Difference Engine: Smaller is smarter

Part of our series with The Economist

Difference Engine- Smaller is smarter

WHO really needs a tablet computer? Fashionable as they are, such devices are neither fish nor fowl. Even when fitted with a fast cellular connection, tablets still make terrible telephones. And lacking a proper keyboard, a serious amount of storage and professional-grade applications, they cannot compete with even the lightest of laptops when it comes to getting work done.

Fortunately, for Apple and other tablet makers, the public thinks otherwise. Some 122m tablets were reckoned to have been bought in 2012—a figure that IDC, a market-research firm based in Framingham, Mas.

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