The Tablet PC: no top 10 for us and that’s OK


Dell_latitude_tablet_pcThis is one of those lists you don’t want your favorite device to be on: the 10 biggest technology flops of the last 40 years. Computerworld NZ offers up the ten flops and I don’t see any that you can argue there. Craig Pringle notes the absence of the Tablet PC platform and I’d add that the UMPC is missing as well. I’m slightly surprised by their omissions; not that I believe they should be list members, but because mainstream media has a tendency to equate both device types as general failures. Granted, this is only one list by one media outlet, but Craig smartly wonders if we’re turning a corner with Tablet PC acceptance. Sales don’t seem to be declining by any measures I’ve seen and new vendors like Dell are getting in on the market. Thoughts?



Almost forgot….Tablets are gaining acceptance only because the standard PDA is dying now being assimilated by the cellphone. Tablets are the only way to have a powerful device that can use a pen to take notes. Most smartphones are too painful to do this on thanks to slower processors that are in use. Anyone remember the Axim 51v? Why don’t we have 1 GHz handhelds? Well,now we do except they run a FULL OS instead of Windows Mobile.


The Newton was very important to the evolution of PDA’s. In fact, I frankly think jobs killed it at the wrong time. What Jobs should have done back then is get it even smaller then it was which wouldn;t have been easy but speaking for one who has actually tried the Newton, I think it was a genius device and laid the inspiration for the Palm and the Pocket PC. Without Apple’s “flop” of the Newton, we wouldn’t have had all these other devices.

Iridium wasn’t a flop, perse, but it was expensive and the handsets were incredibly large even compared to the cellphones of the time.

Paperless office requires devices that don’t run out of power. Last I checked, paper is always on and uses no energy once the bits are flitted on the paper. Until that happens, paper rules the day.

The Net PC….wow they could have said more about it. Technically, although not be the name Net PC, these are still around in the form of thin client terminals, Citrix terminals and yes, even the PDA and cell phones and yes the iPhone too can be considered to be Net PCs. After all, these devices may need software installed on them, but most come with everything that a Net PC had and more.

Allen Gutheim

But all these flops remind us their importance to the process of advancing technology. Many of them provided valuable learning experiences to later efforts. Some were merely ahead of their time. After all, a similar list in 2002 might well have included the excess fiber optic cable laid by the telecoms in the late 90s–today we are glad to have that capacity available!

John in Norway

After seeing all the rabid fanboyism for the crippled iphone I reckon the Newton would be a big hit if it was released today.

Was it an America only thing because I’d never heard of it until a few years ago. I would have been very interested in such a device in 1993.

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