Are Tablets Fad? Microsoft Exec Doesn’t Think So
For the past couple years, the tech industry has been abuzz with stories about Apple’s iPad as well as the other handfuls of tablets making their appearances in a highly lucrative, exciting, but eccentric market. However, with the release of the iPad 2 there seems to have come a reality check for the industry. Reviews of the iPad 2 have been a bit more mixed, according to PC Business Center writer Katherine Noyes, which is a signal that perhaps the market is slowly reorienting and adjusting itself to these devices.
Noyes makes some good points in her article “Why Tablets Are Just A Fad,” namely that tablets aren’t as functional as similarly sized laptops, because they have less features and hardware and are still expensive.
Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, made a similar observation recently telling fellow lunchers at a meal in Sydney, “Today you can see tablets and pads and other things that are starting to live in the space in between (a PC and a smart phone). Personally, I don’t know whether that space will be a persistent one or not.”
Honestly, I can’t help but agree with Mundie and Noyes here. I recently purchased a Droid phone, the Samsung Epic, and it has provided me with everything I could dream of regarding connectivity, communication, apps, and other uses. It’s got a relatively big screen (4 inches) for such a device, which makes viewing all sorts of images free of stress, and like many other Droid phones, it’s operating system is painlessly intuitive.
And I say all this having used an iPad before; my friend loaned me hers for a day. For the first few hours, I couldn’t help but play with it, but, just like Noyes, I soon lost fascination with it. Yes, touching it was a whole lot of fun, but I didn’t find it incredibly useful compared to my laptop. This doesn’t mean that tablets are going to go the way of the PDAs of the late 90s; no, I simply believe they’ll become a niche sort of market that tech junkies will continue to have an interest in for quite some time. However, I don’t believe they’ll last their welcome in the mainstream gadget market.
Instead, we’ll see smart phones become more powerful and affordable than ever before. That, I believe, will be where the market goes in the next ten years.