lundi 27 décembre 2010

Tablets are very nice devices, but still gadgets!

As of Q3 2010 (Q4 fiscal US), Apple sold 4.19 million iPads worldwide (Reuter) which was found a little deceiving, while others like have a very optimistic view on the future of tablets predicting that by 2012, 12,8% of US population (including children, elders, etc) will own a tablet. Forrester even predicted back in June that tablets will outsell netbooks by 2012 and desktops by 2013.

And tablets are THE hype item nowadays, started by the iPad, followed by the Samsung Tab, Motorola, Dell, Toshiba, etc., Microsoft vs. Android vs. iOS, etc... there's plenty articles on those topics those days.

But bottom-line, did anyone ask himself those questions:

- Can a tablet replace a portable PC?

For quick presentations to the customer, yes it can do the job. To do quick emails, browse Internet, videos, images, etc, yes it can.

But can you write a book (or just a simple Word document) on an iPad; create and edit the presentation, store all your content (usually the hard drive is now around 500 Go), connect in a secure manner with VPN to your office, run Sage, edit that video in a professional manner, design a web site, etc. The answer is: NO

So yes, for the few who never really used their PC for something else than what the tabs do; it will replace it; but for most, it won't. You still need a PC (or Mac!).

- Can a tablet replace your phone?

Yes, you can call with some tablets; but are you going to get rid of your phone because you now have the iPad 3G or the Samsung Tab? Probably not.

Tablets are thus nice devices, but they come more as a "gadget" rather than an evolution of something existing. Seems like history is repeating itself; the MiniPC was surfing on the same trend: mobile access to web and multimedia; not as "attractive" as can be tablets, but same needs. And guess what, it didn't perform as expected.

So will tablet sales roar? 

Yes for sure, obviously. There's a huge market to grab overall, even if in each country only a fraction of the population will be able to afford their price of this additional device; because on the contrary of smartphones which replace their previous phone; a Tablet for most won't replace other devices.

In a similar manner, touch-screen TV or computer screens (all in one, etc) have been on the market for a while already, they are not performing as expected.

I'm personally very fond of tablets for having used quite a few different ones already. But on a personal level, I find the price still to steep to justify the purchase and it will certainly not replace my PC or my phone. I'm sure few articles will come out in coming month or two about their performances in Q4.

It's thus important for all of us to remember that and for all those prediction makers to keep their feet on the ground.


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