Rob Bushway of GottaBeMobile is bored with the Tablet PC. More accurately, Rob is bored with the lack of innovation in the Tablet PC space and laments the "wow" factor he experienced with the original Tablet PCs when they were introduced a few years ago. I see where Rob is coming from but I see the state of the Tablet PC a little differently than Rob.
I agree with Rob that on the surface most of today’s Tablet PCs look like their forebears but in fact they are quite different. We now have a number of Tablet PCs available with Core 2 Duo processors and 2 – 3 times the memory than those original Tablets offered. To me this is a big deal and means that the Tablet PC is not only unique in the functionality offered over notebook PCs but also is now powerful enough to meet virtually everyone’s needs. This was certainly not the case with the first generation Tablets. I understand Rob’s feelings, though, as this hardware advance is not a visible one and quite frankly we should expect hardware evolution like this. But I do find that these powerful Tablets are just as capable as their inkless brothers, something that the first gen Tablets were not and were soundly thrashed by the critics as a result. The innovation through evolution is there and it is important to me. We also have more choice than ever before with Tablet PCs now available in all shapes and sizes, with keyboards and without, touch screens or active digitizers or both.
Rob is correct in grousing over the prices of Tablet PCs but I’m not sure what anyone can do about that. Tablet PCs are supersets of notebook PCs and they will always cost more as a result. They have more hardware like active digitizers and more recently dual digitizers and this has a cost. I can offer this POV though, my recent search for a high-end powerful notebook PC opened my eyes a great deal about notebook pricing. I was confronted with paying $3,000+ to get a powerful full-featured notebook PC that could function as a desktop replacement. We read about sub-$1,000 notebooks all the time and it makes us think that powerful notebooks are dirt cheap but nothing could be farther from the truth. Compare a $3,000 Tablet PC with a comparably equipped notebook PC and I think you’ll find the prices pretty similar. I’m sure you can find a notebook that’s cheaper than the Tablet but then you won’t be able to write on the screen of the notebook.
I think the lack of a "wow" factor as Rob puts it has more to do with the dearth of Tablet PCs in the enterprise. Every single week that rolls by I have at least one or two people come up to me and tell me they "want one of those" while pointing to my Tablet. They watch me leverage the productivity of the Tablet PC every day and they realize they would benefit greatly from using one. They can’t, though, as they are quick to tell me, because their company doesn’t offer them to employees. I hear this litany repeated over and over and it’s something I hope changes soon. I am hoping that Dell’s rumored entry into the Tablet PC space will mean that enterprises will start making them available as an option for their employees. People who see the Tablet PC in action see the "wow" factor that Rob is lamenting. They just need an opportunity to get their hands on one.
BTW, this post was produced by dictating the text to my Tablet PC. This is an awesome feature of the Tablet PC and now all Vista PCs that most people overlook.