The Business of Business
Like it or not, a large part of computing is for business. When the iPAD came out many executive-types bought them. They are cool, light and mobile. Very shortly, however, all of the tablets left the office and never returned. Why is that? I mean, they are soooo popular! Well, here it is in a nutshell.
1) Try swiping your finger across the screen 8 hours+ every day, all day. Not a lot of fun if you are used to resting your wrist on your desk and moving the mouse around. So I see an erogonomic disadvantage. Try this yourself with your monitor at work (if you can reach it). Most of these people are on their systems ALL day long because that is their job.
2)Tablets, as well as smartphones and laptops are easily stolen as they can fit in a newspaper or a trash can. No, I'm not saying all cleaning staff that come in at night are theives. It's just harder to catch them.
3) Sometimes, you have to run real applications. Many, especially legacy applications that businesses may not have the money or source code for a re-write, are needed and just don't work on any tablet. There are few applications for tablets to access the mainframe.
4) Where I work, 98% of the workers are not "travelers". They have no need for mobile computing and most are NOT allowed to telecommute. We have very critical data and most of that data is NOT allowed in the cloud such as medical patient data (HIPAA rules), Criminal data (CJIS), credit card information (FACT act).
5) A lot of places don't have or need WIFI due to the above reasons.
Picture businesses with hundreds of people per floor and see if you really think that these people need mobile computing. Maybe for a sales department or for consulting I can see it.
So, John, while there may be this craze out there you need to ask yourself the simple question. What is it that you need this device for? Especially if it won't fit in your pocket.
As for e-Readers, I don't think a lot of Kindle people will be giving up their e-readers. iPADs and other tablets (even the kindle fire) are difficult to see in direct sunlight. People, like my gf, like to read out by the pool in direct sunlight (especially here in California) and you need e-ink for that.
What it really boils down to is this: first decide if you really need one. Then weigh the cost and remember that they are not easy to lug around even if they are lightweight. The "cool factor" only lasts just so long. Also remember that any application that runs on your PC does not necessarily run on a laptop. Or, even if there is an app, you might not enjoy using it.