Tablets Still Cannot Replace Laptop, Desktop PCs: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-02-07

Tablets Still Cannot Replace Laptop, Desktop PCs: 10 Reasons Why

The rise of tablets has been well-documented in the mobile space. Slates such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 and the Google Nexus 10 have grabbed PC buyers' attention and dollars.

PC vendors, offering notebooks and desktops, have seen their shipments drop as tablet sales have steadily increased. Things were so bad for PC vendors in 2012 that tablet shipments actually outpaced notebooks for the first time ever.

That performance, along with the continued success of Apple’s iPad, has prompted many to speculate that tablets are slowly but surely replacing larger PC models. It’s the Post-PC Era, some say, and it’s time for vendors across the globe to accept that and adapt to it.

But that logic might not actually hold up. Although tablets are growing in popularity, they still aren’t powerful or capable enough to replace PCs. Despite calls to the contrary, tablets cannot–and will not–replace PCs.

These are the reasons why.

1. Component power

Over the last few years, mobile components running in tablets have gained in power. However, processors such as Nvidia’s Tegra 3 or Apple’s A6X still pale in comparison to the power delivered in PC chips from Intel or AMD. Until that changes, tablets can never replace PCs for the power-hungry users among us.

2. App availability

Apple’s App Store currently offers more than 800,000 applications. And although many of them are worthwhile downloads, few actually deliver the complexity and sophistication customers would find in Windows or OS X. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the comparison of Office on mobile and PCs. Until apps gain in sophistication, mobile can never keep up.

3. Virtual keyboards aren’t universally beloved

The problem with all tablets is that they come with virtual keyboards. And although more people are warming to virtual keys, there are still many folks around the globe that like having the standard physical keyboard found in PCs. And why not? Typing on traditional keyboards with two hands is far more accurate and efficient.

4. Windows is the enterprise’s favorite

The enterprise is adopting tablets at a rapid rate. But that doesn’t mean that the corporate world is ready to drop Windows for iOS or Android. In fact, Windows is still the most important software solution for enterprise users. Granted, Microsoft is bringing Windows to tablets, but for now, those products aren’t proving popular. Until they do catch on, PCs will win out.

Tablets Still Cannot Replace Laptop, Desktop PCs: 10 Reasons Why

5. Think about enterprise productivity

Productivity in the enterprise is extremely important. And on that front, PCs are still winning out. Notebooks deliver the same level of mobility as tablets, and desktops deliver the power that designers and other employees might need. Simply put, PCs are still the ideal productivity-maximizing solutions for enterprise users.

6. Prices are still too high

Tablets are expensive. The latest iPad launch, for example, can set customers back $929 for 128GB of storage and 4G LTE support. A more powerful notebook can be purchased for several hundred dollars less. Given the state of the economy and the fact that many tech buyers are looking to save cash wherever possible, PCs can’t be considered obsolete in their battle with tablets.

7. Notebooks are turning into tablets

PC vendors have made the smart decision to cut off the rise of tablets by delivering touch functionality in their products. Lenovo’s Yoga, for example, has a screen that can swivel around and sit atop the keyboard to act as a tablet. As more notebooks take on tablet functionality, devices like Apple’s iPad might look like an awfully poor value for the price.

8. More options across the PC market

The sheer number of options available to customers in the PC market is something that can’t be overlooked. From notebooks to laptops to desktops to ultrabooks, there’s something for everyone. Best of all, the components in those products can be customized to match the respective customer’s needs. Choice, outside of storage space, is something sorely lacking in the tablet market. And customers know it.

9. The security advantage is going away

When tablets started to make inroads into the PC market, many speculated that it was because of the comparative safety that went along with using such products over notebooks. Now, though, things have changed. Android is the top target for malicious hackers now, according to several security reports, and has become the next frontier in malware. That could prove extremely troublesome for tablet adoption if things continue to get worse.

10. The operating systems haven’t grown up yet

Android and iOS, the two most popular tablet operating systems, are nice and effective in the mobile world. But they haven’t grown up yet. Apple’s iOS, for example, lacks a file system. Android comes in too many flavors for customers to get comfortable with its functionality. Mobile operating systems have to grow up. If they don’t, tablets will never match PCs.

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