Tablets still lag on some applications

  • Wed Feb 5th, 2014 3:52pm

I’ve written several articles about the merits of tablets versus PCs. But it looks like 2014 is going to be the year where tablet sales will actually surpass the sales of PC’s.

One article I read predicted tablet sales will exceed 300 million units this year. Does this mean that tablets are going to replace PCs? I doubt it. At least not in the near future.

There are simply too many tasks that a conventional PC (or Mac) can do that a tablet is not quite up to. Certainly 90 percent of what most users need out of a computer can easily be done by a tablet. But there are still some “heavy lifting” applications that require the power of a traditional computer.

One area that PCs excel in is video editing. More and more tablets and phones take video, but the editing tools available on these devices is rudimentary at best. I recently got a brand-new iPad Mini, and was excited to find it had the iMovie application. However, after trying to do some very basic edits on video shot with my tablet, I became frustrated. Trying to insert titles and other effects using iMovie on my tablet was very cumbersome.

Another area that still needs improvement is that of website creation and maintenance. I don’t do a lot of HTML or complex Web design, but I do update websites using a content management system (CMS) or other basic tools. These tools currently do not seem to exist for either the Android or iOS tablets.

One frustration that my clients constantly face is the ability to synchronize data between Android and iOS devices. This is particularly true when trying to synchronize contacts.

Services like Dropbox and others allow fairly robust sharing of documents, photos and other information. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody wants to share contacts. Microsoft’s Outlook no longer contains many plug-ins to share data with other applications. Android, which is made by Google, does a much better job of sharing. However it too has a way to go before it will be seamless.

Over the past two or three years the processing power, the memory, and the storage capacity of tablets has increased dramatically. I’m sure in the next two or three years these devices will step up with more powerful applications and the ability to do some of the “heavy lifting” that we count on our desktop or laptop PCs to do.

In the meantime, you can count on your tablet to do an excellent job of word processing, spreadsheet analysis, and other common office tasks. Not to mention the fact that games are looking better and better all the time.

Sven Mogelgaard is the owner of I Need A CTO, an IT consulting firm based in Mill Creek. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, send an email to info@IneedaCTO.biz or on Facebook at Facebook.com/IneedaCTO.