[Infographic] What people want from a Tablet

This is a guest post by Leon Baker, a consultant, working for online marketing and research agency Mavens of London.

As we all know, the tablet market has grown wildly in the last couple of years – with major manufacturers shipping millions of units – to the extent that some doomsayers predict the downfall of the traditional PC market. (Of course, it must be remembered that doomsaying is fun).

Long, long ago, back when portable devices were more limited, the issues involved in buying one were fairly clear-cut. You needed n hours of battery life, and a weight that wouldn’t pull your jacket out of shape; and they stored your address book.

Now, however, with tablets rivaling laptops in power, they are reviewed and advertised on a large number of differentiators; speed, screen size, battery life and more. But we were curious; which of these qualities were really being perceived as important?

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Review of RIM’s Blackberry Playbook

One of the latest entry into the Tablet market is the Blackberry Playbook from RIM.

We know of RIM’s primary market to be the Enterprise users and its Blackberry continues to enjoy a strong foothold. However, of late, the rapid adoption of Apple’s iPad by Enterprise users have set RIM in motion to come-up with a competitive product, the result being that of the Blackberry ‘Playbook’.

Well, the nomenclature ‘Playbook’ itself sends a signal that RIM is not solely targeting the Enterprise users but willing to spread out to the more ‘playful’ crowd vis-a-vis the youth and the younger generation-y.

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Microsoft, desperately putting ‘The Best Tablet-Foot Forward’

It can only be a company of the stature as Microsoft that can continue battling and trying real hard to make it big in every field that it enters. No matter how much competition it faces from stalwarts like Apple, Google, etc. in the Tablet market (which is dominated by iPads) Microsoft is bent on making it big here too. This time the idea is to run a demo on using the Windows 7 Tablet at CES 2011, wherein Steve Ballmer is reportedly said to showcase Samsung and Dell devices along with other manufacturers. The focus this time would be to encourage partners of Microsoft to develop apps that emphasizes on HTML5 and these apps will be hosted on Microsoft’s website rather than being sold through specific agents.

Rumors doing rounds suggest that the Samsung tablet to be portrayed in the event will operate with Windows 7 in the landscape mode and will possess another OS interface while in the portrait mode. When asked to comment on any of the above news, spokesperson Sarah Reid, who works at the software giant’s public relations agency, Waggener-Edstrom said, “Microsoft makes it a practice to not comment on rumors or speculation.”

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The iPad 2 – just round the corner?

According to DigiTimes, the Chinese company that makes Apple’s iPad – Foxconn has been told to ship the iPad 2 in the next 100 days with initial shipments of 400,000 to 600,000 units. This translates as expected shipment of Apple’s next-gen iPad in February followed by a launch in April. While this report may be true there is no guarantee since it doesn’t make sense for Apple to launch a new improved iPad just months after the holiday season. Foxconn has declined to comment on its products or clients.

What’s the Hurry?

Will you hold out for the next iPad? And how about consumers who just got an iPad or are planning to get one during the holidays? Many Apple fanboys believe that Apple wouldn’t launch a next-gen iPad so soon. There is ample supply of iPads in stores and Apple will want to move these units before it brings in the successor. Will talk of an iPad 2 make you think twice before buying the current iPad? In my opinion it makes logical sense considering the plethora of tablets hitting the market and Motorola’s model tablet featuring Android 3.0 as UI coming soon. RIM’s Playbook is also aiming to play spoilsport.

What to Expect?

Rumor has it that a 7′ model is on its way and a new size won’t cause many issues beyond a few optimizations from App Store developers. On the other hand, it will help iPad reach a lower price point for consumers and might make Amazon drop Kindle’s price even lower to compete.

Apple’s Retina Display might make its way to the iPad and seems an inevitable upgrade that is going to force early adopters to jump in line. That screen is addictive as anyone who uses an iPhone 4 will testify.

FaceTime on the iPad will ensure Steve’s promise of “millions of FaceTime devices by the end of the year” is honored, supported by the new iPod Touch featuring a front facing camera as well. Devices that aren’t phones (everything but iPhone) will also be able to use FaceTime.

While Apple generally waits two to three refreshes before revamping hardware appearances, a thinner iPad may be in line and if it is indeed a smaller screen size, it just might be a good idea to shake things up a bit a little. Stay tuned for updates.

The Tablet Truth

With the iPad taking over newsrooms world over, let us take a look at a different kind of tablet: the graphics tablet. Also known as a digitizing tablet, graphics pad or drawing tablet this is an input device that permits drawing just like one would draw with a pencil and paper. More bland uses include entering handwritten signatures while creative license allows one to create absolute masterpieces that would wake the Renaissance masters from their graves to paint divine masterpieces once again using this amazing tool.

Ordinarily consisting of a flat surface upon which you are invited to “draw” an image using an attached stylus or pen-like tool, tablets sometimes have a bunch of buttons attached for auxiliary functions. The image is displayed on the screen rather than appearing on the tablet itself. Some tablets however, come as a fully functioning screen that interacts directly using the stylus.

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