From time to time in the consumer electronics industry I see fundamental shifts in the adoption of technology.
Over the last couple years, I have seen a major surge in people inquiring about and buying tablets. I say this is a fundamental shift because tablets are not new technology by any means. In 2000, Microsoft announced a portable PC that used a stylus and touchscreen as it’s main points of interaction. So 12 years ago we had access to tablet style devices — why did it take until 2010 for the devices to really catch on?
There are a couple reasons for the delay, weight and performance being primary concerns. Through the early 2000s, batteries were still very heavy; now we have access to Lithium-ion batteries which provide a very high capacity (required to power the huge screens on new devices), and are much lighter than their predecessors. On the performance side, it was just a matter of time that we progressed to smaller more efficient processors, which means less wait time when you tell your device to do something. At this point we are also waiting for the price of touchscreens to come down.
On to 2007 — still three years away from tablets being the new “it” thing. We have our processor power and our battery life, and touchscreens have come way down in cost. We have all of our hardware, now we need a way to control it. Enter the Apple iPhone. The new interface was not only very intuitive, but great to look at and responded logically to what you wanted to do.
Then we hit 2010. Apple announces the iPad and the CE world goes insane over the device. Really just a bigger iPhone; Apple’s current pull in the market as leader of must-have gadgets firmly entrenches the tablet as a legitimate business segment.
Now we find ourselves in the present day of 2012. Apple is not the only player in the tablet arena, with multiple devices running Android OS (operating system) and now Windows 8 RT. Each OS has its advantages and pitfalls and, of course, each OS has it’s own dedicated fanbase that usually doesn’t have anything nice to say about the other options.
So there you have it — a quick historical rundown on tablets. Do you have a tablet already? Are you looking for one?
And in case you thought having a tablet in your car might be cool, take a look at this: wimp.com/tesladash. New tech and cars, two of my favourite things!
If you have any questions, or ideas of what you would like to see me cover in this column, throw me a line.
Aaron Mackenzie is a new columnist with The Valley Echo and the sales manager at The Source in Invermere. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.