So I took a look at Robert Scoble’s entries from last night and he says some interesting things. Of course he sounds exactly like you would expect a guy in NEC Sales to sound, which makes you wonder if he’s being honest or just a corporate shill, I’ve met Robert and I think he’s probably being honest. Not that I agree with him, but I think his feelings on the Tablet PC are his own, and not his company’s.
Here’s where I disagree with him, however, Tablet’s have been done before, badly. Granted I haven’t had the opportunity to play with the latest Tablet PC’s, but it seems to me they are still lacking. He assumes that people want to write to communicate and I don’t think so. The greatest thing to come out of the PC age is not having to deal with anyone’s handwriting any more! That’s been as big a boon to communication as the tech behind the internet has been! How much easier is it to type an email than to write an note? And that’s assuming the handwriting recognition works as it’s supposed to, which from all accounts, it doesn’t.
No, the problem here is that the Tablet makes you relearn how to use a computer. That’s not good! That’s something we should be moving away from, not towards! PC’s, in part, became so popular in business because they are similar to using a typewriter, you didn’t completely have to relearn how to do everything. He even admits he had to practice to get his handwriting better and that was a frustration. Consumers, and business markets, both want something that can be used out of the box, with no frustration! That’s where the real advances in technology are going to be, not in something that forces you to learn a whole new way of using your PC before you can enjoy the benefits of it.
As far as Tablet’s pushing Pocket PC’s out of the marketplace, that’s insane. The major benefit of the Pocket PC is it’s size. I can throw my Dell in my coat pocket and have it everywhere, no luggage required. I can leave all the accessories sitting at home to be used while I’m there, and take the little PDA with me on all but the longest trips. Tablet’s don’t have the size advantage to be truly “mobile” in the same way, and they don’t have the desktop/laptop advantage of keyboard/mouse input, which is easier to communicate with and navigate the PC with.
He predicts the end of Pocket PC by 2006, I predict that by 2006 Tablets will be, along with Segways, gathering dust in the back of people’s attics just like every other gadget that served no purpose other than as a geek status symbol. Both serve no purpose in the sense that there are cheaper, easier alternatives that have already been established in the marketplace that accomplish the same things. Pocket PC and Palm already cover mobile computing at a much cheaper price than Tablets (and will get better at handwriting recognition in the next 3 years) and bicycles cover the environmentally-friendly, short distance travel at a much cheaper price than Segways.
Of course, I could be wrong as well. 🙂
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