There's an interesting trend in the digital world that has computer-makers in a frenzy. People aren't buying new computers.
I'm not just talking about people hanging on to their machines for seven years or so. Even people who are in the market for a new computer aren't buying computers.
Instead, they're buying tablets. I know several people who have made the switch and they're perfectly happy. A tablet is easier to use, more secure, more portable and sometimes less expensive.
Of course, if you're used to a typical computer, switching to a tablet-only lifestyle can be a bit bumpy. Here are some things you need to know about hardware and apps to smooth your transition.
If you're used to whipping up detailed emails, long Facebook posts or new pages for your novel, you might find the lack of a keyboard on your tablet to be a problem. Typing on a tablet's touch screen is fine for short bursts, but over the long haul you can't beat a computer keyboard.
I suggest getting a third-party stand and keyboard for your tablet. You can find folio cases that combine both stand and keyboard. Microsoft's Surface tablets have a built-in stand and an optional cover with a built-in keyboard.
The nice thing about add-on stands and keyboards is that when you're done writing, you can pop the tablet out and it's back to playing popular games while curled up on the couch. Try doing that with your desktop.
If you're tired of staring at the small tablet screen, many tablets can plug into a TV with HDMI. You can also grab a USB On-The-Go adapter for many Android tablets that lets you plug in a flash drive or other USB-based add-ons. iPads have an adapter for USB camera cords and SD cards.
It isn't just the hardware that takes some tweaking. You probably have some programs on your computer you can't live without. It might be your word processor, photo editor or financial program. How do you get those on your tablet?
Well, unless you buy a Surface Pro 3 tablet that runs a full version of Windows, you probably can't. What you can do is find app versions and replacements.
Email, Facebook, a media player, a browser. Every tablet comes with these, and you can get third-party replacements if you want.
If you have certain programs that you use a lot - scanner, weather checker, personal organizer, medical reference - you can poke around and probably find an app that does the same thing. There are even apps to help you print, http://bit.ly/1mHv53N. Now, you might have a special program you use that doesn't have an app equivalent. In that case, you'll want to stick with a regular computer, or snag a Surface Pro tablet that runs a full version of Windows.
Interested in buying a tablet to replace your computer? Check out my tablet buying guide, http://bit.ly/1jkqmDS, for what tablets are on the market and how the major brands stack up.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more, go to www.komando.com.
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