turning down brightness or anything)
-Portability for work and independent studies (long battery life = no charger = less weight) Plus the charger is tiny anyways.
-Simplicity of always being on and instantly on.
-Touch screen is GREAT for PDFs. I carry around 200 page project drawings as PDF in my iPad. I have ALL of my drawings with me at all times now and synced to drop box which my laptop/computer is synced to. I can mark up drawings in the field with no computer using a stylus and it gets updated at all my computers all at once. That in itself is worth it.
-I love having it in bed, bathroom, kitchen (recipes), living room.

Like someone else said. I made it work for me for the tasks that don't require powering on my behemoth of a computer. I program android and PLC logic on my desktop and play my hardcore games. The ipad fills in the gap for everything else.
Options are always good, not everyone needs them. For instance, 3D flat screens. The iPad just happened to fill in for some of my needs (and does it very very well).

edit:
I don't know why I quoted myself....fail
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:36 PM   #10
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It doesn't burn my belly and take up space while surfing in bed. Open browser and search for stuff quickly without boot, etc. Nef while there are commercials. Great for fantasy baseball/football.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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Tablets are for casual use. I'd love a tablet. I don't own a laptop so I'd love a tablet for lounging around the house. Even with a laptop a tablet is great so you don't have to lug a larger laptop around. Repeat, it's for casual use.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:18 PM   #12
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1) Storage

What are you planning on storing on your tablet that you think you need more than 64 GB? That's enough storage to cram it full of enough books, music, and videos to keep me busy for a while and with plenty of different streaming applications, I need not even put anything on it. Large amounts of storage seem even less necessary given that a lot of things tend to be moving more towards cloud storage.

2) File formats

I have VLC for my iPad and I'm pretty sure that it's available for Android so that covers all the video formats, although I'd still recommend converting to get better battery life. I've also been able to open Word and Excel files on my iPad as well. I'm not sure what kind of files I would expect to get that a tablet can't handle.

3) Keyboards

A tablet can optionally use a physical keyboard. A notebook is stuck with one, whether you need it or not. I don't have either a keyboard dock or a bluetooth keyboard and haven't felt the need to get one. For as little typing as I do, the onscreen keyboard is fine.

4) Apps

There's nothing to stop anyone from porting PC applications to tablets. If a person can do word processing on a tablet it means there's one less reason to bring a notebook, especially if they don't expect that they'll need to do much or any word processing.

5) Games

Some of the most popular tablet games are not possible to play on a PC, just like some traditional PC games aren't really playable on a tablet. Some people may prefer the types of games that work best on a touchscreen.

6) Flash

It'll only run flash well if it's a Windows PC and even then older or low-powered machines will struggle just as much as a tablet. Also, the number of cases where a person absolutely needs Flash are decreasing over time. It's largely been replaced by apps.

7) Price

Not everyone wants a netbook and companies like ASUS are starting to drive the price of tablets down. Tablets like the Nook Color can already be had at lower prices than a netbook and provide similar functionality with greater portability.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:50 PM   #13
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I was travelling a lot last year - and by a lot, I mean literally months of staying in hotels, airports, and train stations. I have a laptop but I bought an iPad and then a Bluetooth keyboard to use because I thought that I could replace my laptop with the iPad. After a month of trying, I can say that - for me - it's not an either/or thing. There are things that I do with a tablet, and there are things that I do with a laptop and I could not completely replace one with the other.

So in my mind, you need to:
a. have enough money that blowing ~$500 on a gizmo that you don't need doesn't bother you, and
b. you need a "real" computer as well.

Beyond this, I agree with the comments above.
I love the instant power-on and the 12+ hours of battery life. I charge it once every couple of weeks.

I love the portability of it. I use it as a newspaper on mornings and sit at the table, drink my coffee and read on my tablet. I don't ever remember bring my laptop to the kitchen table. I read it on the couch at night - I rarely did this either with my laptop.

I love that my kids can't easily erase everything on it or really do any real damage at all to the OS (as opposed to, say, giving my 6 year old my laptop and finding all the icons gone because she thought it was fun to move them all into the recycling bin.

I love that my kids more or less know how to use it right away. There's none of this "Daddy, the movie closed... make it go again".

I love that games and apps for it are ~$1 each or are free. Not that there's not free stuff on the PC, but buying 5-6 kids games for a long car ride for $5 would be really hard to do with a laptop.

I love that I don't have to take it out of my briefcase in an airport. No one has ever asked me to take it out. A couple of times the X-ray security guys say "is that an iPad?" and I say "yes" and they say "ok then".

I like that it's easy to plug into a TV to watch movies on when I'm travelling.

But if I have to edit a lot of photos, or I need to send a long email, or I need to do anything that approaches work, then I need a "real" computer, and I have found that I really can't substitute a tablet - even with a keyboard - for a real computer because it's too hard to reach up and touch the screen to move the cursor around. I don't like typing long reports on it. I don't like doing much else other than watch movies, play games, surf the web, read books and entertain the kids with it. But that actually means that I tend to use it a lot... arguably more than I use my real computer.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:08 PM   #14
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Let me preface this by saying I think tablets a cool gadgets, and I myself have considered getting a tablet, whether it be an iPad, Galaxy tab, or a Chinese knock off, but when I really think about it; why do people buy tablets to begin with?


1) Storage

Have you heard of this thing called the internet? With software like DropBox I have little need for local storage.

2) File formats

I really don't care about formats, and I can convert most to format that works with my device if I have to.

3) Keyboards

OMG, you have to buy a stand???? Seriously, you're not going to buy a tablet because you need a stand? Hell, twist up a coathanger for a cheap stand or buy a cover that makes itself into a stand.

I don't know anyone writing the great American novel on a tablet, if you really want to, get a BT keyboard and have at it. I also don't know anyone writhing a massive paper or a novel on a netbook with their cheap ass cramped keyboards.

4) Apps

Google Docs or the free versions of Quick Office etc, and besides, software for a PC runs near $50-$200 for a given bit of software, there's tons of free apps, and the retail apps are pretty good, iOS in particular right now, and Android apps are getting nearly as good. And most are less a lot less than $5

5) Games

Play a touchscreen game and get back to me, there's a ton of them for Android and iOS devices, in fact, Apple is doing a killer business selling games for the iPhone, iPod and ipad

6) Flash

Christ man, keep up with things, the Flash argument is dead, Adobe caved, Google it and learn something instead of spouting off the same old argument.

7) Price

Have you used a netbook lately? They're god awful slow, Intel's specs for Atom based machines are terrible. Sure, netbooks work, but barely, and they're dog ass slow. If money is tight, buy a netbook, if not, get a tablet. Hell, tablets are a luxury, not a necessity.


Quote:
Anyway just my 2 cents..
Ok, we read your reasons, are you happy?

We're enjoying our tablets daily, and you're using a netbook I see pre teens use here in LA. Maybe you can get that netbook in lavender or pink.

I look forward to your next post about why people buy quilted toilet paper versus single layer toilet paper

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Old 05-09-2011, 10:18 PM   #15
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I bought one to fiddle with around the house and to take to places where a notebook would look ridiculous, which is almost everywhere except home.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:20 PM   #16
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Tablets are for casual use. I'd love a tablet. I don't own a laptop so I'd love a tablet for lounging around the house. Even with a laptop a tablet is great so you don't have to lug a larger laptop around. Repeat, it's for casual use.
This. Was laying on the couch with my gf earlier. She was watching some sappy movie on Lifetime on the tv, I was watching a live baseball game with mlb.tv on my Transformer.

Felt a deuce coming on. Simply got up, walked upstairs and handled my business while continuing to watch my game.

I've never liked using laptops without sitting at a table with a mouse plugged in. Just feel so awkward using one in bed or on the couch.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:58 AM   #17
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My laptop is fairly decent and it's under 5 pounds but when I load it & all the things I carry with it into a shoulder bag it's a PITA to carry around all day. My new Asus Transformer sits neatly tucked into a bag that less than half the size, I can pull my tablet out anywhere and be instantly powered on and working. The docking option allows for heavier duty work.

When you're toting crap around all day a lighter option just wins IMHO.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:07 AM   #18
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1) Storage

What are you planning on storing on your tablet that you think you need more than 64 GB? That's enough storage to cram it full of enough books, music, and videos to keep me busy for a while and with plenty of different streaming applications, I need not even put anything on it. Large amounts of storage seem even less necessary given that a lot of things tend to be moving more towards cloud storage.

Music, movies, and photos. They take up a lot of space. Hell I have 160GB of music alone on my desktop machine. I can tell you even with a 64GB tablet I would run out of space quickly.

2) File formats

I have VLC for my iPad and I'm pretty sure that it's available for Android so that covers all the video formats, although I'd still recommend converting to get better battery life. I've also been able to open Word and Excel files on my iPad as well. I'm not sure what kind of files I would expect to get that a tablet can't handle.

Last I heard Apple pulled VLC from the app store because of piracy concerns, and unless it has changed recently Android does not have VLC player either.

3) Keyboards

A tablet can optionally use a physical keyboard. A notebook is stuck with one, whether you need it or not. I don't have either a keyboard dock or a bluetooth keyboard and haven't felt the need to get one. For as little typing as I do, the onscreen keyboard is fine.

Fair point.

4) Apps

There's nothing to stop anyone from porting PC applications to tablets. If a person can do word processing on a tablet it means there's one less reason to bring a notebook, especially if they don't expect that they'll need to do much or any word processing.

I can't imagine word processing with a touch screen keyboard would be a very good experience. And any office type application for a tablet is never going to be as flexible or feature rich as a desktop suite like Open Office, or MS Office.

5) Games

Some of the most popular tablet games are not possible to play on a PC, just like some traditional PC games aren't really playable on a tablet. Some people may prefer the types of games that work best on a touchscreen.

I've played plenty of touch screen games, and they are rudimentary at best. Even old NES, SNES, and DOS games have more depth, and better controls than any recent touch screen game.

6) Flash

It'll only run flash well if it's a Windows PC and even then older or low-powered machines will struggle just as much as a tablet. Also, the number of cases where a person absolutely needs Flash are decreasing over time. It's largely been replaced by apps.

I've never had a problem running flash on my netbook even though its an older 1.6Ghz single core atom.

7) Price

Not everyone wants a netbook and companies like ASUS are starting to drive the price of tablets down. Tablets like the Nook Color can already be had at lower prices than a netbook and provide similar functionality with greater portability.

Maybe when the prices are more comparable, ~$300 for an entry level machine tablets will be more attractive to me.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:15 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Pliablemoose View Post
1) Storage

Have you heard of this thing called the internet? With software like DropBox I have little need for local storage.

Good luck watching movies or listening to music from drop box. I still have plenty of need for plenty of need for local storage. Not to mention an internet connection is not always available on a mobile device, unless of course you want to pay for a 3G connection. No thanks.

2) File formats

I really don't care about formats, and I can convert most to format that works with my device if I have to.

You don't care about file formats? Great; but there are still plenty of people who do. And converting from this to that format is a waste of time.

3) Keyboards

OMG, you have to buy a stand???? Seriously, you're not going to buy a tablet because you need a stand? Hell, twist up a coathanger for a cheap stand or buy a cover that makes itself into a stand.

I don't know anyone writing the great American novel on a tablet, if you really want to, get a BT keyboard and have at it. I also don't know anyone writhing a massive paper or a novel on a netbook with their cheap ass cramped keyboards.

I would rather type with a "cheap ass cramped keyboard" than a touchscreen keyboard any day of the week.

4) Apps

Google Docs or the free versions of Quick Office etc, and besides, software for a PC runs near $50-$200 for a given bit of software, there's tons of free apps, and the retail apps are pretty good, iOS in particular right now, and Android apps are getting nearly as good. And most are less a lot less than $5

There are free alternatives to almost every piece of PC software.

5) Games

Play a touchscreen game and get back to me, there's a ton of them for Android and iOS devices, in fact, Apple is doing a killer business selling games for the iPhone, iPod and ipad

Covered that. Just personal preference, but I like old games/emulators better than throwaway touch screen games.

6) Flash

Christ man, keep up with things, the Flash argument is dead, Adobe caved, Google it and learn something instead of spouting off the same old argument.

Flash is dead? Than why do manufacturers keep trying to shoehorn it into their devices even when it runs like crap? And why is there demand for apps like the dolphin browser made specifically because the lack of flash on mobile devices.

7) Price

Have you used a netbook lately? They're god awful slow, Intel's specs for Atom based machines are terrible. Sure, netbooks work, but barely, and they're dog ass slow. If money is tight, buy a netbook, if not, get a tablet. Hell, tablets are a luxury, not a necessity.

Dog ass slow may be a bit of a stretch. Sure they may not be as fast as a desktop machine, but they aren't as bad as you're saying. And at least I can run MSN and a web browser at the same time.


Ok, we read your reasons, are you happy?

We're enjoying our tablets daily, and you're using a netbook I see pre teens use here in LA. Maybe you can get that netbook in lavender or pink.

I look forward to your next post about why people buy quilted toilet paper versus single layer toilet paper
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:35 AM   #20
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I used to think like you about tablets.

What changed it all was just putting aside my thoughts on it and using an iPad for a month with a open mind.

Once I got past the thought of "it's just a big itouch" also and realized it's different because of the screen size and the apps that are made to use that size I was hooked.

That was just borrowing a work iPad 1 for a month.

Then the iPad 2 came out and I bought it day one. 32GB wifi only.

I have no regrets. For those minor times that I want my tablet to act like a laptop, there's almost always a solution. I usually just use Logmein to connect to a PC/Mac and do what I need. But with all the streaming solutions out there and iTunes Home Sharing. Even the capacity argument isn't really a factor.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:46 AM   #21
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I used to think like you about tablets.

What changed it all was just putting aside my thoughts on it and using an iPad for a month with a open mind.

Once I got past the thought of "it's just a big itouch" also and realized it's different because of the screen size and the apps that are made to use that size I was hooked.

That was just borrowing a work iPad 1 for a month.

Then the iPad 2 came out and I bought it day one. 32GB wifi only.

I have no regrets. For those minor times that I want my tablet to act like a laptop, there's almost always a solution. I usually just use Logmein to connect to a PC/Mac and do what I need. But with all the streaming solutions out there and iTunes Home Sharing. Even the capacity argument isn't really a factor.
It would be really great to have to opportunity to play with a tablet for a month or so. It's hard to justify throwing down ~$400-$500 for a tablet when I don't even know if I'd like it. Right now I have a desktop, a netbook, and a smart phone which seems to cover my needs.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:05 AM   #22
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If I were to use automobiles as an analogy, I'd say this...

Ordinary cars/sedans = netbooks
Semis = Desktop PC
Big trucks = Mid- and high-end laptops
Hybrid car = tablet

Ordinary cars, semis, and big trucks have been around, relatively, forever. Economies-of-scale have conspired to create highly mature and reliable products. Hybrids, however, are very new. They haven't been around long enough to both mature and get cheaper.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:14 AM   #23
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dpodblood, which smartphone do you have?
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:18 AM   #24
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dpodblood, which smartphone do you have?
HTC HD7. Why do you ask?
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:22 AM   #25
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HTC HD7. Why do you ask?
Because your smartphone is essentially a mini tablet.
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