Will Tablets rule the future?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently announced the start of a new, post-PC era, declaring that Tablets such as the iPod might be replacing PCs just like ‘old trucks were replaced by modern cars’. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer reacted by saying that PCs are undergoing many transformations and tablets are just one of the experimental forms we will see, adding that the PC market has still a lot to grow.

As an experiment Keith Smith, Senior Consultant and Adrian Polley, Technical Services Director take the sides of Jobs and Ballmer and discuss the two different viewpoints.

Are Tablets the future? 

It’s a strong possibility.

Keith Smith, Senior Consultant

Nowadays there is an increasing need for light and easily transportable devices, which are at the same time aesthetically pleasing. From this point of view, Tablets tick all the boxes: they offer flexibility and mobility in use as they are not restricted to a keyboard, and because of their shape they can be used in places or positions not conducive to a notebook such as in bed, standing or with one hand. Apart from this, what differentiates Tablets is that they give users the possibility to write directly into the device using their own handwriting, which is something normal laptops do not allow. Users can then share their “ink”, the data which is input and displayed as handwriting, with other tablet and non-tablet users and integrate it with other business applications, for instance Word. There is also the option of using the traditional mouse-keyboard combination, although the elements have to be purchased separately.

After the warm welcome the iPad received, it may prove difficult to go back to portable PCs as we know them. This is especially because the Tablet offers the “touch environment” which makes navigation easier than notebook equivalents of keyboard, mouse and touchpad in certain situations, and offers faster input for creating diagrams or playing games.

The fact that users can use a stylus to input information, which builds on peoples’ traditional use of a pen, makes it even more accessible as for a lot of people it is easier to use than a keyboard.

The functions that characterise Tablets make it ideal for personal use first, which may then leak into the business world when issues such as security will be properly addressed. Although a lot of work still needs to be done, especially to gain credibility in a business environment, Tablets can be seen as the first step to a technology that is minimal, versatile and why not, democratic.

 __________________________________________________

I don’t think so!

Adrian Polley, Technical Services Director

There is a lot of fervour around this ‘innovative’ piece of technology, but contrary to what many seem to believe, Tablets are not so shockingly original, nor can really be considered the anti-PC – there have in fact been PC-based Tablets since 2001. These are generally standard Laptops with a rotating screen that can be used to write on, so that they have the general functionality of a laptop with the convenience of a pen-based device. This device was lauded as the natural successor to the laptop, but even though marketing enthusiasm has increased with both the Windows Vista and then the Windows 7 launches, take up has been relatively small compared to overall laptop sales. The dual functionality made these types of Tablets considerably more expensive than comparable laptops, which could be a reason for their limited success. There is commercial appeal in the iPad because of its ease of portability and accessible price, but these are both possible because it lacks traditional PC or Mac components. This might make it lighter and sexier, but does it meet normal functionality needs?

There is a major issue with Tablets that concerns user input.  In spite of 20 years’ worth of development of voice and handwriting-based input, the vast majority of user input to a computer is still done via the keyboard, which is considered to be fast and accurate. The lack of an equally efficient means of input into a Tablet device relegates it to those tasks which are primarily consumer based, such as viewing and interacting with content that is provided without having to input a lot of information.  This may suit consumer applications, but only a certain class of business applications. Until the input problem is resolved, Tablets will always be an item in the business world that is niche and not mainstream.  As has already been proven with PC-based Tablets, users are generally unwilling to pay the premium required to get the Tablet functions on top of a standard laptop, let alone to lose some of its main functions completely.

Apple’s Tablet may have sold to millions of technology fans, but widespread day-to-day and business adoption is probably not going to become a reality anytime soon.

Disclaimer: this is a role-play exercise and may not represent the writers’ real views on the subject.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to “Will Tablets rule the future?”

  1. Forrester Projects Tablets Will Outsell Netbooks By 2012, Desktops By 2013 | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  2. Sinecta.com Says:

    Will tablets surpass netbooks in two years? (Christopher Null)…

    The tablet revolution is just getting underway — Forrester Research estimates that 6 percent of computer sales this year will be in the tablet format — but watch out: By 2012, the firm figures, tablets will be outselling netbooks/mini-PCs, gobbling……

  3. Forget All These Android Tablets, Let Me At That Chrome OS | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  4. Phones? Set-Top Boxes? Tablets? As Apple And Google Fight, Amazon Quietly Lurks | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  5. Video: Sharp Announces 5.5-Inch And 10.8-inch Android Tablets | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  6. Apple Mocks Smaller Tablets, Dashes Hopes For iPad Nano | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  7. Google Studies How Consumers Shop For Laptops, Netbooks, E-Readers And Tablets | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  8. Google VP: Chrome OS Coming To Tablets & TVs; Windows And Sys Admins Going Down | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  9. Come On, People, Let’s Get Convertible Tablets Right This Time | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  10. OMG/JK: Where There Are Tablets, There’s Love | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  11. Adobe: Flash Coming To Android Tablets “Within A Few Weeks” | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

  12. Analyst: Non-iPad Tablets Will Be Collecting Dust On Store Shelves | Startup Websites Says:

    […] Will Tablets rule the future? « Plan-Net's Blog […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: