Tablet PC a no-brainer?

Lora Heiny points to David Coursey’s article “Tablet PC is Stronger than Predictions Suggest” and loves his statement “My expectation has been, and continues to be, that Tablet PC will only sell in large numbers when it becomes a no-brainer to buy”.

This brings on the natural question– how do you make a Tablet PC a “no-brainer” purchase decision?  I’ve been giving this some thought and while my needs may very well be different than other users I know what would do it for me.  A killer app.  You see that mentioned a lot, that there is no killer app for the Tablet PC that would push prospective consumers over the edge.

The killer app that I envision is one that I think would appeal to many people from diverse backgrounds.  The program I would find very appealing is a collaboration tool that totally supports ink, audio and video.  Imagine having an online meeting with a small team and using a tool that provides a whiteboard that accepts text and ink, audio capability so the entire session can be augmented by a real conversation among the collaborators, and that can be recorded for posterity.  Throw in video and everyone could even webcam in the session.

The ink would really come into its own if you could bring in any Office document and create or edit it right in the tool.  Ink markups and annotations could be done by anyone in the session, automatically appearing in a different color that the convenient legend in the corner helps identify who wrote what.  Imagine working on Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents in such an environment!  To be really ambitious throw PDF handling into the mix and you would have a real “meeting in a box”.  The app should not be restricted to the same domain, you should be able to bring participants in from anywhere and painlessly network everyone into the session.

On the surface this sounds like a business tool but I believe it would be even more widely used in a personal setting.  Keeping in touch with family and friends would be great with voice and the ability to bring photos in to exchange and talk about.  I think this “killer app” would have an appeal for just about everyone if it was well done and was pitched just right.  What would your killer app be for the Tablet PC?

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