Why Get A Tablet PC?

    August 10, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Bill Gates was a long-time advocate of the tablet form-factor, and those devices have evolved in functionality and construction; all they lack is a mass audience.

From the geek perspective, a tablet PC is a pretty cool device. Modern ones like those made by Fujitsu and other manufacturers can be used as a modern version of the slate tablet, or by pivoting the screen operated like a conventional notebook computer.

Taking a look around places where one normally sees portable computers and their owners at play, like the library or Starbucks or Panera Bread, and it’s notebook after notebook. I’ve yet to see one outside of a display case.

It seems as though tablet PCs should take off. There is some demand for them in a couple of distinct vertical niches. If the very first Tablet PC concept were announced today, it’s easy to imagine people seeing them as useful for the healthcare industry.

Financial industries like insurance should take right to them as well, and a few have. Multitudes of forms can be rendered into electronic form, and that stylus can replace the ballpoint pen as the sign on the dotted line choice.

Both of those industries have one thing in common – paperwork. Let’s face it, we’re no closer to a paperless society than the Cubs are to winning a pennant. But anyone who has ever been admitted to a hospital or signed up for life insurance knows that the need to sign here, initial here, and date this here on paper persists.

I tend to think it won’t take off until Apple releases a tablet PC. It may take the equivalent of a Photoshop on the software side to drive that adoption, but if Steve Jobs and company can bring the artistic crowd into the fold, other ease-of-use-first customers could follow.

This week marked the tenth anniversary of Flash technology, now owned by Adobe via its purchase of Macromedia. Wired News reminded us that Flash began as an application called SmartSketch, an illustration tool made for the stylus-driven Tablet PC.

Maybe a return to the past, with ten years of technology advancements coming along for the ride, will turn the question of “Why a Tablet PC?” to “Why the heck not?” instead.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.