back to article Tablets are the future of the PC, says researcher

Ask Frank Gillett, a researcher with market watcher Forrester, whether tablets are going to dominate how people interact with content and the internet - what most folk do with laptops and such - and the answer is a resounding 'yes'. He reckons that "tablets will become the preferred, primary device for millions of people around …

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Meh

And bell bottomed trousers are the future of pants ... er trousers. So are flying cars in every driveway, Microsoft's BOB and Apple's Pippin. And electricity from nuclear power plants will be "too cheap to meter".

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Re: Meh

Indeed.

Because when I'm busy writing letters and fiddling with spreadsheets what would really help is to be able to maul the screen around.

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Alien

Re: Meh

I take it you sell PC's or desktops...

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What this report really tells us

Is that most people ask don't actually do any work on their PC/Laptop.

I like my (or as I keep reminding her, my wife's) tablet, it great for lots of things. But most bits of real work need more, most especially they need a keyboard.

I wonder how long before we see the news filled with stories of RSI or other complaints again with people working on tablets.

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Re: What this report really tells us

Actually cynicism aside, that's not what the report tells us at all - it says many people use their computer for consuming (not creating) much of the time. Hence when they want to create, they will use a different computer. Hence, towards the bottom, he says desktop computer sales will actually increase.

The point is yes, for content consumption, you don't need a full PC, you don't even really need a laptop. But for creation, you probably need more than a laptop. Seems sensible to me.

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What this report really does not tell us...

Is that most content consumption is going to end up via TV Screens.

The idiot box is smarter than you think.

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Stop

'Become the Primary Device' my arse. If they were more convenient most/all of the time then people with tablets would already have made the switch. You do your real work on a proper terminal with a display, keyboard and mouse and/or stylus thingy for designers and the like. Tablets are for showing off, angry birds and reading and replying to docs/emails on the go (most likely in that order of importance.) Of course they will become more prominent as people figure out more things they can do on the go instead of in the office but to seriously suggest a device that eats half it's own screen when you want to type (and rarely gives you the characters you tried to type anyway) will become the main device only implies the suggestion comes from someone who doesn't have any real work to do.

I of course do have real work to do, which is why I waited 'til my break to browse el reg and post... yes, that sounds plausible enough.

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Go

re: your arse

Actually my tablet has become my primary device at home...

Since I spend most of the day looking at a screen and bits of code, many nights when I get home I don't even want to fire up my laptop - but I do want to catch up on news, check email, play a quick game to wind down.

I used to boot up my laptop, then later a netbook to do that. Trouble is if it's just one news article I wanted to finish reading, or one email I want to respond to, I'd have to go to the desk/table or find a comfortable place to sit; then wait to boot up; then fire up an app or log into the browser. Then maybe I have to leave it plugged in all night if I'm waiting for a response or something.

Nowadays, 80% of the time I don't need the laptop/netbook. I can read that one article and put it down, pick up later to get that email response, and move around to the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, doing what I need to do in each room whilst reading. I can also move around whilst video calling. I can show the wife my hotel room and view from the window easily.

Sure there's the phone for that, but it can get fiddly and a large screen is more immersive. I find some things work better on the phone and some work better on the tablet.

The only reason I have a laptop is work purposes really. If I was in a 9-5 fixed location job, I'd have a desktop and a tablet and that would be it.

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"You do your real work on a proper terminal with a display, keyboard and mouse"

So, as I understand it, one only needs to add a keyboard and a mouse to a tablet to have a 'terminal' (CPU architecture and OS aside)? Agreed!

It seems that the tablet can actually be better than a laptop, ergonomically, in that both the screen (tablet) and keyboard (wireless) can be placed in their respective optimal positions. (A stand or support is required, of course). In this respect, it is more like a desktop.

I'm seeing more programs that use spare CPUs across my LAN for the really CPU intensive jobs... in this respect the power of the machine I'm actually sat in front of doesn't matter so much- just as the storage of a tablet or laptop doesn't matter so much if you use NAS.

Things are changing, new ideas and old (terminals, thin clients). Who knows, the report could be right!

I could see a tablet being my primary computer: Sit back with a movie or report to review, stick a keyboard on it when out on a train, and when at my desk it will have a keyboard, mouse, extra monitor - and access to external computational resources (either local or cloudy). I just pick it up, and use it elsewhere.

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assuming retired after 3 years

I hope by 2016 tablets will have caught up with laptops and last substantially longer than 3 years.

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Re: assuming retired after 3 years

...and not cost as much as a far more powerful laptop too.

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Convenient?

"Tablets aren’t the most powerful computing gadgets," says Gillett, "but they are the most convenient."

It seems to me that once a person gets to the age where they can sit still in one place and get some work done, then that "convenience" is no longer needed.

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Re: Convenient?

If you want to check the details of a news story online which you caught the last seconds of on the radio then which is more convenient - a tablet or a laptop?

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Re: Convenient?

Not everybody has a job that can be done while sitting in one place. Or wants one. I'm hardly a skittish youth but if I had to sit in one place all day I'd quit and become a landscape gardener or a plasterer. Or whatever you call those people who build paths on mountains. Or a spaceman.

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Happy

Desktops

I tend to agree, this could help desktops out, possibly relegating laptops into the history books in the long run.

I have always been a high-end desktop user and couldnt even conceive getting rid of that. Not just for gaming, but I run a lot of my lab environments off my dekstop machine as well, and always access it when I'm not in. I could definitely see myself using a tablet to do this, as like the article states, they're much handier and less cumbersome than a laptop.

I'm not actually sure there was a point to my post. Ah well :)

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Jad
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Re: Desktops

really depends on where you want to use it ...

I work at home, and it's a damn sight easier to transport my laptop home and back again than it would be to transport my desktop (with or without a monitor) keeping my user environment the same.

I sit still at both sites, but i travel quite a distance between them.

I guess I could go thin client, from my desk and from home, to a server inside the Intranet, but if my Internet connection at home breaks for a couple of hours, then I'm down for a couple of hours.

As it happens I have a laptop as my home computer because I don't have too much space at home, and sometimes it's used upstairs and sometimes downstairs ... I don't believe that my wife will want to use a tablet.

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Meh

Yawn.

Another day, another opinion...

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Facepalm

Re: Yawn.

Absolutely. Life would be far more interesting if nobody had opinions.

DERP.

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Data is just data

And we will have different devices depending on what you want to do with it.

Consume it on the go - mobile phone

Consume it while stationary - tablets

Create is on the go - laptop

Create is while stationary - desktop

At home I've got a Linux server for my data, 2 iPhones, 3 iPads (Mrs + 2 kids really) & a fast desktop PC.

I think that's what most information workers will end up with eventually.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Data is just data

More like:

Consume on the go - mobile phone/Transformer Prime

Consume while stationary - Transformer Prime

Create on the go - Transformer Prime with keyboard dock/wireless keyboard

Create while stationary - Transformer Prime with keyboard dock

One device, multi function! No iPad for this, Desktop for that rubbish.

In fact no "i" device at all. I don't want to be locked into a proprietary/closed system, no matter how shiny shiny it is.

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Meh

On the one hand, I'm buying his predictions because I like tablets and I like his smiley beardy face.

On the other hand, he's done the standard market analyst trick of publishing a colourful graph with no error bars and pointlessly specific predictions. And if you browse the old papers on the Forrester website there are some ... "interesting"... predictions even amongst the papers that they haven't pulled because they turned out to be bollocks.

(no offence to any market anaylysts ... I'm sure you're not all charlatans with nice shirts and trustworthy faces)

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Battery Life

Most of the "inherent advantages" of tablets listed in this article are simply due to the use of inefficient x86 processors in laptops. Laptops will get the battery life advantage too when they start using ARM. Apple will lead the way, and then everyone else will scramble to catch up.

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Re: Battery Life

With ARM performance increasing and Intel focussed on battery life with Haswell and beyond it does blur this 'inherent advantage' point.

Hybrids further blur the laptop/tablet distinction, although unless Tim Cooke was spreading disinformation yesterday with his toaster comment its unlikely Apple will be leading the way.

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Re: Battery Life

re 'disinformation' 'Apple' 'Toaster'

there is precedent: When Steve Jobs was asked if the next model after iPod Photo would play video. "Sure," he replied "and it will also make toast"

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FAIL

What's it called?

"That makes them very handy for carrying around and using frequently, casually, and intermittently even where there isn’t a flat surface or a chair on which to use a laptop."

The clue is in the name LAPtop

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Re: What's it called?

I don't know anybody who uses a laptop on their lap. It's a horrible way to work. The screen is far too low and the keyboard is far too close. You might as well try to work while throwing yourself down a staircase.

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Re: What's it called?

...my left leg would also get pretty sweaty, pretty quickly.

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Re: What's it called?

Hmmm. I must be unusual then because I find sitting in a comfortable chair at home with a laptop on my lap a very easy and relaxing way to work. Never tried it while falling downstairs though. Maybe that would help too.

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Re: What's it called?

@Neil Lewis

Are you sure you're not confusing 'work' with another word that starts with 'w' and ends with 'k'?

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@Some Beggar

It is rather difficult to do that when a laptop is in the way.

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Re: @Some Beggar

Macbooks have a proprietary port you can use.

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Holmes

More freedom or more restrictive?

Owning a (Windows) smartphone myself I have to agree that sometimes it can be very pleasant to sit / hang on the couch and use the phone instead of my PC to check up on some minor stuff (news sites, few forums) as well as e-mail. On top of that I also get the local weather in one blink at the start screen.

As such I agree that it seems you can do more freely your daily stuff.

However, I also see another trend starting and that's where companies which exploit these OS environments no longer seem to care about the "icing on the cake" and leave that entirely to be filled in by others. A trend I'm not too sure I like. Basically they provide us less software options for the same price.

For example; in Windows 7 I have a lot of small games; patience, mine sweeper, spider solitaire, etc. As said before: icing on the cake. In Windows 8 otoh it seems as if most has been ditched; if you want some of that stuff back you'll just need to use the marketplace to fill in the blanks, which you only can access after you registered of course. Blanks get filled in by 3rd parties, /not/ Microsoft. So MS can basically reduce costs on this part.

My old phone (Samsung Jet) provided some basic stuff; calculator, unit converter, picture viewer. My new smartphone provides some of these programs too but a lot more minimal (even though its actually more expensive than my old phone). Most of the solutions I had to grab myself from their marketplace. Some was setup by MS but a lot was 3rd party software.

As such I also foresee a trend where companies would encourage us to like and use these more minimal environments because it means that they can save a lot on software development by simply dumping a lot of its parts and letting 3rd parties fill in the blanks. Better yet: in case of Microsoft they demand 3rd parties /pay/ in order to gain the right to fill in these blanks (whether you're making a free app or a paid one; you still need to cough up for a developer subscription).

Sure; these changes are rather small now. I mean; who misses out on a few games (Win8) and who cares about having to download stuff from a marketplace (Windows phone / Android) because it also gives you more choice and diversity ?

Well; its all small now but what if they continue to enforce such market places on us? "You buy windows 7 and you have desktop programs (text editor, calculator, paint program, etc..). You buy windows 9 and you get nothing of the sort; only /after/ you register with Microsoft do you obtain the right to get some free programs from their market place".

And of course; the price of the OS will have remained the same.

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FAIL

portable?

Is a device with 10" screen really all that portable? I consider a device to be portable if I can put it in my jeans pocket and walk out the door with it. I don't want to carry a bag with me. And just how convenient is a wi-fi only device where there is no wi-fi? At least a phone can use 3G.

Always on? My laptop is very rarely shut down. When I'm finished with it, I just shut the lid and it goes into hibernate. A couple of seconds and it's ready to use. Not that much of a pain.

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Re: portable?

You seem somewhat confused about what "portable" means. Is your name Humpty Dumpty?

And tablets are already available with 3G. It'll be standard in all but the bottom rung in the next generation.

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Re: portable?

Nope, not confused at all. As a kid I had a 14" portable TV.. it wasn't all that portable. Nor are the portable loos you see on building sites and at music festivals. I also remember being in portable classrooms too...

Just because someone decides that something can be moved, therefore by definition it is portable, does not mean that it is something that normal people would want to lug around all day, just so they can use it for 5 minutes to do something that could most probably be done on a smartphone.

3G may be available, but not everyone wants another bill to pay.

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Tablet to become the desk top

How about the tablet will become (a few more performance iterations will be required) the desktop.

All you need is a docking station with a decent monitor/mouse/keyboard.

You plug in your tablet (or compute unit) the OS then switches to desktop mode (aka Windows 8) and you use it in the traditional way.

Undock it and it switches to tablet mode. Most of the recently used info will be cached locally on the tablet with a sync to "the cloud" via wi-gi/3G.

Obviously the one thing that will be required will be a docking station standard.

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Re: Tablet to become the desk top

What Fenton said.

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Sly
Trollface

Of course tablets are the way of the future

you see it on every episode of Star Trek.

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Speech recognition = no keyboard required

But unfortunately this week I have a cold!

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