The Future of Tablet PC’s (updated)
Thankfully, iPad mania died down pretty quickly after the release of the latest iPhone. I found it a little hard to believe that the device was cover material for major magazines of the Newsweek variety, especially given that tablet computers such as the iPad have been out for several years now.
The genius behind Apple and the iPad has not necessarily innovating new products, but taking a product that is already out there in some form but clunky and making it slick, easy to use, and marketable. Face it: the iPod started out as a fancy .mp3 player, and the iPad started out as, well, a blown up iPhone/iPod conglomeration. Tablet computers such as the iPad have been available for years. Heck, even my mother-in-law has one. However the software has never really been able to make use of the potential these PC’s had, and they ended up just becoming gimmicky, expensive laptops.
But now that it’s here, the iPad has definitely changed things. Even if it doesn’t become as ubiquitous as the iPod, the ripples its introduction created in the industry will be felt probably for decades. Already the markets are filling with iPad clones which run Windows 7 as well as other operating systems, and in some cases the cost-per-feature may put them ahead of Apple’s iPad.
Take the ASUS Eee PC T91 for example. It not only has a touch screen powered by Windows 7, but it also sports a full keyboard that allows you to use it as you would a netbook. One of the iPad’s chief complaints has been its on-screen keyboard with it’s lack of feedback and weird feel. That alone earns it an extra star. Plus, the ASUS offers 20 Gb of online storage, 3G wireless support, a TV tuner and GPS support. All this for around $400 online.
Yes it lacks things like Apple’s app store, and Windows still may not be your cup of tea, but for someone who wants to integrate seamlessly into their current Windows environment, this is the way to go.
Android is also giving a big boost to the tablet market, in keeping with the idea of the tablet basically being a great big smartphone. In fact, most tablets out there run on some iteration of Android. Prices on Android tablets are also very competitive, and now that some cellular carriers are including tablets along with phones in their promoted (and subsidized) products, they are becoming much more mainstream.
Microsoft also apparently sees big things ahead for tablet PC’s according to information on Windows 8. MS sees laptops as the new desktop, and the tablet as the new laptop.
Chances are pretty good that Microsoft will support tablets to the point where they will finally be able to live up to their potential. Chances are good that Microsoft will finally catch up with Android and Apple to see the potential in tablets that already exists today!