Tablets, Readers, MediaPads, Netbooks, Smartbooks: What’s On Your Mind?

500x_courier8[4]In the crazy world of mobile tech things are getting even crazier it seems as we see new product announcements and rumors of what’s to come. The Age of the Netbook shifted the playing field when it came to mobile device. The iPhone led to another tectonic shift, and now if Tablet rumors are to be believed, Microsoft, Apple, and the Crunchpad are looking to shake things up again, and it looks like everybody and their brother is thinking Android on some category of device. Let’s not forget the growing segment of eBook readers either. That market segment is poised to explode in the next year or so as well. And to top it all off, or add even more confusion, PMP’s are becoming Tablets at the same time that Smartbooks are trying to carve out a piece of the Netbook pie. Heck, even the UMPC has gone zombie and come back to life.

It is all very exciting, even if it is a bit confusing. The one thing that is certain is that consumers with a range of needs will have a range of options to choose from. What intrigues me the most are the Tablet rumors. These devices have the potential for a lot of different uses, depending on how they indeed roll out.  Of course, they need to roll out for that to happen, and so far they are just mirages just out of our reach, but always pulling us towards. them. Face it, they could all prove to be vaporware. (Anybody heard anything on the Crunchpad lately?)

So, I’m curious and I want to know what you are thinking about all of this. There are a lot of exciting options coming our way. What intrigues you the most? How do you see these mobile scenarios fitting into your mobile life? Are you keen on having one device to rule them all, or do you see multiple devices handling different aspects of your mobile work and play?

  

Comments

  1. Mickey Segal says

    The main conclusion I draw from all the rumors is that some major players believe their competitors are planning to come out with enticing devices so they are leaking details of forthcoming products to get you to take a “wait and see” attitude once the competitor products come out. Presuming that these major players know more than we do about their competitors we have some good news in store; otherwise it is a vaporware bubble.

    One way to bring clarity to the proliferation of new mobile devices is to classify them by how you carry them around. The natural categories (using terminology from guys’ clothing) are:
    1. Pants pocket
    2. Jacket pocket
    3. Carry in hands or briefcase

    These categories will be hugely different in their capabilities, and there will not be one device that does all three categories because they have vastly different trade-offs. Different people will prefer different categories.

    The exciting thing about the Courier design and the rumored Apple tablet is that they revitalize the jacket pocket category. Since the jacket pocket category depends on getting the right size pockets in jackets, I am to some degree living a future scenario because I can get sport jackets with pockets of the size that I ask for. But the ability to have a decent size device in a pocket and use it as your main computer docked to a big screen at your desk is a terrific model, and I am glad to wear a sport jacket to get more power and screen size than with a pants pocket device.

  2. Rodfather says

    Things are moving quickly but I don’t see too many niche devices sticking.

    x86 based Netbooks will be around.

    eBook readers will pick up steam temporarily just because they are becoming very cheap, very quickly.

    Pocketable camcorders will eventually go away since it’ll be cheap to put the same functionality into a small PMP or phone.

    Tablets (touch or pen enabled) will remain a niche product.

    The UMPC/MID/phone/netbook/Smartbook space will be interesting and ever changing since ARM processors are getting faster and x86 processors are using a lot less power. Those two will clash and consumers will be confused with the various solutions.

  3. Ben says

    the book-like device is the most intriguing, but i probably wouldn’t have a real use for it, personally. i don’t take notes often or need a personal organizer (beyond my memory).

    i think i’d most like a small slate device that fits into my pocket, and that i can use to do a lot of internet browsing, emailing, and text-chatting. the couple of 4-5 inch android slates look pretty appealing for that. add decent voice recognition to that for the few times i’d need to enter extended text, and i’d be happy.

    ideally, i’d like to be able to drop this device into a dock at home, and be able to use my device on a large screen with higher resolution. baring that, i’d probably have a cheap (but more powerful) desktop home computer for file storage and TV/video. i’d like dumb screen-only terminals that connect to the central computer, for example, in the kitchen.

  4. Nameless says

    The Microsoft Courier concept is definitely on the top of my mind at the moment. It’s like a dead-tree notebook, only without all that clunkiness of paper and with all the advantages and functionality of digital. (Could use a hardware keyboard of some sort, though, but they’ll probably put some USB ports or Bluetooth in it.)

    As for pants-pocket-sized devices…well, I’ve been consistently disappointed in my search for a worthy HP iPAQ hx4700 replacement. The Samsung Mondi is just about right in terms of hardware, but the price is still a bit high and I’m waiting for someone to fix all the software issues with a cooked ROM.

    (Of course, it doesn’t help that only Windows Mobile offers the functionality that I seek out of a pocket computer.)

  5. JimAtLaw says

    I’d just like to see a fast tablet running one of the new i7 processors, multi-touch, Windows 7, and with any luck, a decent GPU. Too much to ask?!

  6. Nameless says

    Hey, I’d also love a nice, convertible Tablet PC that could chew through Crysis maxed-out without a hitch, but with current technology, they won’t be able to do that without overheating, making the system too heavy to comfortably hold up, or having a battery life of ten minutes-at best.

  7. Medic says

    I think it is all vaporware untill a real live version of a tablet by Apple or Microsoft is shown. Don’t forget than apple is also busy depveloping the iPhone 4GS and that Microsoft is planning to release 30 models of smartphones for the upcoming windows mobile 7. There is still that patent selling sense in the air waiting to be deployed form january 2010. If the folding tablet and apple tablet were to be realeasd now (which I would prefer), I think it would be an expensive marketing strategy. I don’t like that companies use this method, but that’s business.

    I just hope microsoft get’s it right. I think microsoft is making a right move in investing in inking technology. They’ve improved inking in windows 7. Hopefully they can improve the technology and software apllications in terms of performance and functionality, even more with the idea of the folding tablet.

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