Many think that tablets have evolved phenomenally and are at their innovative best now. But we beg to differ. Our feeling is that many of the innovations are yet to come, particularly in the enterprise sector. A year ago we saw every existing consumer electronics brand competing to debut a tablet every week. But, judging by today’s trend, tablet is no longer a novel range for any electronic brand. Still, we are yet to see a tablet widely used in public to take pictures, or for work we do with our smartphone. We hereby venture some predictions about “what next?” in the enterprise sector of tablets, based on some rumors, conjecture, and assumption.
Faster, thinner, lighter
Regarding the design part, we are fairly settled with the slate form available for now. Although occasional variations in the base models still make some waves, the market has reached a maturation point as far as the design aspect of tablet PC is concerned.
But many bespoken tweaks in models targeted at particular customers will be appearing now and then. A notable example is Asus’ Transformer with its keyboard dock. Also, we have witnessed innovations like dual screens. But the lion’s share of the market, apparently, is going to be glued to the slate/clipboard tablets in the near future.
It can be safely predicted that tablets are going to be faster and thinner. Though many look with awe at the high-end features packed in the super-thin and sleek designs from Apple and Samsung, we don’t think that this is their limit. We won’t be surprised if we see in the foreseeable future full-color, paper-like roll-able displays, akin to the sci-fi movies.
Little expectation on the hardware attributes of the tablet doesn’t follow that it is the same on the software front. We anticipate many surprise changes in the software sector. As Apple has popularized touch UI among the masses, we expect the same to happen with its new `Siri’ voice recognition product (or similar facility in other tablets).
It may not be ideal for an enterprise user to check out the nearest Chinese restaurant by voice query. But they would appreciate an interface that interprets the spoken business jargon queries from them. We already have Calendaring and dictated e-mails facilities. However, it would be really alluring to be able to ask your device to “Pull up this quarter’s P&L” and have that interpreter layer equipped to browse your enterprise financial package, run the correct query, and dump a spreadsheet.
No, this is not another nostalgia-pumped expectation for a touch stylus. A sharp Pen technology would be more ideal for activities like drawing, annotating documents, note-taking, completing forms, etc., rather than chunky fingers. But with the enterprise sector at stake, tablets will soon look into providing a smart Pen technology which was considered irksome in the past. Pen technology, if suitably integrated with the latest touch and voice technology, can really augment the tablet experience. Though we have some options of the same in the current market, they appear less than viable. It would also be better if many applications are developed around Pen-based collaborations.
With the present evolution of the tablets, the market is less concerned about the nuances of the various processors in the average computer. Now, any moderate processor is capable of running more than the current business applications, and is abundant in tablet-processing power and storage.
We are sure that these three speculations we have made are something more than mere assumption. It would be good if the electronic giants start experimenting with their innovations from their small-scale tablet devices at the earliest. It will help them iron out the wrinkles in software interface and prepare the current enterprise sector to be acquainted with these innovations.