When the tablet PC first came along, it’s fair to say that a lot of people that commentate on the industry were pretty sceptical. A device that’s a little bigger than a smartphone (that you’ll still need to have) and a little bigger than a netbook (but without that handy keyboard and extensive memory) – just where does this new thing fit into the grand scheme of things?
A year or so down the line and it seems many of us are still none the wiser, despite sales of tablet PCs such as the iPad continuing to rise. Simply looking at the tech specs it’s hard to see what niche these gadgets fill, or why anyone but a techy would want – or more importantly, need one.
But if you have a tablet PC around the house for a few weeks, you’ll notice a strange phenomenon: they just start fitting in and becoming part of the furniture. And herein lays the key to the future of tablet PCs. While they may not be the masters of any particular function, they are indeed a wonderfully efficient jack of all trades – a tech Swiss army knife that is set to play a pivotal role in the home of the future.
Tablet PCs are thin, light, simple to use and tactile. They are Wi-Fi (and often 3G) connected, with clear bright screens and a good battery life. Most importantly, they seem friendly and approachable too – a real plus for what looks set to become an essentially family tool going forward.
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1. The future potential of the tablet PC is as a device central to the home, connecting the myriad of more complex technologies that many members of the family won’t want to deal with at an advanced level. Whether it’s the kids, an elderly relative or just your common or garden technophobe, the tablet PC will become the go-to device for simple tasks from social networking and checking email to controlling the music system or television.
2. It’s great to be able to reach across the sofa and grab a simple device that boots up in seconds and gives you access to the internet – something that is going to become more and more important, as everything from health care, security/power and other smart home devices get smarter.
3. And that’s before you mention portability. Mum and dad watching something rubbish on the TV? No problem, grab the tablet PC and sulk next door to watch something else. Or, if you’re watching a show but really need to go out, just pop it in your bag and watch the end of the show on the bus. Live streaming internet TV is much closer to being a reality than you might think.
4. Many have described the smartphone of tomorrow as being the digital home’s remote control that everyone will need. But alongside it will be the tablet PC, the go-to device that is less personal than your mobile but always in reach with that nice big screen to meet all your quick-fix internet needs.