Are tablets coming back? (New iPad, Pixel Slate)

It looks like companies like Google and Apple are focusing again on Tablets this year with the upcoming redesigned iPad and the Pixel Slate.

Tablets as a product category had failed almost from the start. People who wanted cheap computers felt more comfortable with a cheap laptop, and premium tablets cost as much as a good laptop with decent specs. So the comparison led people to laptops. A trusted product that felt more familiar and had support for all windows apps. People with a bigger budget, could afford a tablet, but still a laptop made a lot more sense, and Mac OS and Windows had a lot more apps.

It was great though for entertainment. And if you like technology it is one extra gadget you can play with. It’s not like tablets are not useful, but they are not essential either. They were mostly used by businesses as displays that customers can use. Instead of building complex cabinets with touchscreens, you can just make an app install it on a tablet and put the tablet on a frame.

Another very common use has always been kids, that want a portable, durable and easy to use device for entertainment in the car or on an airplane.

But if you want to use Office, Photoshop, coding apps for any language or anything more professional, while you can, it is not the best experience. Mobile apps, even the ones designed for tablets lack important features. On the other hand, they sometimes work much better especially compared to Windows. The point is that with a Windows or Mac laptop you can do a lot more, even if slower in some cases and with less battery life.

Apple has seen that the professionals may enjoy a more complete experience on a tablet, especially creative professionals and therefore has created the iPad Pro, the pencil and other products and accessories to help those people. But the experience is still OK, not great. This is because of apps mostly. This keeps improving though, and with the recent competition from Google we may see an increase in the rate at which things improve.

Google has Chrome OS, which is essentially a Linux Distro, very simple and lightweight, able to run on cheap systems and be very efficient in terms of hardware resources. In the latest updates of Chrome OS, Google has added support for Android apps and added very useful features. This makes Chrome OS, a great competitor to iOS. Now Google put this OS on a tablet, the Pixel Slate. This has the ability to seriously compete with iPads, even the Pro models, especially considering the price and specs.

Apple in the next few months may release new iPads. Those will have bezelless designs, like the new iPhone XS, but without the notch. We can be sure that they won’t be expensive, but they will perform great. The new mobile chips from Apple are incredibly fast. If all you need to do can be done in iOS, those will be perfect. This may not be the case for now, but as those devices keep being made, developers will start seeing that people want professional apps on mobile operating systems.

Should you buy a Slate or a new iPad? As a writer, i could use any of those and be fine. They support multiple tabs for research, have great screens, battery life, and keyboard accessories. As a programmer though, not so much. While you can code on those devices, you can’t use emulators for testing. As a scientists, i am stuck with Windows or Mac if i want to use R Studio for analyzing my data. As a photographer or video maker, i could see myself using such a device and being able to do as many things as i would be able to do on a laptop or desktop with Mac OS or Windows.

So you can easily choose something based on the applications you intend to use. Hope this article helped you learn something about tablets and tech in 2018 and how things may be in the next few months. If interested you can follow Qul Mind for more science and Tech news on Facebook and Twitter.


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