I made a post last year titled "The Year of the Tablet Computer". It is now over half way through 2011 and it seems the touch screen craze is far from over. Apple has released the second iteration of their iPad, we are up to our ears in Android tablets from various hardware makers and a Meego tablet or two might still exist before the year is up. I've played with the iPad a bit, I've used more than a few different Android tablets (I even own one for purposes of developing Bodhi for ARM) and I must say I'm confused what all the hype is about.
Beyond my Android tablet I own several other computers including a Sony Vaio Laptop, a Sager Laptop, an Asus Netbook and a Nokia N900. I've had the Android tablet for around a month now and I've found myself reaching for any of the other computers when I need to get something productive done. Even something as basic as light webrowsing just feels easier/more natural on a computer that has a keyboard on it. I know this is partially because of what I am accustomed to, but I find it annoying when I am using a device that already has a ten inch screen (or smaller) to have a keyboard popping up that takes up nearly half of it!
Now, I am not saying tablet computers are all bad. In fact if you are looking to take digital hand written notes they are an excellent tool. Other than this I have yet to come across a practical application a tablet does more effectively than any netbook computer. If you know of one - please enlighten me. Of course there is more to computers than just productivity as many of us know. Games can be a wonderful use for tablet computers. In fact I think half the time I spend using my tablet is when solitaire or some other touch-focused game is at hand.
In closing, I think tablets are great novelty items. If you have an extra few hundred dollars laying around and want a new toy - go ahead and pick one up. Just don't expect it to magically change your life or make it easier like many commercials would have you think. For purposes of getting work done a netbook is much better suited for those looking to own a tiny computer.