Can you work effectively without a PC?


There’s plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the PC industry right now. Research firm IDC recently reported a “perfect storm” of factors leading to one of the worst quarters of PC sales in recent memory. Meanwhile, Gartner recently said that tablet and mobile phone sales are stealing revenue from the ailing PC market.

What I wonder is whether or not you can actually replace a PC with a tablet and still get the job done. For many professionals, particularly in the IT sphere, I’d say that no, you can’t. There might be some fantastic enterprise apps making their way over to the tablet world, but most still require a PC to make use of the full range of capabilities.

In the field of journalism, however, it might be a different story.

For example, I’m typing this article on my iPad. I’ve even got a decent word processing platform in the form of Google Drive, which will kindly store the document on the cloud when I’m finished with it. Sure, it’s no Microsoft Word, and I’m limited in my capabilities, but I can do the basics, entering bullet points, using bold or italic lettering, and even choosing fonts.

And if I wanted more capabilities, I could always splurge a little and buy QuickOffice, Google’s tablet-friendly office productivity suite.

The thing is, I don’t need to splurge, because for the purposes of typing up a blog like this, Drive gives me everything I need. What’s more, if you’re using a WordPress-powered site, you could simply type everything straight into the WordPress app. And the iPad keyboard is large enough to type relatively quickly, particularly when coupled with iOS’s autocorrect function.

Typing up an article is easy on an iPad, then. Unfortunately, problems arise when I try to upload an image to go along with the post. If you’re not picky about where your image goes, or the size it has to be, you’ll be fine. But the WordPress app offers little more than basic functions when it comes to uploading a picture.

To get around the problem, I’ve had to access the back end of our site via my Chrome browser, like I do on the PC. However, things don’t flow as smoothly and it’s all a bit much effort. This task is much easier on a PC. Indeed, having faffed around trying to get everything right, I’ve spent way longer submitting this story than I would have done normally. And that’s before we think about hyper-linking and tagging.

While it is possible for me to type up and share a news story on an iPad, then, it wouldn’t be my first choice. I could live without the physical keyboard if uploading a story wasn’t such a hassle, but the two issues combined make using a PC much more efficient. In fact, I’m now back on my PC to tidy up things like tagging and linking to other stories.

This is a shame, as I’d have liked nothing better than to not have to lug my laptop around to every press event I attend. Unfortunately, that’s not really a viable option – I still need my PC, and I’m sure many people feel the same way. If you’ve got a host of enterprise apps that aren’t tablet-friendly, there’s no way you’re going to be able to ditch your PC any time soon.

The ironic thing is that, if I was on a Windows 8-powered tablet, or a convertible Ultrabook, this would have been a breeze. But according to Gartner, it isn’t the Windows 8-powered tabs that are stealing PC sales – it’s the iPads and Android-based ones.

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