Tablets need better exposure

Yesterday’s reveal of a digital magazine system from publishing and media giant Time, Inc. hit news outlets well beyond the tech and gadget blogs, and reaction has demonstrated to me that, even with the buzz over the mythic Apple tablet, news outlets beyond the tech and gadget blogs don’t seem to realize that tablet computers already exist.

There are quotes and phrasings here and there stating or implying that Time’s “Manhattan Project” is intended for the Apple Tablet with nary a mention of existing tablets (even though the live demo was on an HP tx2). But this one from The Huffington Post takes the prize:

Even though tablet computers have yet to hit stores (and Apple won’t even confirm its mythical “iTablet” exists), Time Inc. has unveiled a prototype of what Sports Illustrated would look like on an interactive, touchscreen tablet.

True, we don’t see a lot of tablets in stores, but even if you don’t count online retailers, they certainly have hit stores.

Now, I could take HuffPo to task for not doing their due diligence, but that doesn’t address the core problem, which is that many people still haven’t seen Tablet PCs and similar devices in stores. Despite all the multi-touch buzz and its promotion in Windows 7, tablets are still a rare sight in the stores and those that are there are often displayed no differently than laptops. I’d guess a lot of folks just see a laptop with a higher price tag and move on. Probably a good chunk of people out there have seen a tablet on the shelf and just didn’t know what they were looking at. Small wonder then why so many are looking eagerly for the mythic Apple tablet while ignoring the tablets that are already here hiding among us.

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at]


  1. This is SO true. Taking my tablet anywhere out in public showcases this fact. People always look at it wondering where in the world I got it. Then again, a 2730p is even’t available in the public stream of consumer goods, so no one knows about it besides people who already do. Once you showcase them a tablet’s abilities though – browsing, handwriting recognition, note-taking, and any of the numerous features, they’re simply amazed.

  2. This is the same problem that we’ve been hashing for years. Most people won’t know tablet pc’s exist until they show up in retail stores, and they won’t show up in retail stores until the retailers see a demand for them. Catch-22. SOMEBODY needs to advertise the tablet and what it can do.

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