Not so long ago, choices for mobile computing were limited. If you needed access to a computer and a full-fledged desktop rig was impractical, you purchased a laptop. You would likely need to hover near a power outlet the entire time due to poor battery life, but it got the job done.
Today, we have a multitude of choices for on-the-go computing. Smartphones, which are essentially handheld computers, have the ability to perform almost any task thrown at them. Tablet computers, such as the Apple iPad or Kindle Fire, have introduced mobile keyboard-less computing to mainstream audiences. Dell laptops almost seem like a relic of the past in comparison to others, but they’re not.
When discussing the iPad2 in 2011, the late Steve Jobs proudly proclaimed the arrival of the Post-PC era.
Tablet computers and smartphones have the ability to load apps, which are small computer programs that serve one specific function. This is in sharp contrast to computer programs which run on traditional computers. While a computer program often claims to serve one purpose, it often has a dizzying array of options and settings that make it difficult for computer users to perform tasks. Tablets and smartphones, by comparison, use their simple interfaces to perform tasks quickly and efficiently. Their touchscreen interfaces allow users to interact in an almost intuitive way, something which cannot be said for keyboards.
However, it may be too early to count the laptop out. Manufacturers have been paying close attention to the rise of tablets and smartphones and are planning to launch laptops that incorporate many of their features, such as touchscreen interfaces and nontraditional designs.
The main strength of smartphones and tablets lay in their ability to quickly and easily consume content on the go. If you want to create content, however, a computer with a more traditional interface is your best bet.
If you’ve ever tried typing out more than a paragraph or two on a smartphone, you know how frustrating the experience can quickly become. If you have large fingers, typing sentences turns into a chore as the phone attempts to guess the word you are trying to enter. Speech recognition exists as an alternate means of input, but the technology needs time to mature before it is a viable replacement for typing.
Laptops are powerful devices and run faster than they ever have, with a much more reliable battery life. They are capable of swiftly performing operations that would bring smartphones and tablets to their proverbial knees. Laptops can run more than one application at a time, have more storage space, and have the benefit of decades of development. As amazing as smartphones and tablets are, they are still an entirely new class of device and it will take time before the technology matures. It will take time before their existing limitations are removed and they truly give laptops a run for their money. Is that day coming? Yes, it certainly is?but it’s not quite here yet.