Everything to do with mobile computing is moving towards becoming faster and more portable with every new generation of devices, laptops, smart phone and tablets are no different. Whether it is for work, school or personal use the laptop has been the only option for years since it came out but it now has growing competition. The tablet has become a great and popular option with many different features that most laptops do not offer or just can't stack up to. Let's see why the tablet has been gaining so much ground on the laptop for portable computing.
The first thing that comes to mind if probably the difference in battery life. If you're on the go who knows when you'll be around a power outlet next or have time to charge it. There are few laptops with a battery capable of competing with the new tablets coming out, the few that can are very high end expensive laptops like the Macbook Air and will cost two or three times as much. For a device to be portable and useful it has to have power, a tablet will get 8-10 hours of battery life while a laptop might be lucky to get 3 doing the same tasks. With a laptop you can always carry extra batteries or have an extended one but doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of being portable?
This is probably tied with battery life for importance, a tablet will have the ability to be connected to wifi using a local network or a cellular connection and that is something very few laptops offer. The ability to use a cellular network to stay connected is a huge advantage since these gadgets are supposed to be portable and used on the go. If you don't have a wifi connection in today's world there isn't much you can get done, with the whole cloud movement most items are saved or stored there and with Google Drive you can now access and do more than ever, but only if you're connected.
You can still get a USB plug in version of a cellular connection for your laptop but it's just one more item to carry around and not lose with your laptop. If we are trying to find the most portable, versatile and easy to use device this is probably where the tablet wins do to it's compact all in one design that can connect to the internet anywhere and be ready to go at a moments notice.
You're probably use to the typical computer interface with a keyboard and a mouse or a keyboard and a track pad if it's a laptop but what about a tablet? Tablets are a new kind of interface using touchscreen inputs to control everything eliminating the need for a mouse and adding a digital keyboard when needed. While laptops are starting to add touch screen capabilities to their models, tablets are adding attachable keyboards so their interfaces in a few more years are most likely going to be identical and maybe they'll just be one unit.
For now though, most people still prefer a separate keyboard from a laptop or desktop since their keys are much more user friendly. A tablets detachable keyboard sounds great on paper but still falls short in real world use. If you've had to use one in the name of keeping them portable they're almost paper thin and next to impossible to tell the difference between keys or if you've actually even hit them. The laptop still has a definite advantage in interface as far as typing and data input goes for most.
Almost everything that is sold for a laptop has now made its way over to a tablet, they're typically called Apps but it's the same idea. In the past this was an area the tablet was lacking for students and businesses and they needed Office Suite software and business/ financial applications. With tablets growing popularity this has all changed and you can now get Microsoft Software and even popular business programs like Quickbooks for your accounting needs.
There are still some major differences you'd have to adjust to if you make the switch like the required keyboard and date entry inputs but overall they work flawlessly. Things like Google Drive have made it almost pointless to buy the Office Suites anymore because they offer the same high end word editing, spread sheets, and presentation software to their customers for free and it has been working amazing. There are some things that cannot be copied perfectly like Quickbooks but they have adapted it perfectly to the mobile devices. If you haven't looked into these be ready for a shock because they're just as easy to use if not easier than the originals. I wouldn't say either has a clear advantage for software it will all come down to which interface you prefer for them still.
The last and no less important decision is how well they actually work in practical applications. If you're using a tablet on the go with an instant cellular data connection and an endless seeming battery life it's no shock you can leave your tablet in sleep mode and access it in mere seconds having the ability to show people files, pictures, music and documents at the tap of a button making the tablet a perfect on the go source for information. A laptop can boot fast and there are some who stand out above the rest but most don't have the highest end hardware and will take a lot longer to boot up and be ready to use. You must then connect them to the internet connection and when it's all said and done the tablet user has already finished and moved on to the next task.
It's no shock then the tablet has been taking off in the past two or three years and it has actually surpassed laptops in sales as of 2013! This is a shocking figure considering how new to the electronics market they are but they have taken it by storm and are here to stay. Expect 2014 to be an even larger increase in the gap between their sales as more and more people convert over to using them. With new software coming out daily they're even being used as cash registers and with their touchscreen interface their uses are endless. If you haven't taken a look at tablets it might be time to start thinking about it.