Pushing the Boundaries of Technology in Tablets

Foreseeing what's next isn't easy

A couple days ago, there was a rumor that a Lenovo insider had revealed company plans to release a 23” tablet by the end of 2011 for home use. At first, it sounded like a joke, but then it popped up on a handful of sites and you started to wonder, could this be real? It turns out it’s not – Lenovo quickly debunked the rumor, and we all breathed an inward sigh of relief, because frankly a tablet that big would give people hernias.

Of course, other than a clever video on YouTube, we aren’t likely to see a 20+ inch device anytime soon, but we shouldn’t be so quick to write off anything that sounds too outlandish. There are plenty of people out there doing amazing things with multi-touch. I mentioned the Pranav Mistry touch screen anywhere system a couple weeks ago and Microsoft is experimenting beyond the boundaries of touch with their Kinect software.

Gesture control and screen-free multi-touch are probably a ways off still, but so too were devices like those we’re buying today or using for our phones. Imagine what you would have said if someone told you 15 years ago that you’d have a phone the size of a wallet that could start your car, pay your bills, or playback video for hours. You’d have laughed just the same.

And while the last 15 months have felt more like “let’s catch up to Apple” than “let’s build interesting new devices”, there are still plenty of companies out there trying new things and innovating in exciting new ways. Creativity isn’t dead by any means, but most of the big name devices hitting the market are a direct response to the iPad – beefing up their processing power and adding tons of additional features to compete, but not exactly pushing the boundaries of what we’ve seen in the technology.

Were Lenovo actually creating a supersized tablet, it would need to push boundaries. It would need to be portable, use one heck of a battery and be easy to move and dock for quick access. The fact that people are even thinking of potential products like this, even when chasing and debunking rumors, is exciting to me, because I think in a few years, we’ll all be surprised by what arrives.

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That we won’t see a 23” tablet this year isn’t as important as the fact that there are people out there willing to take chances and be creative in this industry. I’m extremely excited about tablet tech right now – and who knows what cool things we’ll see in the next few years.

What do you think? Could a device like this actually have been created? What other amazing things are you waiting for tablet manufacturers to come up with? And if we continue to experiment, where else will tablet PC technology be integrated in our lives?

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I’m sorry it was debunked.
    I hadn’t heard about that actually.

    I have been saying for a while that this will be a new form factor – 24″ to 26″ or so portable ‘tablets’.
    Whoever comes with it first, I really expect to see them on the kitchen walls of a good portion of the country ten years from now.
    Well – unless someone has pulled it out of its wall cradle/charger to set it up on the patio to skype or watch tv or type a paper.
    Or perhaps the kids will have it lying flat on the coffee table playing monopoly with their friends around the world.

    The sky’s the limit – but this form factor for a home computer is inevitable due to its flexibility.
    I suppose I should patent it.
    They shouldn’t give a patent for something so obvious of course – but that seems to almost never stop them from doing it.

    • Hugo says

      Hi AlsoSavageMike,

      You;re right on my wave length. I’m working on a 50″ multi-touch device for home entertainment. Keep you posted! Tablets (as a design concept) is about integration of components…and that will open them up to much more than just a handheld version. I guess when APple anounces it everyone will go “oh yeah!”. STUPID PEOPLE! ;-)

  2. DNel says

    Could a device like this actually have been created? Obviously the answer is “yes” they could be made because it wouldn’t be much different than an all-in-one touch screen PC. What I’m looking forward to in the new tablet space is the inclusion of active digitizers and more powerful/efficient “mini” OS’s (verions of iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) that can handle current desktop applications as well as apps while still being low weight and battery efficient. The ASUS Eee transformer gets closer to that ideal. What I see is tablet “lites” like iPad, Android tablets, Playbook, etc.advancing until they reach the level of current tablet PC abilities while Microsoft approaches it from the other direction with the inclusion of apps in windows-8 (what really pushes tablet growth) and makes it resource light and more efficient.

    • Hugo says

      Good comment DNel. We’ll see who bridges the gap first, and ultimately hits the sweet spot!

  3. Willem Evenhuis says

    I think a 23 inch tablet has it potential for usability. I do however think it will be most useful in certain specialties, rather than the general public. Good options are public cafes and restaurants for quick menu searches or the a quick look at when the next bus will arive at the corner. In the medical world it ben a nice interactive illustration tool to explain diagnosis, sign documents and recipes, and perhaps a portable powerpoint presenter screen for a small (educational) audience. In military bases a larger screen estate could provide a better presenting device for anotating strategic illustrations and video based on touch. In construction one could have a better overview of a blueprint and annotate it on the fly using touch and pen. For the media industry it could be used as a bigger canvas for artwork, etc.
    If Lenovo will actually do this remains to be seen. Lenovo however is known to be innovative. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave a bigger tablet a try.
    I do however think it is time for Microsoft, Android and iOS and others should invest more in making functional software for the tablet, including a better and richer UI for touch and ink.

  4. Hugo says

    Hi Willem Evenhuis,

    We’re all looking forward to Win8. Can’t wait! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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