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8/5/2009
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Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Will 2010 Be The Year Of The Tablet?

Wired.com is predicting that 2010 will be the year of the tablet PC based on news of industry heavyweights jumping in the market. I see a lot of potential for tablet style devices, just not at the sizes people are talking about.

Wired.com is predicting that 2010 will be the year of the tablet PC based on news of industry heavyweights jumping in the market. I see a lot of potential for tablet style devices, just not at the sizes people are talking about.According to the article, Intel and Dell will be jumping in the market with a tablet device within the next six months or so. It won't be a full blown PC though. Their model is a subscription based service for downloading content, so think more in terms of a Kindle DX style product.

The article also mentions long rumored products from Nokia and HTC, the later of which will likely use Android for its tablet. Apple is also the hot rumor lately to be working on some sort of tablet, sort of like a super-sized iPod Touch.

Tablets aren't new. They have been around in one form or the other for about 20 years and Microsoft tried to take them mainstream with the Tablet PC in 2003. I swore when that thing launched my next laptop would be a Tablet PC. I've yet to own one, as have most people.

We've seen in science fiction how cool it is to walk around with a computing pad that does stuff for us almost magically with some finger strokes, but the reality is, people just aren't buying it. Full touch capabilities in devices like the iPhone work reasonably well for those devices. They aren't designed to replace any of your computers, but to supplement them and be your primary communication device. They must be small enough to fit in your pocket but have a large enough screen to be somewhat useful.

The minute the tablet is too large for your pocket, it is a problem. Now you have a device that you have to conscientiously plan to carry around. If you plan to keep your life on that device, it has to go everywhere with you. Easy for a smartphone to do but for something as large as a children's book? Not so much.

I am just not sold that we really need a device between smartphones and netbooks. Computers have the advantage, touch screen or not, of having killer input systems with touch typing keyboards and mice. You can use them with two hands while they rest on a table and get a lot of work done. For reading, a tablet can make some sense, as Amazon has shown with the Kindle, but for much else, I think it would get tiresome having one hand hold the device while the other does whatever work you are trying to get done.

What do you think? Are you looking for a tablet to supplement your smartphone and laptop combo?

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