WWW #20: Laptops

Today’s Topic: Are laptops being replaced by tablets and phones?

I still can fondly recall the first laptop I ever had. It was gifted to me by my brother as a Christmas present, and I spent my entire winter break using it. The only other piece of equipment I could use to access the internet at the time was the ‘family computer’, a large, bulky box that relied on dial-up. I was in my early teens at the time, and although the majority of my friends had WiFi in their houses, I was not so fortunate. With my flip phone and laptop, I made the most of my two weeks of freedom from tests and essays utilizing the notepad, word programs, and built-in games (side-note, I’m absolutely addicted to solitaire because of the hours I spent playing it on my first laptop!).

Looking back at that time in my life now that I have a smartphone, 3G tablet, and second latest generation laptop, I wonder if I would have felt the same joy from receiving such a gift if I already had other smart devices at my disposal…

After that first laptop stopped running so smoothly and kicked the bucket, I was gifted a large, business laptop from my uncle who didn’t like how bulky it was. He was tired of carrying it around with him everywhere and had decided to get something smaller and more efficient. The first series of iPads had just come out at the time, and he thought that tablets would never replace personal computers. The first laptop I ever bought myself was (at the time) the latest generation MacBook I purchased a month before moving to Japan. I had bought my first smartphone just a year or so earlier, and also had the second generation iPad that I carried throughout my last three years of college.

Having a new, high tech laptop while also having a tablet and smartphone didn’t seem as magical or special as when I got my first basic laptop. I only pulled it out to do the things that I couldn’t (yet) do through my phone or tablet, and it was generally too heavy and bulky to take with me to school or work easily. I kept my laptop on my dining room/work table to play Netflix or YouTube while away from my room; that was its main function. 

Recently, I finally bite the bullet and bought one of the newest tablets available with 3G connectivity. Having a ‘slimmer laptop’ that I can take everywhere with me has worked wonders for my writing and work projects. My laptop now sits comfortably on my desk and is still used to update my website (though that can be done through my tablet or phone), watch Netflix when I’m too lazy to boot up the chrome cast, and as a substitute work station while my tablet is charging after I’ve used it all day.

In all honesty, I think the only downside to losing or getting rid of my laptop would be the numerous files I’ve saved on it, though they’re all backed up on an external hard so the loss wouldn’t be so great. Getting a Bluetooth keyboard was my first step to not relying on my laptop, and as technology grows I can only wonder who long it’s going to take before I don’t need my laptop at all. Yet, even with all that in mind, I still have a goal of getting an advanced desktop setup for my new office after my next big move. Though I’m sure I can make audiobooks and podcasts on my current devices, I know it’d be advantageous to go the desktop route for future projects.

The real question is: will I want to keep my laptop after purchasing a desktop? What would it’s purpose even be at that point? What value is my laptop bringing to my life other than playing videos while I use another device and don’t want to turn on the TV?

Conclusion:

Laptops are an interesting piece of technology that were originally created to be a mobile-friendly computer. Now that folks have devices that are just as powerful as a computer sitting comfortably in their pockets or bags, laptops seem to be losing their edge. There may soon come a day when they’re rendered obsolete and join the ranks of the Walkman, Zune, floppy disk, and so many others.

Do you own a laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone? Could you do without your laptop by replacing its use and function with another device? Let us know in the comments below! Let’s get a discussion going, yeah?

Happy reading, writing, working, and living!

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