Main image of article Tablets: Shrunken PCs or a Whole New Class?
Tablets have become must-have holiday gifts. Here’s hoping everyone who wants one gets one, given the supply chain problems we’ve been hearing about. But in the workplace, how are tablets regarded as 2012 arrives? TechRepublic’s Patrick Gray sees two competing schools of thought: First, tablets are shrunken desktop PCs:
They should have similar capabilities as the average desktop, with a smaller form factor and a longer battery life than the average laptop. This school of thought carefully reconciles the inevitable trade-off of portability and longevity for computing power and features, immediately dismissing tablets as “underpowered” for some applications or classes of users. Here, tablets—especially in the case of non-Windows tablets—seem more of a distraction. They’re essentially incompatible devices that will require software rewrites and deliver more hurdles than benefits.
Or, tablets are a different class of computing device.
Tablets are more of a personal assistant or information delivery device. Here, information and data gathering are a priority, and since applications require different design and data, incompatibility with existing applications is less of a concern than how to most effectively present enterprise data on the device.
Gray says that those in the first school of thought must eagerly await Windows 8 to see how it truly behaves on tablets, but he puts himself in the second school, saying  that a tablet “scratches a different itch than a highly portable desktop.” How does your organization regard tablets today?