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I'm a big proponent of the Tablet PC form factor (Convertable over Slate) The CES show unveiled a number of new Tablet PC's.  Some people claim this is the movement for tablets to go from niche market to mainstream.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/186281/the_dawn_of_the_tablet_pc_ces...

Also just unveiled is the iPad.  Not sure how powerful this things going to be for graphics applications which is one of the main reasons to get a tablet (Wacom or Tablet PC).  Looks more like a Kindle or iPhone on steroids.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/27/live-from-the-apple-tablet-lates...

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The real benefit to a Tablet PC is for those who have a need to do a lot of had written work or art. A contractor who needs to do a sketch of a job site can do that on a tablet and transmit wirelessly with other forms back to the office. He can find out before leaving the job site if he missed anything. Compare that to doing a paper sketch, driving back to the office and possibly realizing at that point he needs to return to the job site to do more sketches. With the time and money saved, the Tablet PC easily makes up for itself in a couple of months or less.

Similar would apply to the medical, archeological and architectural fields. Artists have turned to graphics tablets for years. Any artist who uses a graphics tablet will tell you that it takes a while to get the hang of drawing in one place while looking in another and for that reason it doesn't replace pen and paper. Tablet PC's change that. You draw where you see.

If you've never uesd a Tablet PC for artwork, it's a world of difference. I did storyboards and concept sketches for an animation using my Tablet. It saved a ton of time digitizing, organizing and making changes to hand drawn images.

The disappointing part about the iPad release is that they focused on mundane uses for it. I agree, browing pictures, reading e-books etc are probably not good reasons to buy an oversized iPhone. It didn't show whether or not the iPad could handle the applications that Tablet PC users really need.
Sadly, a lot of people tend to go with trends. I agree, cool technology for the sake of cool technology is a waste. I had high hopes for the iPad. I'm primarily a PC user for the general cost and flexibility but I've worked extensively on Mac's and I know they have solid hardware (just pricey with gimmicks). I know they're people yelling blasphemy in both Mac and PC camps right now.

I have yet to see the work side of the iPad.

The Tablet PC has its place but since I haven't had time to do a lot of artwork lately, it's become a little less relevant. The majority of my note taking and mobile computing are now done on my smartphone. In fact that when it was time to upgrade, the first thing I thought of was upgrading was my smartphone.

I still see a place for Tablet PC's for the average user. Maybe not everyone and maybe not yet. I don't think the average computer user would make full use of the capability or, as you pointed out, even the understanding.

BTW, as a heavy smartphone user, how has the Android operating system been and how does it compare to other mobile OS'?



Brian Russo said:
Yeah I have winmo tablets at work for that sort of thing that we deploy out. Similarly I have a friend who's a graphic artist and has one of those wacom tablet display things. They're pretty cool.

But those are niche markets and tablets have been doing fine in that sector for the past decade.

Personally I just bought the new motorola android and it does everything I want. Solid email, messaging, web browsing, etc. I see absolutely no reason to purchase an iPad and only know 1 person that wants one - and I have a lot of mac-happy friends. The general consensus is that it's disappointing and they don't know what they'd use it for.

So while I see a continuing explosion of smart phones - I see very little use for tablets outside of established niches. The bottom line is this - you can't carry them around with you all day. So that means they replace home computers.. but they're not as capable and I think even your average consumer has some understanding of that. And even then.. why buy one over a laptop?

This is a fundamental problem with techy people. No matter how "neat" your service or product is - if it does not have a use it does not matter. A lot of us don't get that.

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