Can tablets really replace notebooks?


TABLETS’ NEXT LEVEL Models explain functions of tablet accessories during the opening day of Computex computer expo in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 31, 2011. Asus’ new Eee Pad Transformer is now the closest thing in function to a real PC notebook. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Google’s Android OS, which now practically sits in every smartphone and tablet, has gone far in its development.

At present, Google has several versions of the popular OS. The Android for-tablet-use variant is called the Honeycomb. It has enabled tablet makers to add more functions to their devices, such as allowing for the attachment of a keyboard dock and recognizing peripherals such as an external storage.

Among the Honeycomb-run tablets, Asus’ new Eee Pad Transformer is now the closest thing in function to a real PC notebook.

With the optional keyboard dock, the multitouch capable tablet features a comfortably sized keyboard, two USB ports, a full sized SD card slot, and a touchpad that has clickable keys and supports multigestures.

Docking the Eee Pad through a pin slot onto the keyboard dock literally transforms the tablet into an instant notebook.

But can the Eee Pad Transformer fully measure up to a notebook?

Tablets became popular because the products were intended to be PC devices that offered a great touch-user interface for entertainment, multimedia, social and Internet functions. But a touch UI has limitations. For one, you cannot depend on a tablet’s virtual keyboard to type long documents.

Beyond a wonderful user interface, the Eee Pad Transformer extends its functions by offering the Windows PC experience consumers are used to, such as a real keyboard for typing.

When attached to the keyboard dock, the Eee Pad Transformer can recognize peripherals such as external storage (flash-based USB storage and hard drive) and mouse (both wired and wireless). So it’s easy to access photos, music, documents and other Windows-based files.

The keyboard has been redesigned to incorporate components of the Android system such as the Back key, Home key, Menu key, Search key and Lock key. From the keyboard, the user can also control the brightness of the tablet’s display, launch the camera function, disable and enable wireless connections, play media and manage volume.

The Eee Pad Transformer also features a nice music player. The UI is almost similar to iTunes’, where album covers flash on the screen and you can do album selection by taps and swipes. The volume, though, needs work and you will need to connect it to an external speaker to enjoy good sound rendition.

Connecting the tablet to a Bluetooth speaker is a breeze. Other connectivity such as Wi-Fi is also simple. The device remembers Wi-Fi connections and may connect without the wait.

Other great features include fast boot-up and fast shut-down times, intuitive and easy to navigate UI, fast access of browser, support of several Web e-mails, access to an online market, and easy to install and uninstall downloaded apps.

Though it may seem to be a good “transformation” of a tablet into a notebook, the Eee Pad Transformer has its shortcomings. Since the Honeycomb is just new, some of the apps often crash.

Skype can be installed to allow a user to contact iPhone or iPad users, but video isn’t present. The alternative is the Tango application, which works well with Honeycomb OS.

Asus still has a lot of tinkering to do before the Eee Pad Transformer becomes a real notebook. But it has done a good job at telling consumers that there are better alternatives to the traditional PC.

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  • Nestor Fermin

    …”Since the Honeycomb is just new, some of the apps often crash”…..Wait until all apps do not crash.

  • Nicolo Legaspi

    “Among the Honeycomb-run tablets, Asus’ new Eee Pad Transformer is now the closest thing in function to a real PC notebook.”

    New? Really?

  • Buddha Follower

    They should’ve placed a disclaimer at the bottom saying this paid ad is brought to you by Asus Eee Pad. ROFLMAO!

  • Tyopando

    This paid advertisement was brought to you by ……….Asus Eee Pad Transformer………….
    Now the news…………

  • Anonymous

    “Google’s Android OS, which now practically sits in every smartphone and tablet…”

    Am now taking a look at my smartphone.  not Android.  Looking at my tablet.  Not android.  Wife’s smartphone.  Not android.

    Perhaps the writer meant “sits in practically every smartphone and tablet…”  that way, that author would only be ludicrously wrong instead of totally wrong.

    Where is good editing when you need it

    • Eighties Boy

      Haha well said.  Ya I keep on hearing about this “Apple” thing, and their so-called “iphone”, “ipad”, but I guess that’s just crazy talk…

    • Jomjom

      you’re good in English man. I didn’t catch the error.

  • ricci santiago

    Raquel-just tell us how much you were paid by Asus for this article. Sige na, tatanggapin na namin. Or just dont write anymore of these misleading articles. 

    Tablet – (jack of all trades master of none)
    -not portable like the smart phone
    -not powerful like the pc
    -not efficient like the laptop
    -not cheap like the netbook


    • Eighties Boy

      -no buttons/no control for games like pc/consoles/handhelds

  • Richard Lo

    I agree with @PoyWiggins:disqus ,it’s obvious that this article aims to promote the asus eee transformer product. Tablets in general targets to replace netbook PC. In fact there’s a considerable decline with the sales / demand for a netbook with the increasing popularity of tablets both Apple and Google powered OS. The Asus eee pc, which was the first to introduce the netbook a couple of years back, are not spared for customers preference for tablets. Prices has also dropped considerably for the low end portable laptops, whereas before around 17k and up, now selling within 10-15k only for budget netbooks.

    I own an IPAD and it’s able to serve 80% of my mobile computing needs. I was able to survived a couple of foreign trips with just this Apple device. The rest of the 20%, well, I’m better off using the conventional notebook or desktop PCs like creating presentation materials, and long documentations. iOS and Androids are at their best in the portability, social media, entertainment, light office work (emails, basic word processing) category while the traditional PCs lets you go through with the conventional stuffs usually with higher resources needs (CPU, Memory, disks). Let the tablets be tables and the PCs be PCs.I don’t see the in-betweens being successful yet like these hybrid tablet / PCs specially the OS (Android / iOS vs. MacOS, Windows, Linux) are intended for different purposes. First time I came across this eee transformer, just came to my mind to simply buy a bluetooth keyboard for my ipad

    • Anthony James Rigor Bautista

      I Agree that many articles in this section are actually barefaced ads for one type of product or another.  Not a really serious article that seeks to examine and critically analyze products, services, technology or trends.  Having said, the comments section actually offer more insight than the article, so all is not a total loss.

    • Zen

      thanks for these inputs. i’m mobile and always wonder how each one (smartphone, laptop and tablet) fits in my daily life. I can see that one can’t replace the other; rather, each has its niche. if i’m at the office, i use my laptop to skype with a girl because laptops are easy to use. if my boss comes around, i’ll excuse myself to go out for a meeting in starbucks, leave my laptop to pretend i’m going back, but bring my tablet to continue my skype session outside (laptops are heavy to lug around). of course, while walking to the nearest starbucks, i need my smartphone to keep the skype session on the go. makes sense to me. 

  • Anonymous

    Let’s be honest here. This isn’t really an article about tablets as notebook replacements. This reads as an ad for the eek pad transformer.

    Google’s android OS ..practically sits in every smartphone and tablet – really? What imaginary world are you living in?

  • Rica Palomo-Espiritu

    tablets can replace the netbooks. In fact they’re more practical to carry around than NETbooks. but they cannot replace the notebooks. Not yet. :)

    • Eighties Boy

      If I was a student with not much money, a NETbook would be much more useful than a tablet.  I can type my reports faster, and without my fingers taking up half the screen.  Also, they can hold much more data (100’s of GB’s vs 10’s of GB’s for tablets) for years of documents, slides, etc.  All this in a package much cheaper than any tablet.  Sure it wouldn’t look as cool, but that’s why you get a job after school right?

  • Anthony James Rigor Bautista

    Nice article but a bit too “techie”. In short – “Wait and See”. On a personal note: I think tablets will NOT replace notebooks per se, but will create and define their own niche. There will be users who will cross over to this niche but not necessarily because they think the tablet is better, but rather because it is what they need. Most People consume content rather than create it that is the niche the tablet platform will dominate in. As far as functionality and creating content, Notebooks or PC’s will still be the standard. I think the tablet will win in terms of getting more users AND more importantly, creating NEW USERS. But for many who agonize over the choice the question really is “Do you want to build a car or just drive it?”

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