Tablets v Computers v Smartphones

It’s a triple threat match to rival anything America’s best wrestlers can come up with. The computer has long been the undisputed champion of the tech world, but now two young upstarts, the smartphone and tablet, are challenging its supremacy.

Samsung believes the Galaxy Tab is a ‘complete communications solution’

Which gadget will emerge from the contest holding the title belt? Will the champion device finish the other two off for good?

Each device has different strengths to make it arguably better, or more useful, than the other two. So it’s difficult to predict whether one will come out on top or if there’s a place in a tech lover’s heart for all three.

Most people own a desktop PC or a laptop. It’s perfect for sitting down and writing a lengthy report and powerful enough to handle the most graphic-laden programs. Its ace over the smartphone and tablet is its keyboard, which is comfortable, easy-to-use and familiar to all.

Smartphones evolved from the humble mobile phone. Tech hungry kids wanted more from their mobile than just calling and texting, so now they can read books, record programmes and um… download an app to record themselves sleep-talking. All this and they’re still small enough to keep in your pocket.

Tablets had pretty much been written off until a couple of years ago. Touchscreen mobile phones grew in popularity and paved the way for Apple to launch the iPad.

It has since been joined by the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Advent Vega, while the Honeycomb-powered Motorola Xoom is now on the horizon. While not quite being pocket-sized, they’re easy to carry around and powerful enough to play HD video and games.

So can they all play together nicely? Worldwide, smartphones outsold PCs in the fourth quarter of last year. It would be reasonable to assume that most smartphone owners also have a PC. Many people replace their phone more often than their computer, making it difficult to draw any definite conclusions.

The real battle will be between smartphones and tablets. Why would you want to carry both around with you?

Smartphones can do pretty much everything tablets do, only on smaller screens. While 3G-enabled tablets can make calls, the bigger models are a little bit reminiscent of Trigger Happy TV’s Dom Joly shouting “HELLO?!” into an oversized mobile…

Expect manufacturers to begin looking for ways to marry devices. Motorola showed off its Atrix at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Atrix smartphone slots into a docking station complete with a Qwerty keyboard to create a netbook.

Meanwhile, HP has been talking up its Touchstone technology, so users can bump a smartphone into their tablet to transfer contact details, a web page or a document. Whether this is more useful than sending it over via a wireless connection or Bluetooth remains to be seen.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab offers a happy medium between smartphones and tablets and is already on the shelves. Equipped with a 7” screen, it’s big enough to enjoy a movie on, but small enough so you can put it to your ear to talk without needing to grab it with both hands.

Samsung has been bold enough to declare it a “complete communications solution” in an advert.

It’s difficult to imagine the PC being anything but central to our technological world for the foreseeable future. It’s where we back-up our smartphones and MP3 players. When there’s work to be done, we sit down in the office chair and get typing.

The line between smartphones and tablets has become blurred and it’s tough to see why you’d need two devices to do the same job.

The only thing holding tablets back is that making a phone call with one is uncomfortable. Yet with a Bluetooth headset you could take a call at the touch of a button without taking the tablet out of your bag.

The smartphone may have helped usher in the era of the tablet, but it should now be looking nervously over its shoulder.

Do you see a role for tablets, smartphones and PCs in the future? If you could only own one of the three devices, which would you choose? Comment below…