Is A Tablet A Computer?

The short and quick answer to this question is a resounding ‘Yes’. In its technical sense, a computer would consist of any device that can compute and process data. That would include devices like our calculators, watches, and even kitchen appliances like our microwave and automatic washing machine.

are tablet computersBut is a tablet a computer in its conventional sense? The answer to that too, is a resounding ‘Yes’, today more than ever before. Before the launch of the Windows 8 operating system, it was easier to dismiss tablets as serious computers due to their inferior ability to run productivity softwares such as Microsoft Words or Excel. Yes there are plenty of Android and Apple iOS apps that can run and edit Microsoft Office documents but the experience of doing so on them was ho-hum at best, especially when compared to that on full-featured desktop and laptop computers.

The Windows 8 OS has now narrowed the gap between tablets and regular laptop computers. A Windows 8 tablet, when attached on a laptop dock, turns into mini Windows laptop in almost every way. Windows 8 has also spurred a whole new range of touchscreen laptops that further blurs the distinction between laptops and tablets. Could this be an indicator of how the future of personal computers would look like? Could all laptops and tablet models one day be hybrids and convertibles.

While this might be the case one-day, we do not see this happening anytime in the near future. The size differential between tablets, laptops and desktops will always be a main factor in determining how they are used. Tablets, which are 10-inch in size on average, will always contain less computing power than regular laptops due to size limitations. Laptops will always be more powerful than tablets, and desktop PCs will always be more powerful than laptops. The difference in computing power limits what each device type can be used for and hence is set to retain this distinction for many years to come.

So although a tablet is indeed a computer in its conventional sense, it is a less-powerful computer compared to laptop and desktop PCs. If all you are planning to do were to get a computer for watching movies, surfing the internet and checking your emails, a tablet model would be more than sufficient to do the job. If you are looking a full-featured PC with optical drives, big screen size and ample hard disk storage space, then you might want to opt for your regular laptop/desktop computer.

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March 2014
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