The latest iPhone 4S and iPad Air feature Apple’s A7 64-bit chip which vastly increased the processing speed of these devices when compared with their earlier models. 64-bit chips were adopted by the PC industry (laptops and desktops) a few years back and the other makers of mobile devices like Samsung and Nokia are expected to follow suit in the coming years. 64bit chips can support larger amounts of device memory (more than 4GB of RAM) and hence increase the number-crunching ability of the devices running on them.

Other specifications of tablets like their memory size too has been on the rise. iPad Air has an internal memory of 128 GB and the memory of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 can be extended by up to 96 MB through a micro SD card. The sales of PCs has been steadily declining as more and more people are buying a tablet instead of upgrading their old PCs. So the question that is cropping up in the minds of many people is whether tablets can totally replace the good old PCs?

Can Tablets Totally Replace PCs?

The entry of silicon valley biggies like Apple and Google into the mobile phone market made these devices smart and capable of performing complex computing tasks which were performed only by PCs till then. But a big limitation with smartphones was the size of their displays.  It was not possible to get the same kind of experience while browsing the Internet or watching videos on smartphones as was the case with PCs.

The answer to this major limitation from Steve Jobs was a portable device with a bigger display than the smartphone, i.e. a tablet. Tablets work on the same lighter operating systems (iOS and Android) like  smartphones and can be used to do many computing tasks like web browsing, checking emails, reading ebooks, and playing graphic intensive games with better user experience than smartphones. Put simply, tablets are essentially smartphones with bigger screens which are good for consumption of content (both online and offline).

Tablets still can’t perform computing tasks like running complex softwares like CAD and SAS and many similar ‘content creation’ tasks. The display sizes of tablets, however bigger than those of smarphones, are smaller than those of PCs. It even feels very difficult to carry a tablet with a display size of more than 10 inches.

Tablets will bring computing closer to more number of people than the PCs. It is just like how PCs took the center stage and replaced mainframes as the most popular computing devices. Tablets are cheaper than PCs and can work for longer hours without continuous supply of power. Their role in connecting people in places like Africa and India where power is not available all through the day is still being explored. Tablets are also easier to use by elder people as it is easy to learn the operating systems on which they run. As the prices of smartphones and tablets are bound to fall in the near future, device manufacturers are looking to introduce new products with good growth potentiality like Google Glass. Any success of these new kind devices can shift the attention of technology companies away from tablets. This could relegate tablets to the same position as that of netbooks which were a fad in the technology world.

Tablets can and sure will overtake the sales of PCs and emerge as the primary computing devices for many people. But they may not be totally replacing PCs any time sooner. People who both want the performance of PCs and the flexibility of tablets can also look for convertible laptops like Dell XPS 12 and Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (see image above).