We are all on the move, whether it’s physically, virtually and at some point during the day it’s a combination of both. When you’re online while on the move, you’ll be doing it through the mobile internet, or 3G network.
Most people carry laptops with them every day; for work, for school, for college. They are everywhere. In some cases they are also free with a mobile broadband contract. The addition of a small plastic dongle to your load gives you the internet almost anywhere without changing the habits you’ve already created. You can work online and offline, in a cafe, on the train, in the park under the shade of a tree: it’s already in your bag. Supplying your boss with a last minute report, while sipping a cup a coffee in your favourite coffee house is easy because you have everything the mobile office needs.
The downside is this is the most cumbersome way of plugging in on the move, especially if your new, free laptop is on the large side and most of them are. Also, getting a suitable bag is important for your back.
The tablet market is young. Their big advantage is the size, thickness – or lack of – and weight, making them very easy to transport and easy to use in most locations. The Micro SIM for 3G enabled tablets means you’re not relying on external hardware to access the internet.
Features like the onscreen keyboard often don’t replace the comfort of the traditional Qwerty keyboard. External keyboards can be attached at an extra cost.
The greatest drawback is the current lack of tablet native apps and websites. iPad still excludes Flash content making much of the internet unavailable. Samsung have opted out of making tablet native sites or apps for the Galaxy TAB, hoping that the internet will simply translate. The result is jerky scrolling and white spaces where pages won’t load properly, something Samsung will have to address if its tablet is to survive the speedy evolution of the market.
Smartphones are great when on the move, for checking in and checking things out. Battery life is currently shorter than that of a PC. That coupled with their size means they don’t lend themselves well to completing offline tasks that you would usually use a computer for.
So, which one?
You’re probably using a combination of two. One of them is probably a smartphone. Being online isn’t going to change, in fact as the internet becomes more social, we’ll all probably spend more time online. The battle between the tablet and the PC will continue and is sure to produce some great results that benefit consumers and some that won’t.
About the author: Marie-Paule Graham writes on behalf of Mobile Phone Genie, the independent comparison website for mobile phones.