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I actually got mine to show pictures of my son when he was born. Then I realized that checking my email, browsing the web, and using the GPS map were extremely useful. If you've lived without it, then you're doing alright.
I have to admit they are useful, and for all the reasons you mention. However, the cost is for service is high. It is amazing that you cannot get somebody to spend $500 ons something that will last for years, but are not as hesitant to purchase a service at $50 per month.
Actually they pay a hell of a lot more. There are all the companies that are hitting consumers for monthly services, and then there are taxes. I really do not appreciate my good money being used for things I do not think neccessary. Some of this money is to overthrow foregin governments. I do not approve, so I figure I should not have to pay.
Those are the lucky people that have reasonably well paying jobs. There are all the people that wait tables, bus boys, dish washers, sit around the airport with TSA on their uniforms, on in their car with "Police" on the outside, do deliveries, sales clerks... And of course the unemployed (I mean all unemployed, not just the few official unemployed, retired... Of course they do not get paid much, so the cell companies are taking a good chunk of thier paycheck to provide service for that smart device.
These people have little need to have a general purpose computer as part of their jobs, but the internet is fairly important for everybody in their personal life for email, and to get information. It use to be that these people often had no access to an office phone, so were basically disconnected. For them cell phones have been great, especially if they have a job where they are mostly idle. Smart phones (and if they have space, a tablet), of course, give them even more connectivity for things like email. I do dancing, and some of the dj's use tablets, which works perfectly for that application also.
Most of my real work is done on a desktop or laptop PC but I do use my tablet from time to time for real stuff, For example:
Remote access to customer's machines when I don't happen to be near enough to a PC. I recently fixed a configuration problem on a machine in China using my tablet from the breakfast table of my hotel in Sweden.
Note taking in meetings (I avoid meetings like the plague but if I have to be in one at least I can do real stuff on my tablet in between note taking without anyone realising).
Producing and modifying on-the-fly finger sketches to discuss ideas and concepts with myself or other people.
That's all apart from the obvious stuff like email, useful web browsing (i.e. not Farcebook etc.), navigation, access to documents, creating draft documents, Skype and so on.
The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of the author, especially if you find them impolite, inaccurate or inflammatory.