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.