The tablet has been put on death watch – or at least by Thorsten Heins, chief executive of Blackberry. Although he’s been criticised for claiming there’ll be no reason to own a tablet in five years, I think he’s right.
Since Heins hit the airwaves with his grand vision he’s found himself sat in the stocks while every pundit and tech journalist with a pen and a free hand throws rotten fruit at him. Given that most people either have a tablet or want one, it’s fair to say that not everyone believes tablets are set for the scrapheap. But he might have a point.
Before you reach for the nearest overripe vegetable, hear me out. Tablets have taken off. They have captured our appetite for being online, all the time, everywhere, in the blink of an eye. They are particularly fantastic for entertainment – watching movies on-the-go, streaming TV through apps like BBC iPlayer and for endlessly tossing angry birds at green pigs. But we have something that is increasingly able to do all these things – a smartphone.
Tablets vs smartphones
When the first iPad hit the market back in 2010 smartphones didn’t come with big screens that featured top notch resolution and had limited functionality. You could watch a film on your phone, but it wouldn’t be easy (or pretty).
The launch of tablets has spurred app development on to greater heights; to produce more complex apps for more complex programmes, such as Netflix or Evernote. Today, nearly all the apps available for tablets are also available for top-end phones. You can watch Netflix on your iPad, but you can also watch it on your HTC One and many other phones.
It’s all about screen size
More importantly, we’re starting to see bigger screens. Phones are getting bigger – the Samsung Galaxy S4 already has a 5-inch screen, while the soon to be released Samsung Galaxy Mega is stretching up to 6.3-inches. At the same time, tablets are getting smaller, 7-inch tablets, like the Nexus 7, are the current hot sellers.
People don’t need two devices that can essentially complete the same tasks but are just 0.7 –inches different in size. They just need one.
We don’t need two devices
Tablets can’t offer the functionality of laptops – physical keyboards are simply easier to use. Try filling in your online shopping on a tablet or sending half a dozen emails – it’s possible but it’s much easier on a proper computer. Tablets also can’t replace your phone – you still need to make phone calls.
There will be a device in five years that we will use for our portable computing. It could be a smartphone, it might be the unfortunately-named phablet, it might even be Google Glasses. It’s unlikely to be a 10-inch tablet.