If you walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world, what can you expect to see? Other than green-aproned people making delicious coffee drinks, you’ll certainly see people at tables with their laptops open. Coffee shops have become a haven for work-from-home and mobile employees. They offer us a chance to actually see human faces and work in a somewhat social environment.
As an at-home worker, I find myself among these folk often. But I’m not pulling out my laptop to get work done. In fact, I haven’t really used my laptop in months. Lately I’ve found that I can do basically anything with my tablet. It might be a bit unfamiliar at first, but once you get the hang of it you realize that this small, ultra-portable device can do nearly anything your laptop can.
The ultimate in portability
Why did I start bringing my tablet instead of my laptop when working at coffee shops? Because one day I just didn’t want to lug my laptop there. In fact, I hadn’t really planned to do any work. I just wanted to sit down and have a cup of coffee somewhere other than my apartment.
Bringing along my Android tablet PC from Lenovo was just an entertainment measure. I figured that at the very least I could get some reading done. At first I tucked it into my backpack, as I would my laptop. But then I realized I could just carry it. Why not take advantage of this super-portable device?
More than just entertainment
When I sat down at my table, coffee in hand, I took my tablet out of its case and opened the web browser. My plans to read went awry when I saw that I had a few new emails. One of them was from work: a client of ours needed something done right away. Great. The one day I didn’t bring my laptop…
Instead of rushing home, which as a good mile walk away, I decided to try doing the work on my laptop. I was missing one bit of proprietary software, but every good marketer can work around that kind of issue. And so I started going at it, typing away in a document and using the web browser to its fullest. Fifteen minutes later I emailed the client and told him that I had cleared up everything.
Ever since then I’ve brought along my tablet instead of my laptop. I’ve yet to run into any serious issues.
Tablets: laptops evolved
The main reason that tablets work as well as laptops for at-home and mobile workers: tablets are the next evolution of laptops. Think about it. What are the major things you’d like to change about a laptop? Chances are you’d like to:
- Remove the hinge between keyboard and screen
- Create a more efficient interface than point-and-click
- Make it lighter and less cumbersome
- Make it more durable
- Give it longer battery life
Now think about tablets. There’s no hinge; the touchscreen interface is more intuitive than point-and-click; it is much lighter and much thinner than even a Ultrabook; with no moving parts, tablets are much more durable; and tablets have far better battery life than laptops.
Laptops have little room to evolve in their current forms. Ultrabooks are basically the pinnacle. Soon enough laptops will blend in with tablets.
For many, using a tablet isn’t a practical solution right now. As mentioned above, anyone who relies on proprietary software probably needs a PC or a laptop. There are plenty of applications that you run on your home computer that also don’t have tablet versions yet. But that will change soon enough. As tablets gain a greater market share, we’ll see more software developed for them.
Other issues, such as the touchscreen interface, mobile OS, and virtual keyboard, are things that just take time to get used to. The touchscreen interface is actually more intuitive, so users will acclimate themselves to that quickly. The virtual keyboard might be strange at first, but it doesn’t take long before it feels natural. The mobile OS might be different from Windows or Mac OSX, but it’s stripped down and simple.
While everyone else is clicking away at laptops, I’ve found that my tablet works just as well. In fact, given its advantages in durability, size, portability, and battery life, it actually works a bit better. The future is certainly in tablets. The present might as well be, too.