Apple has kick started many a storm – the latest being the introduction of a new computing device called the tablet, which combines the portability of a smartphone or ebook reader to the power of a laptop or desktop computer. All through this year, it hasn’t got much competition. But recently, the flurry of activity seen in this front has been tremendous. Not to be left behind, brands such as Dell, HP, Samsung, LG, etc have introduced their own versions of these tablets.
A tablet can be seen as the device in between a smartphone and a laptop. So you have most of the functionalities of a laptop without a physical keyboard and mouse. The touch screen of a tablet makes it very handy. You can surf the web, send emails, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks, etc. with a tablet. A tablet is the optimum device for use in malls, hospitals, pharmacy stores, restaurants, hotels and other places where the need of a handheld computer is an absolute necessity. Let’s take the example of a restaurant. The waiters can just write the order on a tablet and also give the feedback form on the same.
Tablets in India are not hot property right now, but the kind of buzz it is generating is worth noticing. We don’t officially have Apple’s flagship iPad, of which the other brands are taking advantage. By introducing their tablets in India as well, these companies have laid down the foundation of a tablet war in the immediate future on Indian soil as well. Indians are intrigued about this new form of the computer. How is it useful for us Indians? At the moment, it doesn’t seem as if it will serve the purpose to the hilt. It just seems like a high tech toy that people are attracted to, but don’t yield to it because of the practical use of it.
Talking about the various options that we have, the ‘iPad killer’ aka the Samsung Galaxy Tablet has hit our shores. Touted as one of the major competitions to the iPad globally, this 7 inch tablet runs Android 2.2 and has impressive specs. Priced at Rs. 38,000, it is a bit too steep, almost the cost of a laptop. RIM has announced that its tablet – the Playbook will be available under $500, which seems pretty inviting. Another low cost tablet is the Olivepad. Amidst all this, Dell announced the launch of the Dell Streak in India. Now, this tablet is a bit different from all the others. With a screen size of 5 inches, it fits snugly into another niche between a 3 inch smartphone and a 7 inch tablet. Although marketed as a tablet, you can make calls on the Dell Streak. The specs are very good, but buying one will put you back by Rs. 35,000. Not to be left behind, Infibeam launched a 7 inch tablet priced at Rs. 15,000. While Samsung and Dell are looking at capturing the high end consumers, Infibeam and Olive aim at the entry level tablets. Most of the tablets run the Android OS, which is as fully optimized for a tablet as it is for a smartphone. Nonetheless, this gives a boost to Android as well.
Overseas, tablets are eating into the market of the netbook. That won’t be the case here in India for some time at least. Tablets are best used in WiFi hotspots. Also, these tablets are 3G ready, making them a great device to watch videos on. So, who exactly should go for a tablet? If you are a person who wants to check email and surf internet while on the go, watch movies and videos even by downloading through 3G, listen to music and try your hand at gaming too, a tablet is the perfect gizmo for you. But it is advisable to wait for the prices to drop a bit, which it will surely do. Also, 3G is just being rolled out and you should check out the tariff rates for 3G too. I am of the belief that the prices will drop and more brands will launch their tablets by next summer. Till then, if you are ready to dole out money for a tablet, do let us know about the experience.