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Do we really need Tablet Devices?

It is a very controversial question to ask, given that we have had 52.5 million devices sold as of Q4 of 2012 (IDC Report).

Before we explore the need for a tablet device, let's first understand - What is a tablet device? I had asked this question earlier also when Panasonic unveiled a 4k Tablet. Wikipedia says tablet is a one piece mobile computer, typically operated by touch or a stylus. Most sites seem to agree on that tablet is a device slightly more convenient than a laptop to carry around, to be used for information consumption and is also a device slightly larger than smart phone so that it is easy to work with it with the larger display.

I think this says it. People were on the move more and more and wanted to be able to continue to work, or at least remain connected. Phone provided them such a device but it was too small. It was good to make calls, send short text messages, quick twitter update or even listen to music, but when it came to reading books, quick editing that presentation, or watching movies, or those HD quality images also and playing games as well, a bigger screen was required.

Laptop offered that big screen, but it was bulkier. While you could carry it around, it wasn't really meant to be carried around long distances. It was heavy and had a short battery life, at least not sufficient to last more than few hours. Also if all you wanted to do was read books or watch movie, you didn't really need that qwerty keyboard, did you? All you needed was a touch screen like the phone, but bigger, which would react to some basic gestures.  Taking keyboard off would mean significant weight reduction.

Tablet provided that perfect fit in this space of having touch screen, no physical keyboard, being light weight, bigger than phone and having sufficient battery power. Also having its own SIM card or Wi-Fi connectivity allowed it to have network access anywhere anytime.

The devices are converging now and so once again the question is do I really need a tablet? I had asked a similar question here as well.

I have seen many people use external keyboards with their tablet devices. Reading books or playing games or responding to emails with a one liner using virtual keyboard is one aspect, but if you want to do any serious editing, there is nothing that beats a physical keyboard still.

Then there are these innovations. HPs new ENVY x2 tablet which has a dock-able keyboard. And there is also Surface Pro which Microsoft itself calls as "A Laptop in tablet form".

Laptops are getting lighter, have detachable keyboard, have better batteries, have touch displays and have more sensors. Like tablets, laptops also connect to the market place and download and use applications. With such modifications do we really need to worry about getting a tablet or will this new breed of laptops serve the purpose? What's your take?

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