If you follow Craig Pringle's blog you may have seen an article titled "Now is the time for Tablets." Not only was the article very cleverly written but it did what all good articles should do, it inspired thought! Some of the famed responses were:
- Warner, with Craig Pringle: Now Is The Time For Tablets
- Then Layne with The Cosmic Forces of Mobility, which then caused Rob to:
- The year of the tablet? Wrong question (GottaBeMobile)
While I didn't join in on the debate I did find the topic, and everyone's input, rather intriguing. If you look at all the articles it isn't difficult to see that we're actually all sharing one very important common thought, i.e. Tablet PC is on the rise and not vice versa.
Today I thought I'd wade in on the debate as a friend decided to forward me a hardcopy of an article written in "The Australian," titled: "CIOs struggle to keep staff". While the article itself is of little consequence to the Tablet PC space it was interesting to note one omission from the online version of the article. When I received the attachment I found a small survey, conducted by IDC Australia, titled "Forecast For Management Survey 2006". As part of their finding IDC chose to look at Hot Technologies to 2008 of which the findings therein reminded me of the Pringle Affair... So what did IDC find?
Hot Technologies to 2008/Forecast Growth
- Voice and voice over IP: 179%
- Tablet PCs: 87%
- Sales force automation tools: 84%
As I perused the attachment, and looked back over Craig's article, I must admit that 2008 felt more representative of my conclusions, more so than 2006 does. Since the release of UMPC I've fielded 10 - 4 0 phone calls per day on Ultra mobile PC (and therefore Tablet) as a productivity tool. Not only have I had to explain the idiosyncrasies of UMPC but more interestingly still I've had to educate most of these callers primarily on what is Tablet.
Today we're living in a world where the number one feature that makes callers’ pickup a telephone and enquire about UMPC is its size/processor ratio. While I too see UMPC as a great tool for software, wanting hardware, "bigger than a PDA and smaller than a laptop." What I find disconcerting about most callers is that too often they overlook the power of digital ink.
What I'd like to do today is ask anyone considering UMPC to also consider the power of digital ink; we must always remember that the ability to take handwritten notes, therefore allowing them to be printable, emailable, shareable, erasable and editable, is also the ability to empower free thought. While most companies find it difficult to understand this concept (mostly because they're focused on UMPCs’ size) I think the easiest way to describe this concept is by looking at the "additional comments" box found on most paper forms. Giving people the ability to ink additional thoughts, or diagrams, gives your software the power of free-speech. Never underestimate the ink!
So why do I think 2008, and not 2006?
I believe that between the time it takes a company to research the implementation of a new product, design/redesign software for it, roll it out, rework the software, re-rollout, rework and rollout again, we will definitely see ourselves stroll past 2007 and therefore well into 2008. Look at the EO and Samsung for example; the eo, with late deliveries on all orders, and the Samsung, still trying to decide where and who to sell to, are both prime examples of time rolling by. We're in late May 2006 and the key players are still the OEMs and the Software Developers. Until the key player in this space becomes the consumer the whole Tablet-thing won’t generate enough attention for anyone to deem it a success. Right now we’re in the hands of the Software Developers as they work on that one killer-app that will take UMPC from a clever idea, to a household/executive necessity.
My only advice would be to start sewing Tablet seeds now, because when 2008 rolls around it will be too late for anyone not already involved. I'm cuddling and hugging lots of new Partners so that my 2008 end of year party can raise my champagne glass to Tablet, and not spend the night grumbling about it as another great idea that lost its place in the world.