After the Consumer Market Where is the Next Big Tablet Push?

Where's Will Tablets Boom Next?

Like most technologies that finally make it to the mainstream, tablet PCs and the iPad in particular are finding success in large part because they have generated huge amounts of interest from the average consumer. As is often the case, Apple’s first target was the average tech savvy Joe. But, we’re over a year into the tablet push (since the first iPad was released) and with the RIM Playbook now available, we’re entering a new phase in the “tablet boom” – the one where these devices start to infiltrate institutions at rapid speed.

For more than 20 years, technology has gone through a similar cycle – new things would hit the market, the technology would be refined and eventually consumers would get excited. Shortly afterwards, limited adoption in enterprise environments, schools, and other professional circles would pick up and whatever new device had hit the market would surge in sales.

Everyone owns a personal computer, but so too do school districts and corporate computer banks. There are millions upon millions of computers sold directly to institutions because they make everyday activities easier for their users.

Tablets are at that point. While the ecosystem is still evolving and technology is still adapting to provide the kind of infrastructure needed for an Android or Windows 7 device to be viable in schools and businesses, it’s starting to happen. Even with less than stellar (though solid) reviews, the BlackBerry Playbook is a big step forward in this movement.

Android technologies will continue to develop as well, allowing IT departments for corporations and school districts to integrate devices into their technology plans without sacrificing security and content oversight. Schools that now hand out laptops to their students may soon offer tablets (and some are already doing it).

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And once that happens, things will pick up even faster – we’ll start to see specialized devices that work for specific industries. We’ll see tablet PCs that are made specifically for reading eBooks and taking notes, tablets built for video conferencing and file sharing, and a growing interest in tablets that provide easy and secure access to medical information in hospitals and clinics.

I’m not stepping out on a limb saying any of this – the obvious next step is to take iPads and Android tablets, Playbooks, and Windows 7 Slates and start integrating them into offices, schools, and hospitals, but I’m excited to see what happens next. Whose technology will prevail in these settings and what innovations will we see to the way the technology is used? No matter what happens, it will be fun to watch!

 

  

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I will share an opinion which is just as much a question to you guys.
    I think and may be wrong – that this site is too blinded by the tablet technology to notice its really two types of markets.
    Mobile and pocketable market for 3-7″. Its a tablet with a phone and its mobile. The usage is outside the house or office more than inside. My preferred size is 5″.
    Home and office market of mid to higher range tablets 8.9-13″. Usually more indoor than on the go.
    As long as we will see them as same market something will go wrong. Like the Xoom and Honeycomb. The later market is much closer in my opinion to desktop. Making Windows 7.5/8 friendly to environments without keyboards will be much more intuitive than an Android thing. Then Android and iOS make a perfect OS for the pocketable mobile on the go.
    Just my opinion and my observation regarding your possible lack of insight around it.

    • Hugo says

      Hi TalBeno,

      I think we’re all entitled to our opinion, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been on a similar path to you, i.e. helping people define what, and why, mobile devices exist. Ultimately the confusion is assisted greatly by the manufacturers themselves. They are all trying to vie for the famous “second place” to Apple’s iPad and in doing so they’re tring to go for the “everything to everyone” concept instead of working on a niche – like Apple themselves did.

      Great comment mate.

  2. Cuhulin says

    I disagree with the comments about GBM and its writers. I think that at least several of them — I just don’t know enough about all of them to generalize — are very aware of the different markets.

    The things is that there are far more than two markets. Yes, the market can be divided between mobile and office-oriented. However, there are subsets of each of those markets that may have differing desires as to tablet features.

    Your main point, that there is more than one market, however, is quite corrrect.

    • Hugo says

      Thanks for chiming in Cuhulin!

      Ultimately to add to your point, it’s convergence which is creating the fudged line between work and play. This will lead to many more than 2 styles of computing. Great comment mate.

    • Hugo says

      Hi Dave_in_MI,

      I like tha idea that consumers might leave Tablets alone one day and real Tablets can get back to what they were doing, i.e. serving real needs. I like the price drop that the consumer space has caused but with that we have less quality devices running around. The add-ons you mentioned all make sense.

  3. Roger J says

    Maybe because I am in my 60s and have lived and worked outside the USA, I see things a bit differently.

    Since the mid-80s till into this century I think the PCs have been driven by enterprise/business/work adoption. The swing to consumer adoption as a driver started in the 1990s, but I guess the smartphone are now the big driver of personal computing. Only as I approach my post-working life will I buy compouters based entirely on leisure and home use, but then I am a one-man business.

    My own approach: I have a 2008 Toshiba Portege M700 (UK), a HTC WM 6.5 smartphone and share (well, tend to use more than my wife) a Galaxy Tab (Feb 2011 version).

    This week I expect to take delivery of my Galaxy S2 smartphone, sim-free (I work abroad in strange places and with sometimes questionable people) which will replace my WM 6.5 device. Its large screen should help me sufficiently to wait and observe the tablet device developments over the next few months. I have found Android on the Tab acceptable and the range of apps available sufficient (no games, just personal productivity, news, online shopping, reference stuff, GPS/mapping etc).

    What I want to have by the end of the year is:

    Galaxy S2 smartphone + work notebook (at home office or assignment office) + home notebook (at assignment lodging) + 7-8.9″ tablet with handwriting capability. All current critical data folders will be synchronised via Dropbox (I have over 6 GB available now). The tablet will become my on-desk/in-pocket notebook using mainly Evernote. Then i will be able to relieve the daily pressure on my back when I move between home/lodge and assignment office (except when travelling initially from my UK home).

    So far, only the HTC Flyer looks like making it as a handy notebook device. If I was not shelling out for the Galaxy S2, I might be tempted to get the Flyer on release, but will now wait.

    BTW, I will continue to use the Galaxy Tab for sofa-surfing and on short trips until my almost perfect notebook tablet (7″ seems best) arrives.

    • Hugo says

      Hi Roger,

      Thanks so much for making time to comment. Your feedback is crucial to the debate as you bring age – and with that experiences which can often be crucial to what will happen next. I like dedicated devices (for work, rest and play) so your story makes sense to me. I’m not sure that’s where the world is headed. WE MUST STOP APPLE, or we’ll end up with 5x devices we can buy. LOL.

  4. ChrisRS says

    The ProSumer market has not been addressed. The TabletPC sceeen (Windows) has been very static for several years. Overpriced slates, and clunky convertables have recently bee joined by a few underpowered (Netbook grade) tablets. ACTIVE DIGITIZERS are still few and far between. N-Trig is still marginal.

    The prosumer market is not likley to pay the premium chaged for business calss or verticle market grade compters. There is a middle ground that is not being addressed and coukld be a huge market.

    The Asus EP121 looks pretty good as a production TabletPC, but it is too consumer oriented. I can live with the battery life, but no docking solution, no Cat 5, no easy external monitor/projector connection, non user replaceable battery leave me cold. This has the capabilty to be a desktop replacement and is reasonably priced, but has too many short comings.

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