Research collected by the International Data Corporation (IDC) has shown that tablets are set to take over the computer market. This year tablet sales will overtake laptop sales. The company also predicted that tablets will overtake PCs by 2015, less than two years from now.
Worldwide tablet shipments are projected to grow by 45 per cent from this year by 2015, taking them to over 332 million in 2015. By comparison, just over 322 million PCs are set to ship in the same year.
This extraordinarily fast-growing trend has been driven by consumers looking for a more portable, more affordable platform on which to surf the web, check emails and watch videos or listen to music. The average worldwide tablet price is now $398 and still dropping.
So why would you choose a tablet over a PC? For one, it’s cheaper, which either means you spend less or can upgrade more often. You can’t store as much on it, and it doesn’t have the same power as a PC, but with the number of apps available and the extraordinary portability offered by some of the smaller tablets, it’s hard to go wrong.
Today’s top tablets
Name: Apple iPad mini
The iPad mini has brought a lot of new users to Apple – it’s the first truly affordable computer Apple has produced for years. The interface is easy to use and it isn’t too big, making it very portable. It’s not as good as some of the bigger tablets for watching movies, but the quality of the screen is excellent.
Name: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is a little larger than the Apple iPad mini, but it is equally portable. It runs Android software, which is also quite user-friendly (especially if you have been using an Android phone). It does weigh an extra 200g on the iPad mini, but this is only an issue if you are worried about carrying it around in your handbag or backpack.
Name: Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire is an eReader which also functions as a tablet. It is heavier than the iPad mini, but lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. One of the best things about the Kindle Fire HD is that you can shop for content (such as books and movies) and then download directly from Amazon. You can also pay an annual fee to download and ‘borrow’ ebooks from the Amazon lending library.
Fun fact: the cheapest way to buy a tablet is to get one secondhand. You can often find tablets which have seen very little use through eBay – just remember to check if the seller still has all the warranty information, such as the receipt. Buying secondhand can be a great way to test if a tablet is the right device for you.