Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 - The Year of the Tablet?

Looks like 2010 will be the "The Year of the Tablet".

Let's forget for a moment that Bill Gates himself has been trying to push the tablet PC concept for almost a decade.

Apple is scheduled to present its rumoured iTablet device soon (not to be confused with the smaller 7" iSlate eBook reader), and some say Google itself will launch their own Tablet as well.

As always, some say these tablets are doomed from the start, while others think this will actually be the right time for tablets to be successful.
Who's right and who's wrong? Your bet's as good as anyone else's.

Let me just remind you that some people also though it would be impossible for Apple to jump into the cellphone/smartphone business... and just three years later look at the impact the iPhone has had on the market. So, if anyone can do the same kind of thing for tablet PCs... maybe Apple won't be such a bad bet - bue let's keep in mind Apple has experienced its share of flops before...

So, what's different now?

Well, for starters, hardware is a lot cheaper now. While 10 years ago (and even 5 years ago) having a portable "powerful" computer with a quality touchscreen and reasonable battery life was insanely expensive, today we can have much lighter and powerful hardware at a much more reasonable price.
While people wouldn't even consider buying a "tablet" for $2,000 to toy around, having one at $400 or less will certainly make it a lot more appealing as a 2nd/3rd/4th computing device.

But... the hardware is just half of the equation for success. The other part being: the software!

No matter how we look at it, most people still think of the mouse/keyboard as the key components for interacting with a computer. The iPhone has shown that interfaces can (and should) be made to allow efficient use with touchscreen interfaces; and the same needs to be done in any coming Tablet if it expects to have any kind of success.

I believe the future is all about connectivity. As devices grow more powerful - and/or turn into simple "remote access" devices that access remote servers running our "real computers" - computing might just turn into a "screen real estate" choice.

I'm happy with carrying my iPhone - it does most of what I need. Though, I might need a bigger screen sometimes, which would be the fabled "tablet devices" that are soon to come.
It would be nice if the device could be automagically synced to my iPhone and any other computers I might have (or use cloud based services to manage that automatically.) So that, no matter what device I used, a smartphone, a tablet, a "traditional computer", or any other, I wouldn't have to worry about my data being here or there.

Maybe the coming Apple tablet can wirelessly sync with my iPhone... that would be a nice touch. Just as we'll need solutions to prevent us from needing multiple 3G data subscriptions (one for the iPhone, one for the tablet, etc. etc.)

Well... guess we'll have to wait and see. 2010 sure will be exciting in this area! :)

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