Tablet Features Two Years from Now
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Tablet Features Two Years from Now



There have been a lot of words written in the last week about the iPad 2’s upgrades and how they stack up to the other tablets hitting the market this year. By now, we have a general idea of what hardware upgrades we will see in the next 6 months. But, I’m starting to think long term. The announcement that a Windows Tablet OS is still at least a year or more away got me thinking about what features users can expect in the hypothetical (but very likely) iPad 4 and its litany of competitors in 2013.

Quad Core Processing?

This is the year of the dual core mobile processor. The Tegra 2 and A5 are both set to boost the speed of tablets considerably. Phones and tablets alike will soon blaze through email, web surfing and games faster than ever before.

Asus just announced a quad core processor with 3D capabilities for release this year, and as prices come down on that chip technology, you can bet it will be integrated by other brands as well. What does that mean for the tablet experience? With additional RAM, we’re looking at full multitasking, dynamic dashboards, and far more advanced apps than we currently have.

Battery Life

Apple set the bar for battery life last year with the first iPad. 10 Hours. That’s what everyone strives for right now and not every manufacturer is even able to hit that mark. But, as time passes, expanded battery life is something we’re sure to see. The chipsets will become more efficient, the screens will utilize less power, and you will finally be able to use your tablet on a complete international flight without needing a charge. Will it happen by 2013? It would certainly be nice.

Enterprise Execution

This year is when most corporations will research and test which tablet ecosystem is right for them. Apple claims that 80% of the Fortune 500 is doing so right now with the iPad. Android is likely on the same track with its easy integration of Google Apps and more flexible platform for IT oversight. Then there is the Playbook, which will probably arrive very soon and plug into the existing network of 250,000 BlackBerry servers.

Enterprise execution will drive even further innovation in tablet security, cloud applications, and enterprise apps. It is unlikely Apple will open up the App Store for IT deployment anytime soon, but there are plenty of other things they can do to support the growth of enterprise interest in the platform.

Constant Connectivity

Within two years, 4G networks will have been deployed and marketed in most major regions. All tablets and likely all smart phones will work on 4G and your tablet will never again be disconnected. There will still be WiFi only models, of course, but even WiFi is more accessible than ever before.

What’s really interesting to think about is the kind of Apps that will sprout up with constant high speed connectivity. Video conferencing is here now, but what about real time document collaboration, online gaming, or university classes being taught via tablet?

What Else?…

It’s impossible to know for sure what the next two years will bring. Manufacturers are rushing to the market to produce a tablet that can compete with Apple’s juggernaut. That alone will drive innovation in ways we can’t realistically guess. Things like the Pixel Qi screen, 3D display (and camera) and clever new convertible devices are all hitting the market in 2011.

Dream big here folks. Tell me what you’re hoping for in future tablet technology– what you would like to see more than anything on a tablet PC? For example, I was enamored with the heads-up display computing demonstration put on by Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry at TED a couple years ago. I love the idea of having a 3”, 7” or 60” device whenever and wherever I need it.



  1. Fastangel

    03/11/2011 at 5:59 pm

    Umm… it’s of course… INKING! Just when everyone (company) forgot about inking by simply copying the iPad… and BAM! Apple will introduce inking-capable (i.e. much more precise) tablets/iPad versions, definitely within 2 years. And consumers will go “OMG! This is amazing! Inking on tablets! Genius!”. And it will go mainstream at last. This is so predictable it’s pretty stupid.

    • Tatej

      03/11/2011 at 7:50 pm

      As much as I love inking on my Motion Tablets, everyone around me seems to think I am nuts taking notes on a tablet. If fact, I have never met another person that inks on a tablet or sees any value in inking on a tablet. So I question if we will really see inking as a mainstream feature in the future. I sure hope we do.

      • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

        03/12/2011 at 12:13 pm

        @Tatej: I think it’s clear many of us share the passion for inking. It’s also true that Microsoft never really promoted it properly and therefore with the might of Apple’s marketing power it may make inking a reality in mainstream. Would be great. (I think though it is still hard given schools are now so laptop focus it may be a rude shock to see the pen back.)

    • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

      03/12/2011 at 12:11 pm

      stangel: Great comment mate. I love the irony in the statement. So silly it’s true, so true it’s silly.

  2. Quentin Dewolf

    03/11/2011 at 8:22 pm

    Nobody has a good clear understanding of what tablets will be used for in the long term. I love my windows tablet but understand others reluctance. Ipad and android tablets seem to riding on the “cool new gadget” bandwagon. what i have not seen yet is an evaluation of the true use. Are people using them on a daily basis? Would they throw away their laptops? Are you realy going to carry phone, tablet, and a laptop? Are they just browing the web and reading email?

    • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

      03/12/2011 at 12:15 pm

      @Quentin: Statistics tell us you’re right, i.e. at present most Tablets do very little more than entertain. I hate needing three device but at this stage it is necessary (IMHO). I am loking forward to a “real” Windows based iPad2 competitors, i.e. power, battery life + real computing functionality. AND NO iTUNES!!! (Sorry, last bit was me venting a little) :-)

  3. Reuben Mezrich

    03/11/2011 at 11:53 pm

    Wouldn’t it make sense to go back to the idea of the convertible tablet, but one based on a combination of the MacAir (with it’s light weight, reasonable keyboard, reasonable power) and the iPad (with the great touch capabilities and all those apps). Actually, I can’t understand why the wizards at HP and Lenovo are falling all over themselves to copy the ipad when they should take advantage of what they can do and deliver a light, energy efficient, version of the convertible tablets they offer now. They don’t have a chance of succeeding by copying the iPad..they would have a chance by going off in a different, and better direction

    • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

      03/12/2011 at 12:17 pm

      @Reuben: SO TRUE!!!! I can hear you yelling “bring back the TC1100” like so many of us! LOL.

    • Anonymous

      03/13/2011 at 1:43 am

      It’s saying something that on iPad 2 launch day (yesterday), the FedEx guy showed up to deliver my new Tablet PC. Something more portable than my Gateway E-295C in weight, bulk, and battery life terms, not to mention a far better screen. Something that would actually be pleasant to use as a Tablet PC again, like the HP TC1100 I had before.

      That something is an HP EliteBook 2730p, and it’s doing a pretty good job of it.

      I’d still like something with the iPad’s size and weight with a Wacom digitizer for note-taking and OneNote-grade software, but such a device just hasn’t shown up yet (partially because the Courier never entered production).

      • ChrisRS

        03/13/2011 at 4:23 am

        Asus EP 121 is as close as you will get. No DOCK/Port replicator or Cat-5 network connection a problematic

      • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

        03/13/2011 at 10:07 pm

        @Nameless: Like you I love the idea of better screens. Let me know how you go with the iPad2!

    • ChrisRS

      03/13/2011 at 4:20 am

      I have had three convertable and would much prefer a slate . There are better ergonomcally. UNfortunatly slates tend to be underpowered and overprices when compared to a convertable.

      The Asus EP 121 is pretty close. Total lack of doking/port replacator and not Cat-5 network connector are glaring omissions.

      • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

        03/13/2011 at 10:06 pm

        @ChrisRS: I’m a slate sort of guy too. Once secdon-gen “i” processors get involved in thinner slates, then it will be a “good idea”. Like many announcements this year the EP 121 may end up being “just another” slate announced. How the winner gets defined may be by way of their added features. Being a slate alone is now not enough. Like you the lack of port replicator sucks.

  4. Paul

    03/12/2011 at 3:04 pm

    If you’re going to ink, you need a pen. I stopped writing with my finger the day I got out of Kindergarden.

    • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

      03/13/2011 at 10:08 pm

      @Paul: LOL! Apple has always stated it’s not their intention. We’ll see what happens though.

      • Paul

        03/14/2011 at 11:28 am

        Ya, I know, and that’s one reason – I have others – why I won’t buy Apple! What did Steve say?? “If they have a stylus then they’ve got it wrong”. I’ve been using tablets for years. I was using Microsoft Transcriber on my ipaq 3270 about 10 years ago! A stylus, or pen, is an essential part of the ‘tablet experience’. So here I am patiently waiting for the next version of Windows Mobile and a 7″ tablet that has a pen!!

        • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

          03/14/2011 at 11:42 am

          I Agree Paul! A pen is totally a key part of what a Tablet is. Some people tell me an iPad is not a tablet and it’s plain silly talk…defending the branding, or marketing terminology, of one company versus another is weird! You’re right, the pen is key to what a tablet is.

  5. Anonymous

    03/12/2011 at 10:49 pm

    What features would I like new tablets to have? Besides Inking, I’d like USB OTG. FM Receiver/Transmitter. NFC. Cellular Telephony. GPS Upgradable Memory. Ability to run other OS either on boot or virtually.

    • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

      03/13/2011 at 10:09 pm

      @Kingstu: these are great ideas!

  6. Dave_inMI

    03/13/2011 at 12:42 am

    Asus jumped the gun with their EP121 Slate, putting first-gen Core i CPUs in them. Of course, they should be able to switch to second-gen Core i’s pretty easy for the EP121-2. Nice looking slate once you get past the CPU & battery limitations. I’m looking forward to the reviews of the just announced Thinkpad x220 convertible. It’s heavy, but it seems to have it all (2nd-gen Core i, long battery life, big SSDs, improved graphics, IPS screen, Wacom pen). The technology’s here for some great Windows slates. They just need to downsize it a little and optimize the OS for the format.

    Some predictions for the near future:
    HD Pico Projectors – imagine a 7″ slate able to project a 21″ image for video viewing.
    Laser (projection) keyboards – stand the slate up, project keyboard on surface, type.
    Touch panel keyboards – thin, flat, programmable LCD-touchscreen (could replace all keyboards).

    • Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC

      03/13/2011 at 10:10 pm

      @Dave: The projector scenario is one of the best features I see coming! I love the idea of integrated projectrs – especially for travel and for business users. Thanks for the comment mate!

  7. VuLN

    03/19/2011 at 4:01 am

    I am really glad I read this article! With this it has really helped me with my decision.

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