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The Future of Tablet Computing

Peeking Inside the Future of Tablets

When the iPhone came along it revolutionized the smart phone industry. Has the iPad done the same for tablets?

Put simply, ‘no’. But a better way to look at it would be, ‘not yet’.

By now most people should understand that tablets are the next wave of multi-purpose devices that everyone will soon have. Cell phones have been around for years, but everyone used a desktop computer or laptop because the “smart” phone was just not very capable. Then Apple came along and changed the game with the iPhone. Now smart phones have progressed to be incredibly useful devices that just about everyone has.

But where do tablets fit in to the market?

Well, the revolution has started but things look to be a bit slow for another year or two. The iPad is an amazing piece of equipment. Because of it, there is a tablet industry to speak of. Initially both the Nook and the Kindle were just a cute idea until the iPad blew away people with its capabilities. Now, everyone is looking at tablet devices as the future. We finally have a piece of equipment that matches up with what sci-fi movies have been showing us for years; and people can’t get enough of cool toys like that!

However it is still a small market. Apple is leading the pack, but many people are bothered by the big price tag. Even at $400, that is expensive enough to scare away the more casual consumer. But the competition to the iPad is still a bit limited due to operating systems. The Android based market will be where many good tablets will come from until Microsoft enters the fray.

So if you are a developer how does this affect you?

If you make applications then you should be working overtime right now to get on board early and often. Right now the tablet market is ripe for the picking. You have to look at the iPhone for your guidance on the proper blueprint to follow for development; skip hardware aspects and focus on creating ‘must have’ applications to help enhance the user experience (the exact opposite of what happened at the initial iPhone release). That will make more people want to purchase tablets just to use the cool application.

When the iPhone first launched it was very powerful, but there were limited applications so while sales were good, it was not overwhelming. Now, the massive number of quality applications is what keeps drawing new users. From a technological standpoint there are great options for other phones such as a Galaxy or Android, but the iPhone has so many more well known and publicized applications that people want to be able to use.

The Blueprint for Developers

You need to get in now. Creating unique and undeniable content will allow you to then partner with vendors because users will be clamoring for what you have to sell. Look at Angry Birds as a model of what a single application can do for a developer. They launched in December of 2009, a full 2 years after the first iPhone release. But they ended up selling over 12 million copies because at the time there was nothing as captivating or interesting available.

People are going to buy a tablet based on what toys it has to play with. They aren’t going to care as much about the operating system or nuts and bolts. It will be a case of applications and usability. Well designed programs with an easy-to-use interface will be a huge key to a positive user experience. Obviously Apple has a big advantage because the iPad can draw on that huge existing library. But other tablet makers won’t be as lucky.

That market is ripe for the savvy developer who gets in now and creates the next big thing, even if it ends up being for Amazon or Samsung. In the next 3 to 4 years there could easily be an additional 250 million tablets sold, if not many more. That looks like a whole lot of customers that are going to want something fun to use on their shiny, new devices.

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