Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The year of the tablet? Wrong question...what's most appropriate?

Rob Bushway wrote a great post on “the year of the tablet” and I think he’s right on the money.  Our emphasis shouldn’t be on the tablet per se, it should be on the experience that ink and a convertible or slate form factor brings.  That experience adds significant productivity and even entertainment value.  Rob writes:

I believe focusing on "Tablet this" and "Tablet that" is really selling short the future of inking in a multitude of devices. The hardware will happen over time. What we are really interested in is transparency in inking functionality throughout the mobile experience from ultra-mobile device to 17" laptop, from Windows Mail to Outlook, to Search boxes to the Inking on the desktop. Whether that device is a slate, a convertible notebook, touch computer, or an ultra-mobile pc, it doesn't matter. We enjoy the ink experience and see the productivity benefits of it [emphasis added].

He’s on the button.  I have a passing interest in technology, but I have an abiding interest in what works to help me get stuff done.  Last week I was at our annual field conference in Slovenia.  During one free/meal time I showed up with my Moleskine journal instead of my tablet.  Someone asked me, “Oh, are you giving up on technology?”  “No,” I said, “this is just a better tool for this context.”  Normally, I always have with me either my journal, my Sony CLIE or my tablet PC, depending on the context…depending on what I need to do and where.  Today, for example, I spent the morning in a village looking over some home construction/renovation we’re doing as an organization.  I can’t take my tablet out there, but my Moleskine is perfect.  That’s where the mobile computer trend is heading: more and more appropriate for a given context.

Check out this chart that Rob included in his post.  It’s from the Moble Platform Division Briefing at Microsoft:

It’s clear that in the minds of the MPD folks the trend is only getting more “personal” more ubiquitous.  But focus is not on “tablet,” but on usability.  Bring it on. 

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