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Please help me understand today's tablet craze?!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 22, 2013 8:12 AM PST

Please help me understand today's tablet craze?!

I don't understand about the mobile tablets. I have used and
programmed computers for over 30 years. I have always told everyone
that laptops are so mobile. Now, everyone has gone nuts about
tablets. Why???? There is little storage. The keyboard screen is
pathetic. A tablet has no screen protection unless you buy a case.
Don't get me wrong, I use touch screen phones but typing on a
physical board is sooo much faster. Now, I was told that using a
tablet with a printer can be very difficult. What is going on? I
thought that maybe the cost is the key. Now there is an Apple iPad
that costs $1000. Great laptops cost less! Please help me understand
this craze, is this a fad? Your thoughts are appreciated.

--Submitted by: John C.
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I bought a Kindle Fire to see
by wpgwpg / February 22, 2013 8:57 AM PST

Like you I wanted to see why folks were so excited about tablets, so I bought a Kindle Fire a year ago. The tablets have two advantages over laptops. They're much more portable (because they're smaller and lighter), and battery life is much greater. So I can see why folks who're constantly traveling might prefer them. On the other hand I greatly prefer my laptop for most things because I don't travel much, and the traveling I do is 99% of the time in my car to some place I can get to in under an hour. If I had to lug the laptop around in airports, I might have a different perspective, but since I haven't been on a plane in 18 years, that's not a concern for me. If I'm going to a doctor or dentist, I often take the Kindle, but that's about the only time I use it. I'm inclined to think a lot of folks who're in love with the tablets use them primarily for game playing.

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Tablets killed the Netbook
by Chigal48 / March 1, 2013 10:02 PM PST

I have a netbook and it is MY TABLET! It's handy and mobile. It holds 250Gig HD, enough for me. I use it in my schoolwork. I also have a phone with camera, video, etc. etc. Too bad the tablet killed the netbook which was just as good a product.

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I agree about the netbook
by Chigal48 / May 22, 2014 6:59 PM PDT

Like you, my Netbook is reliable and it's lightweight. I use it when I travel maybe 2 X's a year, to check email and internet stuff. I can slip it in my purse. but -- when I'm on the internet, it is sooooo slow. I'm debating whether to get a Chromebook, laptop or keep the netbook.

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glad this is being discussed
by Chigal48 / May 22, 2014 6:57 PM PDT

I travel maybe 2 X's a year - on vacations. I take my Asus netbook (O/S Win 7, 2 gb ram), but I find whenever I take it out to use, it is sooooo slow. I've done everything AV - wise to keep it clean of viruses and malware, but it's just excruciating to use it. I don't have desktop programs (like Microsoft), so I'm mainly on the internet looking at news, reading email. With Windows installed, I'm always in maintenance mode (AV, malware, emptying recycle bins).

Because this netbook is making me crazy, I'm looking at tablets. I'm like the OP, I just don't get it. And there are soooo many tablets and way too many operating systems.

Now I'm looking at the Chrome book. Mind you, this is just for travel and to access the internet.

What do you guys think of Chromebooks?

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Why Tablets?
by melanfred / February 22, 2013 9:10 AM PST

We use computers for two purposes.: 1 to work and create content 2-to view and consume content. There is no doubt that a desktop with a 25 in. Screen and full keyboard/ mouse is the best way to work and create content, but to read or view photos or videos a tablet is nearly ideal. I have never read for pleasure using a desktop/laptop but I do read on my tablet. A tablet is ideal to share photos with friends passing it around as we used to pass a physical album. Two taks, two tools nothing more.

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Please help me understand today's tablet craze?
by peppersmum / February 22, 2013 9:13 AM PST

I got my tablet because it is an HP Touchpad and I got it for $99 and it works fine for what I use it for. I like to put it my purse when I am out and about because it is easier to read e-mails, web pages, Facebook etc. than on my smart phone. I had a net book but it was too bulky to lug around and a tablet solved that problem. I would love to get a 7 inch tablet one of these days.

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It's recent. It's a gadget.
by 4Denise / February 22, 2013 9:16 AM PST

The reality is that tablets are more portable. I have a friend who bought one because lugging her laptop around was really proving to be a problem. Beyond that, it's the latest "must have" gadget. It proves that you have more money than sense. Why else would people flock to buy what is, after all, a specialty item that has limited capabilities. If a person is (for example) a student who needs to carry computing power with him or her then a tablet makes sense. For most of us, it would just be another gadget to show off. The only reason I considered getting one is because I would be able to read all of my textbooks in bed, instead of just the ones on my Kindle (a Kindle is a bona fide e-reader, tablets are not). I decided that it wasn't worth the money. I can read my textbooks on my desktop just fine. It won't matter in another semester anyway. I'm graduating.

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Tablet not an E-reader?
by Anysia / March 1, 2013 8:27 AM PST

You do realized that your 'bona fide' Kindle is a tablet, right?

But the ONLY bona fide e-reader? Really? Does that mean that the Kindle app doesn't exist? Or Lumiread? or other e-readers? I got my android tablet specifically for E-reading as I can adjust the font size so I don't have to squint, for astronomy, and to preview photographs while on site. I also use it for road trips, as the Google maps tend to be more accurate than the cars' GPS, as G-maps are updated more often. More money than sense?

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the Kindle is not a tablet
by 4Denise / March 1, 2013 8:52 AM PST

The Kindle is an e-reader. You are confusing the Kindle with the Kindle Fire. They are not the same thing. The Kindle is an e-reader.

Tablets are not e-readers. I don't know why people haven't got enough sense to understand the difference. I can read on my desktop as well, but that does not make it an e-reader. E-readers are devices that are for reading ONLY. They are designed for one thing only. Tablets do not qualify.

I have seen a lot of people buy tablets, and only one who bought one for actual use. Yes, many people are more concerned about having the latest gadget sitting in the corner gathering dust than they are about spending their money wisely. I still say if it does not meet a need then skip it.

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I think I understand the problem
by Beauregard6 / March 1, 2013 9:46 AM PST

Hi, Denise. I think I understand what's going on. I think your social network, your group of friends I should say, are the type who actually DO "keep up with the jones's" as the saying goes. Maybe in your circle of reference, your female friends are buying tablets with pretty covers to look cool. This seems to be your complaint.

The reality is, that for the people like, lets use my daughter and son-in-law as examples. Once the kids are in bed, they are on their phones, checking social media, posting photos they've taken of their kids that day to fb, checking twitter accounts. My son-in-law as I mentioned, is a photographer. For a hobby - he owns a company that makes video games for work. (they only make SIMS games.)He is quite bright and very very successful. He plans on getting a tablet for work. There are so many things he can use it for, it's portability, taking sketches/ideas to Sony or Microsoft, both of which they have contracts with. But any professional can use it in their way; an atty, a physician can bring up an xray. We belong to a church that carries our scriptures, and they go on a tablet, snap! The uses are unlimited. Just as the smaller iPod Touch. But who wants to work that small? On TV the show Criminal Minds, shows each agent with the info on a case already uploaded to their tablets before they go into conference. I imagine this is reality.

If you don't need one, I agree don't get one. But they aren't a fad, except among your friends.

No offense intended whatsoever.


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As they are today...
by 4Denise / March 1, 2013 11:49 AM PST

They are a fad. If you use it, great. Many people do not. In fact, I hear more complaints than anything else. I said it numerous times: if it doesn't meet a need, skip it. That statement also implies (rather strongly) if it does meet a need then it's up to you if you want to spend the money. It simply does not meet a need for most people.

A fad is something that suddenly becomes popular, but is not likely to remain popular forever. In the tech world, almost everything that people buy in large numbers winds up being a fad. I am justified in calling tablets a fad based on the history of high tech gadgets. They will only be popular until something more popular comes along. We can almost bank on it. That makes them a fad, by definition.

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by janitorman / March 1, 2013 2:10 PM PST
In reply to: As they are today...

They're not useful, they're a luxury most people in the world cannot afford, as are computers. They're MORE affordable, at least at the under $100 range, than a notebook, laptop, or tower, but still, they are a luxury the world cannot afford.
They do not raise crops, make clothing, create shelter, nor butcher meat, which are things that we NEED.
What we NEED, was useful 2000 years ago in a hunter gatherer society, which we need to return to. Anything else, including civilization, is a luxury we can ill afford and do not need.
Now if there were just some way to get rid of 99% of the world's population so we'd have enough caves to go around, I'd be happy.

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How about
by anthony f wood / March 2, 2013 9:08 AM PST
In reply to: Agree

we get rid of those who want the rest of us gone. You , Sir are preaching genocide for which there are penalties for, even in the USA!

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Maybe you don't need them - but other might disagree
by B1nmidm0 / June 2, 2013 5:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Agree

With no disrespect regarding your opinion, I think the reason you think it's a fad is because "you're" the one who hasn't found a purpose in them yet. The reason I and large sectors of the market disagree with you is because we've learned there are real purposes and functionality in tablet computers. Call them another form of the morning newspaper. Another way of making a phone call except with video calls they're even better. Another way of checking the TV so you'll know what the weather is except this time you'll have up to the moment info since you can check the radar for yourself. Tablets are also the access point for the world largest library that gives us information about anything and everything including ground moisture (for growing your crops), latest statistics about which proteins are the preferred choice and even how to build the most cost efficient home. A tablets portability and long battery life make this a super convenient device for doing all the above and more - it's just you need to figure out how it can enhance your life. Meanwhile the rest of the world is just like you as we plant our gardens and fix our house gutters. Luxuries are just that and I'd totally agree it's a goodie we can live without. Of course my question is why should I so long as I can afford it? That's why I go out and earn money in the first place. For those buying excessive luxuries on credit cards they'll never actually pay off I say, "shame, shame, shame." Then there's people just as fiscally responsible as you who live within their means and decide which little perk in life they'd enjoy most. We don't order pizza out once a week, but with that money we saved we can easily afford an IPad 4.

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It's not a fad
by B1nmidm0 / March 1, 2013 10:40 PM PST
In reply to: As they are today...

Tablets come in different shapes and with different capabilities. For those who forgo pizza delivery twice a week, owning an IPad 4 is very affordable. It's all about HOW you want to spend your hard earned cash. IPad's or any other tablet is not about replacing the way we compute, it's about increasing our enjoyment by doing more with whatever device meets your situation at the time. As far as who are complaining, maybe its just a lack of understanding their limitations and how to best utilize these wonderful additions. This same debate could be had for why some people own a Mac Air and a MacBook. We've got all the above but we cut other corners so we can enjoy everything tech has to offer. Tablets are here to stay but they are NOT a replacement for desktops or laptops. Why can't just be happy we've got more ways to enjoy CNET?

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Are you sure?
by bkowulich / March 2, 2013 12:55 AM PST
In reply to: As they are today...

You seem to know a lot of people to make a bold statement that it is a fad. I really think it is up to individuals to make up their minds. I have a Kindle and a tablet. I use the tablet for videos, e-mail, and
internet. I have the bigger tablet and it is right for me. I get tired of sitting at my computer and would rather be in my easy chair. I'm retired.

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by Hforman / March 2, 2013 1:47 PM PST
In reply to: Are you sure?

There is a big difference between a fad and a passing fad. Something that is a fad could be around for a long time.

What it all boils down to is individual preference with constraints. What constraints? It is a question of what you want to use it for. It is really that simple. People who are very mobile find them very useful. People who sit at a desk all day and type and click on a lot of things seem to prefer desktops. I'm getting a new desktop at work next week. Not a tablet; not a notebook. (The security people at work have noticed that a lot of portable equipment seems to disappear in comparison to desktops. They also don't have the security protocols in place to deal with critical personally-identifiable data (government data on individuals) being mobile yet.

So, the answer is: if you can find a use for a tablet without too many downsides for what you want to do, go for it.

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Sadly (I fear), I have to disagree with you, Denise...
by JeffAHayes / March 8, 2013 3:33 AM PST
In reply to: As they are today...

Like you, I have NO USE for a tablet -- at least not at present. But "Moore's Law" will push them to ever greater capacities and economies of scale, and more folks will continue to find them a convenient preference to desktops and even laptops, possibly to the point that almost all computing will be on tablets of some sort within less than a decade.

Frankly, I'm not a fan of that thought. Better notebooks and laptops have already almost eliminated the desktop market, and improvements in tablets could very well push notebooks and laptops in the same direction. As for me, my sole notebook is now several years old, and even at 17" and high resolution with a numeric keypad is still too small to suit me. I use it only when I have to. In fact, the 24" monitor I'm using with my current desktop, which I had to build, myself, for economic reasons, is feeling too small -- especially for photo editing.

But MOST folks prefer convenience over quality and capability, and I see no end to this trend. And as tablets move to higher capacities (and we all know they will), and some become available in larger sizes (and we all know they will), the "regular" computer market will change, perhaps dwindle and even die (or at least become something only for those with high-end needs).

Mark my words. It's only a matter of time.
Jeff Hayes

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Readers and tablets
by deedeest111 / March 1, 2013 12:51 PM PST

To be a good reader it has to be a tablet, if no more than to reload books, that's for your dummy look. I live in a small town, that last year was the first city school system in our state to go to e-books instead of paper. Your question came up. Ereaders were cheaper than tablets, however with a tablet the teachers and students can go online ask tutorial questions, join in discussions on school topics and activities. The thing I am trying to say is just buy a tablet, not a book, you will regret saving $20.00. That's about the difference today. What ever you decide you'll own one in two years, cause it'll have you desk top PC out powered and collecting dust. You'll come in home plug your Phablet into it's dock and watch tv, go online, shop, anything, believe me it's coming faster than you think. You won't have a wallet either.

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by 2dogday / March 1, 2013 3:10 PM PST

Just to let you know, the new Kindles do let you go online, and are now very much like a tablet. They still let you adjust the size of words and read like a Kindle, but you can add more apps to them, now. I don't own one, but read an Amazon ad just this week describing the Kindle's new features. Sounds pretty good to me, though the price is probably higher.

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difference in tablet and e-reader
by jadtubaman / March 5, 2013 1:57 AM PST

To add the biggest difference to a tablet and an e-reader is the screen. A tablet uses a capacitive screen, which is capable of touch. An e-reader usually uses a screen with e-ink, which is superior to capacitive screens as far as reading in my opinion. Why? Because they absorb light rather then reflect it. Go to the beach? Sit by the pool? Sunny day at the park? The sun will only glare on a tablet, and does not make for good reading. The e-reader however you can have the sun shining on it, and it actually makes it easier to read! If that's all you are doing, it's great! Plus, if reading books is all you want to do, then it won't be so bad if you break/ loose it at the beach/pool/park.

On the other hand, I do find having a tablet nice. I am waiting on my car, and was able to check my email and find this thread while I waited. I would have hated having a laptop just to read and surf, just to bulky. Not to mention trying to hold it or balance it on my legs (and feeling the burn from it getting hot). Couldn't read this on a simple e-reader either. All in all, I have multiple devices to use for different occasions. I also never buy the latest and greatest as it's too expensive. So, fad? Not at all. Times are changing. People's needs are also. Learning how they may be of use to you can be beneficial. It's not for everyone.

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I don't agree with you, but only time will tell......
by carlos_a11 / March 1, 2013 9:09 AM PST

Hello Denise,

I really think you're mistaken about the tablet being just a "gadget to showoff", it must be true for some people, for the kind of people that buy anything to showoff.

You remind me of my aunt when the first Macs and Windows computers came out, she described them as being for "lazy people" who didn't want to use the keyboard, I never thought that, immediately I saw a device (like most people did) that could allow you to do so much more than with just the keyboard.

The tablets have taken off and they're starting to outsell computers, they're not ready to replace them but my guess is their UI is here to stay, only time will tell......

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Why is everyone so upset that I pointed out the truth?
by 4Denise / March 1, 2013 11:57 AM PST

I knew that computers were destined to become household items as soon as they came out, but nobody would ever argue that a VIC 20 was anything but a gadget.

As far as showing off, I don't know of anyone who buys the latest and greatest (and I'm talking about from the poorest to the richest here) who doesn't immediately show it off. I know of very few who are still using said technology on a daily basis 6 months after they have bought it. Even I have been guilty of this, and I think my purchases through for a minimum of several months before I buy anything costing over about $50.

Yes, tablets have taken off. That makes them popular. They are still gadgets, by any definition, and they are a fad. When they grow up, then we'll talk.

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Denise, I'm with you
by Chigal48 / March 1, 2013 10:05 PM PST

I predict that the Netbook will make a resurgence, once the Tablet craze has worn off. The netbook is portable, you can put it in your purse (I do). The only thing missing is you can't take pictures with it and record video like a smart phone and Ipad.
But it works just as well as a laptop. I have one and I won't let it go. I use it when I travel to conferences and have classes.

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I use my tablet every day
by dbp329 / March 1, 2013 11:32 PM PST

I use my tablet in the morning to listen to chapters read out loud using a Bible application. We sometimes listen to Pandora while we are getting ready for work. I then check the weather to what we should wear. While I am making my son's lunch I watch Fox news.
I use my tablet for work when I am calling on customers. I have downloaded all the quotes and price sheets on my tablet so I can follow up with my customers on the quotes that I have sent to them. I have catalogs loaded on my tablet, so I do not have to lug around a lot of catalogs.
I check my email while out calling on customers when I go to lunch.I was able to send a copy of a quote that I did to the owner of our company right then instead of hours later when I returned to the office.
When I get home I use my tablet to read news feeds from a number of sources so I get a better picture of what is going on in the world. I use my tablet to practice playing my guitar, learn how to take better photos find read articles I am interested in. When we go to church we have our Bible loaded on our tablets. I have Bible app's with many translation so I can get a better understanding of what I read.
I could go on but I hope you get my point. Tablets are just a tool people choose to use to be more productive, learn a new skill, read or watch a tv show or movie,etc. I do not think tablets are a fad, I think they are a new means to and old goal, man kinds search for meaning, knowledge and entertainment.
Thanks for your comments and I hope you have a blessed year.

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No one is upset
by mrslimpy / March 4, 2013 7:17 AM PST


If they are a fad, they are a fad like desktop and laptop computers. You can't go into a courtroom, a doctor's office or a hospital without seeing them being used. Unfortunately, you exposed your lack of worldly experience with the "I am graduating soon" comments...

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Six month window?
by B1nmidm0 / June 1, 2013 11:50 PM PDT

If someone goes out and blows $300 - $800 on a tech device but then finds it six months later in the bottom drawer being "totally" unused, I'd call that a great example of not being very responsible with your money. Buying a new pair of shoes is one thing but buying tech that costs hundreds is quite another. I've found quite the opposite. The first three months is just about learning how to use the device and how it fits in my life. The second three months is how I fold and fit the new piece of technology into my daily routine. From there on it's just wonderful as I've figured out my life would be empty without whatever new gadget I got but that I'd now be lost without. Perhaps I do enjoy my Apple logo a little bit more than I should when I'm having coffee at the local shop, but I don't get these things because of ego. I get them because I enjoy using tech that makes my life MORE productive.

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Household Items?
by Hforman / June 2, 2013 11:21 AM PDT

No you are not correct on that one. When computers first came out, they cost millions of dollars and filled a room. Oh, you meant the PC? Still wrong. When they first came out, very few places and very few people had them. Why? There was hardly anything to run on them. No email. No web. Nothing. Even after the Internet was out, most people didn't know what it was or have the knowledge or the money to get on it. It was only after the world wide web (WWW) did there becorme an interest in PCs. It wasn't just the WWW but also the ISP and the browsers and then the way to easily use email where you would have someone to right to.

It was a long time (relatively speaking) before the PC became popular enough to drive the price down.

As for tablets, I don't know where they are going but until someone deals with what happens when one is lost or stolen and it has personally identifiable information on companies' clients, then we will see what happens.

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Not just a fad or gadget.
by mingdragon / March 1, 2013 11:11 AM PST

Ever watch shows like NCIS or CSI? Tablets are an extension of the main computer systems, desktops, servers, smartphones, e-readers and laptops. Information data like PDFs, photos, streaming video and camera shots are easily picked up an viewed on the tablet (ultra portablity). For the military they offer instant personal contact from drone feeds, recon and target solutions. Restaurants can use them as not only instant menus but also for placing orders. Schools can use them for text books, multimedia devices and WiFi broadcast lectures. They can be used in vehicles and remote locations to watch streamed movies or TV. Medical offices can use them for patient records, histories, diagnostic help, test results and ordering prescriptions. Law enforcement can use them for real-time search of finger prints, arrest records, driver license searches and criminal identification. Any streamed data from WiFi networks, 3G/4G telecommunications, etc. can be received and relayed via a small very portable screen. PCs and laptops are used for serious work where fast processor speed, massive storage and oodles of RAM function best. The real question is whether smartphones are a fad gadget with limited future.

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What has this got to do with everyday people?
by 4Denise / March 1, 2013 11:58 AM PST

I never said that tablets didn't have uses. I said that they aren't useful for most people. Once again: if it doesn't meet a need it is a waste of money.

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