Will Tablet Devices Replace the Laptop Computer Dissertation

Pages: 55 (16026 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

¶ … Tablet Devices Replace the Latop Computer

Tablet Computers: Will They Forever Change the Way We Interact with Information?

In a dynamic world, technology is the key to evolution. Despite the creation of numerous gadgets, the computer remains the most popular device due to its role and functionality in both professional as well as leisure activities. Computers have suffered a tremendous process of evolution from the massive ENIAC to the small tablet. The aim of this research endeavor is that of identifying the ability of tablet computers to radically change the means in which information is managed. Specifically, the main research question is that of the ability of tablet computers to fully replace traditional computers. Several research questions have as such been developed, namely:

Will tablet devices replace the need for laptop computers?

Will tablet computers make eBook readers obsolete?

What impact will tablet devices have on the news paper and publishing industries?

4. Will environmental green initiatives help catapult the use of tablet computers in corporations as alternatives to print and document production?

5. Is Apple's existing Ecosystem of iTunes Music, Movies, TV Shows, Applications, and new Book store the winning strategy for putting a tablet device in every consumer's hand?

It will be the scope of the following pages to answer the above posed questions. The starting point in finding the answers is constituted by an introduction to table computers, mainly in terms of their definition, history and current landscape. As this stage is completed, the paper moves on to the presentation of the functionalities of tablet computers. In order to better understand them, it is necessary and useful to compare the tablet computers against the traditional computers.

The next step is constituted by the analysis of tablet computers through the lenses of the populations most likely to use them. In other words, use cases would be developed for two major categories of consumers -- individuals who use the tablet computers for personal purposes and individuals and groups who would use the tablet computer for professional purposes. The personal purposes include education, personal productivity, gaming, reading or entertainment. The business purposes integrate activities in the fields of business productivity, organization and reading, paper elimination, meeting management, project management and/or tracking, mobility and/or device consolidation or remote access. The following endeavor would be completed in terms of justifying the use of tablet computers through the lenses of three categories of users -- students, home users and business professionals.

In order for the analysis of the tablet computers to be complete, it is necessary to integrate it in the context of the modern age of the mobile internet. From this standpoint, three features would be assessed -- tablets, telephones and other gadgets. Additionally, the industry would be presented in respect to the computer companies, the mobile telephone manufacturers, the vendors of operating systems and the gadget companies. All the above reviewed elements help form conclusions over the "consumerization" of technology through elements such as ease of use or a human oriented design. Finally, the paper comes to an end with a section on concluding remarks which restates the most important findings of the research process. The final chapter also presents the significance of the study.

2. Introduction

It is beyond any doubt that technology has generated the most important innovations of the past century. In recent years, the technological developments have come to impact all aspects of the every day life and in the developed economies, populations are dependent on technology. It is present in all activities, from the preparation of a meal to the completion of the professional tasks. Technology is in the military, in national defense, in medicine, in leisure activities and virtually in all processes.

The developments in technology are constant and almost on daily basis, a new discovery is being made, a smaller processor is created, a stronger processor is developed, a smarter phone is introduced. While gadgets such as iPhones, smart phones, iPods, and others similar have successfully penetrated the market, the most popular device remains the computer. This is one with a great history and the result of years of evolution from the 1943 ENIAC of "1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons" (Computer Hope, 2010) into a 700 grams tablet. This section introduces the reader to the meaning, history and current context of tablet computers.

2.1. Tablet Computer Definition

The specialized literature on tablet computers is still rather limited and this limitation is given by the novelty of the topic. Tablet computers are a recent innovation and most of the information about them can only be retrieved from internet sources, rather than books or specialized journals. Despite this limitation however, the internet does provide the researcher with several relevant definitions of tablet computers. For instance:

PC Magazines (2010) defines the tablet computer as "complete computer contained in a touch screen." The editors at the specialized magazine continue by explaining: "Tablet computers can be specialized for Internet use only or be full-blown, general-purpose PCs. The distinguishing characteristic is the use of the screen as an input device using a stylus or finger" (PC Magazine, 2010).

The Search Mobile Computing website (2010) states that, "in general, a tablet PC is a wireless personal computer (PC) that allows a user to take notes using natural handwriting with a stylus or digital pen on a touch screen. A tablet PC is similar in size and thickness to a yellow paper notepad and is intended to function as the user's primary personal computer as well as a note-taking device." The editors at the website continue to explain that there are two types of tablet PCs. The first type integrates a keyboard within the tablet, which can be rotated 180 degrees and folded. The second type of tablet computers has removable keyboards.

The Webopedia (2010), the self declared number one encyclopedia dedicated to computer technology, offers a rather similar definition, but adds a new piece of information regarding the ability to handwrite on the tablet computer, and then have the handwritten information converted to standard text through a handwriting recognition application. In their own words, a tablet computer is "a type of notebook computer that has an LCD screen on which the user can write using a special-purpose pen, or stylus. The handwriting is digitized and can be converted to standard text through handwriting recognition, or it can remain as handwritten text. The stylus also can be used to type on a pen-based key layout where the lettered keys are arranged differently than a QWERTY keyboard. Tablet PCs also typically have a keyboard and/or a mouse for input."

The Free Dictionary at Farlex (2010) explains the tablet computer specifically through the lenses of Microsoft's developments. From their standpoint then, a tablet computer is "a tablet computer environment from Microsoft that is based on an enhanced version of Windows XP. Designed to function more like a portable writing tablet than previous tablet-based computers, it includes handwriting recognition as well as the ability to retain handwritten words and annotations without turning them into computer text. This latter ability is known as "rich digital ink," because the inking (writing, drawing, scribbling) is stored as a graphic after algorithms smooth out rough edges."

Finally, a last definition to be presented is offered by Wendy K. Leigh (2010), eHow editor, who states that "tablet computers, commonly referred to as tablet PCs, are wireless portable personal computers that utilize a touchscreen or a stylus pen to access or process information. Most do not require a keyboard or a mouse and are generally lightweight devices that allow for greater mobility." She argues that the most common type of tablet PC is the slate one, which does not require a mouse or a keyboard. Aside the slate, there are several tablet PCs with various features similar to those of the traditional computer. The functionalities, styles or features however vary from one model to the other. In terms of special considerations to be taken into account upon a purchase or an analysis of tablet computers, Leigh (2010) forwards the following: "Tablet PCs are smaller, lighter and more manageable than other types of computers. They also allow users more flexibility in manipulating information like graphics, diagrams and equations. Potential negative considerations are a higher purchase price and a risk of screen damage due to increased contact."

While the list of definitions could go further, the ones already presented are sufficient in understanding the meaning of a tablet PC. In the simplest formulation, a tablet PC is a hand held device which was initially created to emulate text, but which is now used as a full blown computer. The device has a series of advantages as well as disadvantages, all of which would be discussed throughout the following chapters. At this stage however, it is necessary to review the history of the tablet computer.

2.2. History

The idea for the tablet computer is generically attributed to Alan Kay at Xerox and the first… [END OF PREVIEW]

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