10 Glaring Flaws of the Latest Tablet PCs

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10 Glaring Flaws of the Latest Tablet PCs

by Don Reisinger

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Print Support Is Suspect

Apple's iPad now runs iOS 4.2. With the update came the ability for users to print documents to supported printers from the tablet. But the problem is that it only works for a handful of printers. And that is a problem. Tablets are supposed to be competitors to notebooks. But without robust printer support, they just won't be.

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Typing Is Too Much Trouble

As anyone who has tried to use a virtual keyboard on the iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab knows all too well, typing isn't up to a level where the average company's employees would feel comfortable typing out a long e-mail or document. Granted, Apple offers an add-on that lets users type with a physical keyboard and that works well, but it's an added expense. Efficient typing continues to be a thorny issue for tablet users.

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Enterprise Software Support Is Lacking

In the enterprise, companies want to know that if they provide their employees with a product, they will be productive and able to perform their jobs efficiently. A key component in that is having enterprise software available. However, tablets don't have as many enterprise apps available as companies would like. Apple's App Store has a healthy supply of business-focused apps, but the average company will be lacking many of the programs they really want. There's hope, however, that as more companies deploy the iPad and other tablets, enterprise developers will deliver more solutions.

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Touch-Screen Quality Isnt Guaranteed

When using the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, users are quite impressed with the quality of their touch screens. But that's not the case with every tablet. The Dell Streak, for example, features a small display that isn't as responsive as the iPad's. The recently discontinued JooJoo tablet was even worse. At least for now, tablet screen quality is spotty, to say the least.

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Android Isnt Ready

Google pointed out in an interview with U.K. Website Tech Radar earlier this year that Android 2.2 wasn't ready for the tablet market. The company spokesperson went on to say that the follow-up to Android 2.2 would work quite well on tablets. With that in mind, some might be hard-pressed to buy a device such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which runs Android 2.2. After all, if Google says it's not ideal for tablets, maybe it isn't.

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Apple Faces No Competition

Some folks are saying that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a potential "iPad Killer." But the truth of the matter is that at least right now Apple's iPad isn't facing major competition in the tablet space. It's the best of the bunch by a wide margin. While that might be good for Apple, for consumers it's unfortunate. The better the competition, the more Apple would need to think of ways to improve its tablet. Right now, Apple isn't feeling any pressure to do that.

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The Enterprise Is Left Out—for Now

So far, companies have been slow to adopt tablets in their operations. They believe tablets are designed more for consumers and so the incremental productivity gain of deploying a tablet isn't as high as it could be. That's unfortunate. The enterprise is a key segment in the computing space. Lack of support in enterprises only hurts the tablet space. Luckily, two tablets—the RIM PlayBook and the Cisco Cius—will be coming out next year designed to appeal to enterprise customers.

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Price Points

Those looking to get their hands on Apple's tablet will pay at least $500 to do so. And the company's cheapest 3G option costs $629 before the wireless service is factored in. Consumers who want the Samsung Galaxy Tab will need to pay at least $400 after inking a two-year 3G agreement. Simply put, tablets aren't all that affordable. If buyers want an effective mobile companion to bring with them on road trips, netbooks, which can be purchased for as little as $199 in some cases, might be the better option.

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The Market Is Becoming Too PC-like

When Apple announced its iPad, most consumers were impressed by the look and feel of the device. Its big screen was flanked by a black bezel that added a sense of refinement. But as more and more companies announce their own tablets, they've been revealing products that look very similar to Apple's. And in the process, the tablet space looks to be awfully PC-like, with similar-looking products being offered with some of the same components at nearly the same price. The lack of innovation and differentiation is an issue that will undoubtedly turn off some consumers.

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There Arent Enough of Them

Perhaps the biggest issue with the tablet market is that there simply aren't enough devices available right now for the average consumer to make the most informed decision possible. There are just two potentially viable devices-the iPad and the Galaxy Tab. Beyond that, consumers are forced to wait until next year for new tablet contenders from Acer, RIM and Cisco with its Cius, among others. That's a shame.

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