Some analysts anticipate a foggy future for netbooks (little and cheap laptops with poor computational power, just enough to surf the web, read emails and “use” MSOffice), they predict a quick demise of this market segment. Indeed, these are very limited objects without any ad hoc written software, but think about it, what about using properly designed software for bigger displays and some more CPU Power (has anybody tried to use the last version of MS office on a 10″ screen??) ?
Furthermore, by the end of January (probably on 27th), Apple will announce its new Tablet and according to rumors Google and others are working on similar devices based on ChromeOS.
What tablets will do that netbooks cannot?
First of all, as I wrote before, they will have purposedly designed software, software written with these and only these devices in mind! This will mean that we will see applications capable to take advantage of the real capabilities of these objects bringing a new level of usability to applications and data never seen before. (you can have a small size real example just looking at iPhones).
The tablet will be a newly innovative tool with touchscreen interface, outstanding ease of use, best of breed connectivity, good audio and graphic quality, easy to carry along (thinner and lighter than a netbook), sporting e-book reader and multimedia player functionalities. These features will be appreciated by a larger number of users, and just like happened Nintendo Wii we will start to speak about “casual” users: people who experienced difficulties in using other computing equipments will find this devices very attractive!
Early adopters (count on me 😉 ) will be consumers and the first usage will be very layman-like (games, videos, music, books, and so on) but I think we will see professional/enterprise applications very soon: pre/post sales support tools, field support tools (i.e.: manuals, video and applications for technicians operating on field), a new kind of electronic commerce with in-app e-commerce (think about catalogues/configurators for companies like IKEA) and so on.
Indeed, a revolution. A vision from years ago finally becoming reality!
Applications will be easily searchable for, downlodable and acquirable just like you can experience now with iPhones or Android Phones on their Stores!
This brand new ecosystem will be a market arena for few (probably Apple and Google) but there will be a lot of room (really a lot!) for who will be offering goods and services through these devices and, of course, for software developers!
From an enterprises point of view it will not be very important to use tablets as clients but to develop applications to propose services and goods that customers can buy comfortably from their home or just from wherever they are. Some days ago I used an application for iPhone/iPod to manage your food shopping online, with home delivery too, (I was impressed it is very nice and useful) and only if you’re short of imagination you cannot already think about what will be possible to do with larger screens, more graphics and power!
This is going to be the future and you will need more powerful infrastructures to manage higher quality of services and data growth. Are you ready?