On ReadWriteWeb, Brian Proffitt opines that the one thing that will keep tablets from dominating the mid-sized mobile device market is the lack of a decent built-in keyboard. Tablets are light and good at doing many of the same things people use laptops for without the extra laptop bulk, but they can’t do all of them. And for the ones they can’t do, especially ones relating to productivity, they need a keyboard. Therefore, laptops will live on.
Of course, while the article is right as far as it goes, one thing it doesn’t mention is the humble, handy Bluetooth keyboard. A Bluetooth keyboard is cheap and portable, and will let you type on a tablet (or, for that matter, smart phone) just as easily as you could on a laptop. I’ve written a lot of things on Google Drive from my 7” Nook HD with Android. I could do almost everything I could on a laptop or desktop, including hitting ctrl + I to italicize. And the document would be waiting for me when I got home.
And even Bluetooth keyboards aside, I can do a surprising amount of writing using Swype on my Android tablet or even my phone. Once you get used to it, you can Swype up words surprisingly quickly, and the long-press punctuation keys eliminate having to tap into and out of another keyboard. Too bad you can’t install custom keyboards on iPads.
Of course, there will always be certain applications that are only available for desktops. And some applications need the extra screen real-estate that only a laptop or desktop can provide. But I find that a surprising number of even productivity apps can be handled with a tablet. And for those of us who need to get work done (or find excuses to procrastinate) on the go, good enough is often just fine.