By Olivia Lazenby*There was a time in the not too distant past when the typewriter was the height of technological advancement. Since then the PC has become a home and office staple for daily life, and more recently lost popularity in favour of the more portable and efficient laptop.
Now there is a new contender on the scene. Since its debut only two years ago, the tablet computer has taken the world by storm. Not quite a laptop, yet more adaptable than a smartphone, the touch screen all singing all dancing younger brother of the laptop is evidently here to stay. As we are still in the early stages of the tablet’s popularity, it is as yet a relatively novel device, a status symbol which is mostly used for leisure activities such as social media, watching films and taking photos. But will it eventually come to eclipse the PC and the Laptop as people’s device of choice for other tasks?
The tablet has various advantages over the laptop already. It can connect to 3G mobile broadband – a skill only reserved for a few very select (and expensive) laptops. It is touch screen. Admittedly a lot of laptops now include this feature – but most do not offer the more sensitive and responsive touch screen that the tablet offers, which can be used for handwriting and drawing. It is smaller, lighter and more portable than the laptop. Tablets often have longer battery life than laptops.
However, the laptop still has some features up its sleeve that the tablet has yet to compete with. Laptops benefit from much larger storage space – meaning that work documents, large amounts of music, films and other documents can be accessed directly from the laptop rather than requiring a hard drive. They also include a keyboard as standard. A keyboard can be purchased as an extra for tablets as the touch screen keyboard option compromises the screen space for documents, emails etc.
Laptop screens are not the same as tablets – the glossy reflective surface of tablets often make it difficult to see the screen in bright light – not an issue for most laptops. Laptops include ports for USBs, CD drives and other important additions that make uploading, downloading and sharing information simpler. The tablet is fairly limited in this respect. Laptops are a more suitable option when the device has numerous users, as tablets often configure information like email accounts and social media profiles. You can easily create numerous accounts with laptops, an added benefit from a security perspective.
Undoubtedly these drawbacks will increasingly be overcome by developments in tablet technology as time goes on, however for now the laptop remains the computer of choice for work tasks and document storage. The tablet is in many ways similar to the smartphone, in that constant updates and new versions are being released. Almost as soon as you purchase one it will be upstaged by something new. The laptop still has a level of longevity.
As technology develops at increasingly rapid pace, the laptop will no doubt become increasingly outdated. For now however, it is still an up to date and valuable piece of technology.
(*) Olivia Lazenby is a technology blogger. She has a tablet and a laptop, and bought her laptop case and bag from http://www.taylorhe.co.uk/.