ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

Why I Don’t Own a Tablet PC

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 07/20/12 at 08:37 PM CT

I have been intrigued by the concept of tablet computers since they were referred to as "UMPCs." Yet, here we are in 2012, in the midst of the “post-PC” tablet revolution, and I still don’t own one. No iPad, no Droid, no nothin’! Why? Allow me to elaborate.

I never sprang for a UMPC back in 2006 because they were high-priced gadgets with anemic hardware. If I was going to own such a device, I wanted the ability to use all of my regular Windows software on it. Paying twice as much for half the hardware capability as my regular desktop PC just didn’t click with me, so I waited for the price to drop.

I’m still waiting.

While the UMPC evolutionary branch still exists, it was largely a dead-end, supplanted by true tablet PCs inspired by touchscreen smartphones. Thanks to a huge marketing blitz and rapid release schedule most people think Apple invented the tablet PC concept with their iPad, despite the fact that similar concepts were actually in development by a number of different manufacturers, in a case of parallel discovery.

So here we are today, with dozens of different tablet PCs available on the market with an array of different operating system options. Why don’t I just pick one already? Despite their differences, all tablet PCs share a few major issues that repel me every time I come close to pulling the trigger on a purchase.

First, and most important, is that tablet PCs are currently in the lifecycle phase desktop PCs were in during the 1990s. I remember talking my parents into paying exorbitant amounts of money on two separate occasions – once in 1993 when I was just starting high school, and once in 1997 when I was ready for college – for new desktop PCs. In both cases the machines were obsolete about six months after I got my hands on them. Since they were so expensive, I made do with them until I absolutely couldn’t stand them anymore. If I had waited but a few months, I could have gotten much better hardware for less expense. Of course, in those situations, I would have still been without a computer of any kind.

Today, I have a desktop that sits collecting dust while I do all of my work and experience all of my computer-based entertainment on my laptop (which frequently gets carried from my desk to a nice spot on the floor where an HDMI cable can reach it from the side of my 55” TV). If I delay my purchase of a tablet PC, I can still do all of my regular computing on at least two other devices. And with tablet PCs right in the middle of their rampant feature-creep stage, I just can’t bring myself to buy one – despite the fact that even the most expensive tablet PC (iPad 3) is far cheaper than my 1990s desktops – because I know it will be obsolete before I even open the box. Apple especially seems to revel in this fact, unleashing a new-and-improved iPad every year to their masses of fanboys who will buy them no matter what. Even the other manufacturers seem to put faster processors, more RAM, and bigger storage into their tablets every few months.

The second reason I don’t own a tablet PC is because I don’t like where their operating systems are taking us. Every current tablet PC runs some version of a smartphone operating system. These are closed, locked-down, walled gardens that don’t even trust their users to use them. There are no exposed file systems, making it very difficult to move files around on a tablet PC without using a regular PC as a kind of surrogate. And while not quite as bad as the closed-off file systems, I don’t appreciate app exclusivity. Steam has shown me that digital distribution can be a beautiful thing for PC games. But when I run Steam on my PC, it doesn’t forbid me from downloading and playing non-Steam games on that same PC. Tablet PCs seem to be moving further and further away from the idea of “sideloading” apps off of an SD card or some other form of removable media, placing all the power in the manufacturer’s hands and undermining ideals such as the open-source software initiative.

The third reason I don’t own a tablet PC is that I really don’t know what I’d do with it. I did actually own a 7”Android tablet for two days, but returned it because it was too small and couldn’t do the one thing I asked it to do: Load up a PDF of the Pathfinder RPGCore Rulebook.” I have seen iPads perform this Herculean task, so I know it’s possible, but I don’t want an Apple device, both on principle and because Apple expects users to have an entire ecosystem of Apple devices, which I cannot and WILL not provide for a device that would essentially serve as an overpriced e-reader.

So, what would I do with a tablet PC besides read PDFs? I guess I could play games on it, but I’m not a fan of handhelds, and I’m REALLY not a fan of the putrid offal that passes for “fun” in the smartphone game scene. I guess I could type documents on it, but none of the current tablets are compatible with my existing copies of Microsoft Office, plus I hate touchscreen typing. I guess I could use it to check my e-mail or surf the Internet, but I have a laptop that does that already, and I can fully customize my copy of Firefox on the laptop. I guess I could use it to do all this stuff while I’m out and about, but I spend all day sitting in front of a PC already and I don’t carry a purse or wear a sporran, so I’d have nowhere to keep it.

Take these three reasons together, and I see a potential roadblock for tablet PCs to supplant handheld consoles, as so many in the industry are predicting. Tablet PCs are PCs, not consoles: They are really expensive, become obsolete almost overnight, have inadequate inputs, and are BIG. At the same time, tablet PCs are consoles, not PCs: They force users to jump through hoops, only allow software approved by the manufacturer, and hide their inner workings. In these ways, tablet PCs take the worst features of PCs and the worst features of consoles and combine them.

Looking into the not-so-distant future, it looks like tablet PCs have one last chance to become something I would consider worth buying; and that last chance is Windows 8. And I mean the real Windows 8, not Windows ReTardation, which will be yet another identical take on the terrible smartphone OSes that pass as tablet OSes. If Windows 8 on an x86 tablet allows me to easily dump files from a laptop or desktop to a tablet or copy them from a networked drive, I will raise an eyebrow. If Windows 8 allows me to load up my existing copies of Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, Steam games, and my other favorite open-source software, I might reach for my wallet. If a Windows 8 tablet costs less than $500, I might actually open my wallet.

But the cost is the sticking point. Since Apple was the first put a modern tablet on the market, the market has come to expect all tablets to be priced similarly to Apple’s famously-huge profit margins, a.k.a., the “Apple Tax.” Since a Windows 8 tablet will have the capability to be so much more than a Windows RT tablet, I’m sure the price will be obscene.

But that’s okay. I can wait.

MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   

View Nick's Profile


Wrote on07/22/12 at 02:46 AM CT

It's all about the price. I see a tablet as a media consumption device, easy to grab quick and play with. Nothing more. For $200 it is worth it, like a 7" android tablet. The high price of an iPad is not worth it. You just don't get your moneys worth.

Write on Profile +


Previous Blog Posts


All Posts

July 2024

June 2024

May 2024

April 2024

March 2024

February 2024

January 2024

December 2023

November 2023

October 2023

September 2023

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023

February 2023

January 2023

December 2022

November 2022

October 2022

September 2022

August 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

December 2021

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Log In
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred... game review by Nelson Schneider
Ori and the Blind Forest: ... game review by Nick
House Party game review by Chris Kavan
Persona 5 Royal game review by Chris Kavan
Pikmin 4 game review by Nelson Schneider
A Hat in Time game review by Chris Kavan
No Man's Sky game review by Nelson Schneider
Cthulhu Saves Christmas game review by Nick

New Game Lists

Backlog (Multi-Player) by Nelson Schneider
Top Xbox 360 Games by Megadrive
Top PC (Steam) Games by Chris Kavan
Games I Own: Switch Digital by dbarry_22
Top Nintendo (NES) Games by Nick
Backlog by Matt
Top Game List by SIngli6
Top Game List by Jonzor




Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us


About us



Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use


Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?