Tablets Bring a Wind of Change

In addition to a new experience for content users and content producers alike

When I think about new technology, the words “smaller” and “faster” pop into mind. One of the turning points that stick out in modern times is when the laptop computer became popular. It hasn’t replaced desktop computers, but it did make them less desirable. The laptop was smaller, and thus, didn’t have to remain stationary like desktops. Laptops became ideal for business professionals who travel often.

One of the other big changes in technology was the creation of broadband, high-speed Internet. Dial-up Internet connections quickly became obsolete as the same online tasks could be done in a fraction of the time. This breakthrough also helped the advent of multi-platform and media-rich content, where new tablet devices like the iPad can gain an audience.

Tablets

The iPad has been the first tablet to make waves in the technology industry. It has already been reported that the iPad is “cannibalizing netbook sales” according to Asustek. The company has been tracking netbook sales and seeing them fall short, mainly because of competition from the iPad.

When you compare the likes of a netbook and a tablet, it isn’t too surprising to believe. Both are designed to bring Internet access on the go. Netbooks are smaller versions of laptops that include the same usability and hardware features. Unlike netbooks, tablets do not incorporate a keyboard. Tablets are controlled solely through the act of touching the screen.

One major difference between the two is that tablet computers are designed for a rich media experience. If you believe Jakob Nielsen’s philosophy on Participation Inequality, then you’ll agree that 90% of Internet users are lurkers who do not contribute to the overall landscape. I personally don’t like the term “lurker” so I prefer to consider that 90% “people who enjoy content found on the Internet but don’t actively participate”.

The iPad, and one can assume all other tablet devices to come, allow those 90% of users to experience content easily, wherever they go, in multi-media ways.

Tablets competing with the iPad

Found in the same article that discussed the iPad cannibalizing of Asus netbooks, the company is stepping up their approach and focusing on a tablet PC segment with their Eee Note and Eee Pad series.

Additionally, Motorola and Verizon are teaming up on creating a tablet PC that will be based on Google’s Android operating system.

Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft will also be developing a tablet PC later this year that’ll run on the WebOS.

Furthermore, to join the growing list of competitors, Best Buy’s Chief Technology Officer Robert Stephens posted prototype pictures of a tablet the company is working on and claims that it will be much more affordable than the iPad is.

The list of competitors goes on, but what does this mean for content producers?

Content producers and tablet PCs

Since the iPad is currently the only tablet device making an impact on the market, a good place to begin focus would be on apps that can work on the platform. They can be media rich and offer a great experience to desired audiences. As new tablets come out, it will be worth seeing what the compatibly is between them, and how well received they are by the public. After that takes place, content strategies can be changed to best fit the publisher, the audience and the device that will be most beneficial to the content.

For more on building apps and the devices that use them, join us for our iPad and iPhone Apps for Publishers webinar today, August 24th at 12:30 ET.

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