Why are tablets growing so fast??

Copyright Morgan Stanley 2011

I have received a lot of comments and questions asking why the growth in tablets (especially for business) has been so extraordinary. The trend is now becoming extremely well documented. In fact, according to Morgan Stanley, the tablet is “the fastest ramping device ever.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and to me the answer is rather simple – I’ll dub it “the 3 B’s”: Booting, Batteries, and Bloat.” I don’t know about you but after I got my iPad, I could barely stand to use my laptop anymore. My laptop is just over a year old, but it already suffers from the 3 B’s. So let’s take them one by one.

Booting: my laptop takes an average of 10 minutes to cold boot, and that doesn’t include startup time on whatever program I am actually wanting to use. Meanwhile, my iPad takes about 20 seconds to cold boot, which is rare for me since I usually just let it go to sleep, which has instant recovery. If I were to take Microsoft’s advice (which I don’t) and cold boot each day, that would be over an hour of time lost each week, waiting for my PC to boot…

Batteries: as I said, my laptop is about a year old, and already the battery life is down to around an hour… and this is one of the more expensive “long life” batteries. Meanwhile, my iPad will go 5-6 hours easily, and it charges in half the time.

Bloat: I have so much garbage on my laptop that I don’t even know what most of it is. In fact, I have over 100 processes running on my computer right now (according to Task Manager, which I doubt even shows me everything), but I only have 5 applications open. I know some of that is my fault since I likely either consciously or unconsciously chose to have them running at some point, but the net impact to me is that my laptop is excruciatingly slow. I get the hourglass almost every time I do anything.

Now I know I could clean up my registry, deinstall some things, adjust my services to not all start automatically, yadda yadda… and it would likely improve all of this, but really? Why is all that left for me to figure out and do manually. I can’t even tell which services are related to which program half the time. Meanwhile, just loading the Add or Remove Programs tool can take 2-3 minutes, and half the stuff I know is on my computer doesn’t even show up on the list and doesn’t have a deinstaller. Meanwhile, my iPad is clean. I don’t have random processes running. I switch applications almost instantly. I can remove things entirely with a simple touch. And it cleans a lot of things up for me without me having to do anything.

I know there are other reasons also, like the security model that inhibits the virus threat, the fact that it weighs less and is much smaller, the fact that the interface is so nice and intuitive, etc. etc. But for people like me who know their way around computers, I think the 3 B’s are the killers.

Now clearly tablets can’t do everything my laptop can, particularly if you are into things like graphics design or hardcore gaming. But the truth is that most of what I do can be easily done on my iPad (that is, with my keyboard case since typing on the touch screen is not my idea of fun). Plus, I have the ability to download all those apps, most of which are free or nearly free.

So that’s the way I see it. And to be honest with you, the train has left the station. The more that organizations build useful business apps that run on tablets, the less reasons people will have to buy a laptop. Laptops may keep certain niches where all that processing power is necessary, but mainstream business users will increasingly switch to tablets. Casual home users have already cast their votes.

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One thought on “Why are tablets growing so fast??

  1. Matt McLarty says:

    I think there may be a 4th “B”: Boredom. As a commuter, I sit elbow to elbow with people every day for an hour who would never think to whip out their laptops and read or watch TV. But there are a growing number of tablets popping up, bringing with them several unwatchable shows. (I actually sat beside a guy last week who was willingly watching “Knight Rider” reruns). So consumer boredom is driving a lot of this initial wave. But I suspect the 5th “B”–Business–will be the one that sustains the growth.

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