Tablet-Phablet-PC: Rock-Paper-Scissors?

March 5, 2013

For the longest time, the resistors of the tablet movement complained of having too many devices to carry.  “When you need one machine for work and one for communication… did you really want another media device for books and movies?” they would say.

The question was asked often enough that it propelled the manufacturers to either pack more productivity into the tablet a la Windows 8 or RT devices or more media into the smartphone a la Samsung Galaxy Note offerings.
GarageBand and Keynote type apps started dispelling myths faster than you could say “photo editing.” Content creation on tablets started becoming a reality. The PC sales continued to slide and lose to tablets.

The PC is not dead, just flat

Everywhere you heard there was a loud death knell for the PC. The question was will tablets replace PC altogether in the so far relatively safe enterprise space? All this while the PC manufacturers scrambled to answer this question in their own way… by packing more tablet-like functions into the PC. 

It must be a tablet when you need it with a magic hinge or revolving clamp and a full-fledged compute device for serious usages. It must adopt into the tablet and smartphone ecosystem and be backward compatible for all PC applications.

No doubt the old clunker must give way to a sleeker, thinner, lighter, power efficient, battery life enhanced, performance packed, drool- worthy must-have device. It must be as portable as it can be productive where the consumers can expect a continuity in their data and services via cloud computing. 

Last year, we saw several of these hybrid attempts being offered to consumers worldwide by manufacturers like Lenovo, Samsung, Acer and Dell.
So as the PC continues to blur the differentiating line between a tablet and PC, the success of the phablet can only mean good news for PC manufacturers everywhere.  With their large 5-inch to 8-inch screen sizes, extensive portability and a rich lush apps ecosystem, the phablets are perfect media consumption and communication devices. 

In a pinch, one could even use it for content editing although it may not be the content creation device of choice.  Now, a tablet alone seems superfluous and excessive. Phablets are being hailed as the go-anywhere gadget and the "Swiss Army Knife" equivalent of a computing device. With attractive pricing and exciting capabilities, the phablets will eventually cannibalize the tablet demand.  

And yet, as impressive as their features and capabilities are, it is the limitations of the phablets that will give a boost to the PC success.  That is, the new redefined PC, with significant tablet DNA. 

Last device standing

The tussle for relevance between a PC, tablet and phablet is far from over.  The landscape is still evolving and innovation barriers are still being scaled. This year promises to have a wide array of choices in all three categories where ultimately the consumers decide on the best balance for their buck. 

My money is on the happy coexistence of the phablet and PC which answers the work, creativity and entertainment needs of a modern day user and the tablet usages being absorbed by either one or both.
*Views and thoughts expressed in this article are in a personal capacity and not endorsed by Intel in any way.*


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