Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is there a future for tablet computing?

I got asked yesterday what I thought about the statement made by Thorsten Heins ,the Blackberry CEO, that tablets are not a good business model. Mr Heins claimed that there will be no need for tablets  in five years and consequently the news sources have said he’s either a complete loony or a wise technological sage. “So is he completely barking?” I got asked by this friend…. Well yes and no.

As you may have read in an earlier blog, one of my future predictions is that technology will become more complex and yet more usable (complex in the number and types of devices and systems, usable in their interfaces), with the speed of change only increasing too. This speed of digital transformation should manifest itself in the ability of technology suppliers to design, build and launch devices much quicker… meaning they are both more responsive to customer demands and able to plug identified gaps in their products portfolios.  In effect… this all means that we should get more devices, more quickly and doing more things in more ways (that’s a lot of ‘mores’!).
So what does this mean for the tablet, a market sector that has only really existed in its current form for only 3 or so year? Well in my opinion it means the complete fragmentation of the tablet market into a range of smaller, bigger, wider, slimmer devices that more closely fit the task(s) required of them.  The computing market has been in a state of flux for some while, with different machines rising and fading in popularity as processors, displays and batteries all increased in specification and capacity.  So will the Tablet continue to exist? Yes, in the short and medium-term. But in the longer terms...  the tablet as we know will it evolve and diversify until the word means as little as “personal computer” does these days.

Note: I was wrong about the take-up and scale of the iPad market when it launched. I could therefore well be wrong now...

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