Are Tablet PCs Too Expensive
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Are Tablet PCs Too Expensive? Compared to What?
One frequent comment you hear about Tablet PCs is that they will not enter the mainstream until the price comes down. I thought it would be worthwhile to explore the question, "Are Tablet PC’s too expensive?" Today let’s ponder ...
Compared to What?
I was cruising through the latest flyer from Dell, and as I have occasion to do, wandering through some big box retailers. It is pretty clear that pound- for-pound, in the under 5 pound range, Tablet PCs cost more money than similarly configured ultra-light machines. Not a whole lot more, but 15-25% seems common.
When you get into the newest crop of Tablet PCs the differential seems a bit higher. These latest offerings with their larger screens and optical drives weigh a bit more than many of last year’s models. They are also less money. This puts them in competition with more mainstream alternatives at a different price point. In this segment, $300-$400 dollars difference looks closer to 30-40% as a premium for the Tablet PC functionality.
But what are we comparing here. If you look at the technology alone, the difference is misleading. You can buy a desktop digitizer-tablet for under $100 dollars. So to the initiated, the price differential to get into a Tablet PC may seem disproportionate. Of course that inexpensive desktop tablet is only 5 inches (measured diagonally), not 10 or 12 or 14 inches like a Tablet PC.
This is where the specifications are disingenuous. You cannot meaningfully compare specifications between an ordinary notebook computer and a Tablet PC, any more than you can between that notebook computer and a desktop machine. They can do the same sorts of things, but can they?
Let’s do something really ordinary
Fire up your desktop, your notebook computer and your Tablet PC (or failing that, a pencil and paper). Pick up the telephone and retrieve some messages. Let’s say there’s some things you need to record for later: a telephone number, a physical address, directions to that address. What is the most natural mechanism for dealing with this?
I can’t type with a telephone precariously perched on my shoulder, but I might try, at least for the telephone number. For the rest, I’m pretty sure I’d abandon the keyboard. Wouldn’t you?
How can you possibly compare these seemingly similar devices (desktop, notebook, pen and paper / Tablet PC) ?
You can’t. Processor speed, memory, hard drive capacity, none of these have any meaningful impact on your natural inclination to use one tool over another. Ask the technical guru in the company or your family if a Tablet PC is a good computer. If that expert does not have an Tablet PC, you just know what they are going to say.