There's been some really interesting developments in the tablet world over the past years. When Bill Gates unveiled the Tablet PC almost a decade ago, Microsoft had high hopes that there'd be a chicken in every pot, if you will. Over the years we rolled out a new full Windows OS, handwriting and shape recognition in multiple languages, pen and ink input into any Windows application, markup for notetaking and other uses, speech recognition incorporated into apps, multitouch gestures, and more. Obviously, our high adoption expectations were a little premature, as sales over the years show historically. However, I am still bullish that our sentiment was right. Fast forward ten years, and Apple introduces their version of what a tablet is: single application use, super-fast on/off, good battery life, UI optimized for touch--a different version of the new animal. Most importantly, with a raucous cry of "Game On!" the challenge of tablet vs. Tablet PC built public awareness of the tablet form factor to its new level of interest and enthusiasm.
I firmly believe that the PC ecosystem will show that free-market forces will win out over single provider policy in this case. While I am sure that the engineers in Cupertino will continue to innovate, they can't scale to the brainpower and diversity of the entire PC manufacturing base. Witness the new models that are being shown this week at Computex, such as the LG UX10, the FIC Tycoon TVB00, and others. Or just look at the news. What we'll really see in the coming months will be consumers deciding what combination of functionality, price, and design suit thier needs. Do I want a quick media-viewing device, a robust computer with a full operating system and docking station, a fashion accessory, or some other solution? One thing do I know, though, is that more and more we will be using our fingers and pens to run these things. I thought it was the case in 2001. Now I know it for sure.