Are Tablets Here To Stay? [We Ask You]

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In a previous ‘We Ask You‘ column discussing the future of tablets I began the piece by saying, “The tablet is a form factor that we can safely say is here to stay.” At the time I believed it, and I still do to a certain extent. However, technology has a habit of advancing quickly, and things can change on a whim.

Who really thought the iPad would usher in a time when tablets were the thing to buy? Who would have thought that even Microsoft would be forced to jump on board the bandwagon — with both Windows 8 and the Surface — for fear of losing its dominant place in the market? But both of these scenarios have played out.

This week the CEO of BlackBerry, Thorsten Heins, called into question the future of tablets by telling Bloomberg, “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore. Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.” Is he correct or should we not pay attention to the guy in charge of the company responsible for the PlayBook?

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, Are Tablets Here To Stay? We’re keeping things very simple this week, with a question that could be answered with as little as a “Yes” or a “No.” Obviously we’re hoping you’ll go above and beyond what’s merely necessary and instead tell us your thoughts on what Heins said about the tablet form factor.

We particularly want to know whether you think tablets are likely to stick with us, and if so, for how long? They’re certainly proving popular right now, but some people are finding the form factor just isn’t for them. Ryan couldn’t find a single productive use for his tablet, and my cheap Android tablet has been usurped by a shiny new Chromebook.

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Start with that simple “Yes” or “No” as outlined above, but then tell us why you think tablets will either stand the test of time or disappear as quickly as they invaded the personal computer market. If you disagree with Heins tell us what’s so great about tablets?

If you agree with Heins and think tablets are nothing more than a novelty, a stopgap, a means to a better end, then what will replace them? Is Google Glass going to usher in a new wave of wearable computing devices? Or is the smartphone going to continue to grow in size and stature until it kills the need for the iPad, the Nexus 7, and all of the other tablet wannabes?

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and 150 MakeUseOf points to use for MakeUseOf Rewards. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Cheon Fong Liew

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Comments (66)
  • Shinjinee

    Tablets, like the latest smart app phones, sound like a great idea. Unfortunately, if you have to pay per GB or MB for internet service or if you are really worried about hacking and/or malware, an appliance that is almost totally Internet/Web dependent sounds like a bad idea.

    I’m from India where even the cheapest plans (along with service tax and service tax extras) mean that I could end up spending quite a lot to use the same software that I currently use offline. I like the idea of having my software and documents online, but not the reality of it. What if my account gets hacked, or my stuff erased (accidentally or on purpose)? Of course we should back up our data regularly but….

    The phablet phones are quite large too, neither fish nor fowl. I guess my future appliance choice will be a tablet plus a smart phone, but I’m currently getting along with a really old phone plus a Sony Vaio laptop.

  • spectrumofminds

    They are here to stay for a long time, but with continuous improvements as they go along. They are extremely efficient in so many ways – portability, size, price, memory, abilities, and more. The major contenders in manufacturing and brands of tablets (and maybe even a new one or two) will battle over improvements in battery life, readability, charging abilities (this could go A LONG WAY), security, including passwords, multi-abilities (readers, productivity apps, games, etc), their closeness to laptops, hard-drive like memory size, accessories, etc. and so much more. GPS tracking ability based on battery life will be important, as well. The greater the product, the more important it will be to be able to know exactly where it is at all times – even if it isn’t charged!

  • Nick Patel

    I know tablets are here to stay. Actually I believe that they will develop into changing we conduct business and generate results for any marketplace. they will replace laptops over time and then with flexible displays up and coming they will even go to the extend to be a solution that everyone will be able to afford.

  • Eileen C

    Well, I was also excited to receive my new iPad 3 and yes it was great for a while, until I wanted to do serious work on it. The drawbacks started to appear when I was taking notes at a meeting – so tedious , so I bought a bluetooth keyboard to make it easier. It was – but not much as the keyboard is too small to really type properly. Yes it is great for lots of things, as long as you don’t take it to heart when you find that you would have been better to have a notebook computer. The iPad does take good pictures, you can facebook and skype, but, I wish that I had kept my little laptop that didn’t frustrate me all of the time. I use my desktop , but like to be mobile too. No I don’t think that iPads are here to stay, They are an in between that doesn’t fit and won’t last in my opinion

    • Dave Parrack

      You clearly feel tablets cannot replace laptops, but what about as extra devices that are used for consumption rather than production?

  • Tom Epperson

    I one form or another I think that the tablet will remain. In the past there have been some products that have hit a “fad” phase and then die out but they also served to fuel innovation and integration into other products. So even if tablets fade out I think that their presence will be felt.

    • Dave Parrack

      So, even if tablets die in their current form they will have had a lasting impact on the market?

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.