Monday, January 04, 2010

What's the Next Big Thing?

This blog post isn't exactly related to Amplio's product development or audio, but eventually it might be something we all use.

I think the next big thing will be tablet PCs. Because of Steve Jobs and Apple, the tablet PC will get a lot of attention in the coming month. Rumor has it Jobs will make a big announcement around January 27th. There have also been reports that Apple has ordered 10 million tablet PCs from their Chinese manufacturer. Some people have been calling it the iSlate.

I think these will be a cross between a Kindle-like eBook and a netbook or laptop with touchscreen capability. Not sure if these will be powerful enough to play HD content, but I wouldn't bet against it considering all the choices out there for inexpensive 1080p capable graphics processors. Add in a USB2 port and these tablets will be useful little music players as well. Wireless USB2 would be pretty cool.

Just like MP3 players and the iPod, Apple will probably be credited with the Tablet PC even thought they're not the first. No doubt they'll popularize it because the mass media doesn't follow these sort of things until the Apples or Microsofts of the world make big announcements. HP, Lenovo, Fujitsu, and Samsung have all released products that they refer to as tablet PCs, but these are really more like laptops with swivel touchscreens. I think Apple has probably studied this category for awhile and figured out what works and what sucks, like they did with MP3 players, and they'll come up with something that will be a significant improvement both aesthetically and functionally over those I just mentioned. I doubt Apple's will include a keyboard.

The tablet I'd really like to see come to market would be something like the "Courier" from Microsoft's research labs. A few videos demonstrating the Courier's capabilities showed up on the Internet a few months ago. Here the first article that I discovered on Gizmodo. Here's the second article. I think the Courier's UI is really nice. Hopefully, we'll see it on real products.

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