In his Tech Sanity Check Blog post, Jason Hiner uses studies by Barclays and Gartner as a basis for his prediction that 2011 tablet PC sales will reduce sales of Intel and Microsoft Windows-based personal computers. The Barclays study suggests that, rather than Tablets supplementing keyboard-equipped PCs, they will actually supplant them. Sales of Windows-based keyboard PCs will be reduced, and they will be replaced by the Apple iPad and its ilk.
While I agree there are going to be millions of Apple iPads and competitor products that follow in its wake sold in 2011, I do not believe that really means users and the information technology professionals who support them are giving up their keyboards?
OK, I admit I have a bias here. I have used the Apple iPad and I really don't understand what the appeal is. It does have a nice screen, but so does my notebook. It can play videos and music, but so does my notebook. I can check my stock portfolio, baseball box scores, and e-mail with a tablet, but I can do that already with my notebook. Tablets PCs don't do anything I cannot already do.
On the other hand, I have a keyboard on my notebook PC, which is vital to all my interactions -- tablets have clunky simulated keyboards that allow only the basic two-finger typing I stopped using way back in high school. With all due respect to Steve Jobs, there is nothing magical or revolutionary about the iPad or any Tablet.
I mainly use computers for two things -- writing and playing computer games -- both of which require a keyboard. And I don't mean games like Tetris, I mean serious hardcore games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Civilization. Tablets like the Apple iPad just don't cut it.
So the poll question I have is: Will you or your users really give up the keyboard for a tablet PC? Can you or your users really conduct normal day-to-day business with a computing device that does not have a keyboard? Will the tablet move beyond the niche markets where it has been proven to be effective to a broader user base? And if that does occur, are you ready to support it?
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Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.