Why the Tablet 'Fad' Will Never Die

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Waning Excitement

I really don't know what to say about this argument. We obviously have polar opposite understandings of the term "waning". Which part of the tablet craze, exactly, indicates the waning excitement? Is it the fact that there were 50 or so new tablets unveiled at CES 2011? Or, the fact that tablets stole the spotlight at the recent CTIA 2011 show which traditionally focuses on mobile phones? Or, perhaps the fact that Apple burned through 500,000 or so iPad 2s on launch day and can't keep up with demand?

Noyes supports her assertion by pointing out that the iPad 2 reviews were less sycophantic than one might normally expect for an Apple gadget. True. I have an iPad and an iPad 2 sitting right in front of me, and I think the iPad 2 is awesome, yet I wouldn't recommend that anyone with an original iPad rush out to get one. It is better, but not by enough to be worth trading up.

But a lack of fawning over the iPad 2 is not an indication of waning excitement. What Noyes fails to point out is that many of those mixed reviews end with statements to the effect that the iPad 2 is still the tablet to beat. And, calling tablets a fad just because reviewers weren't ecstatic about the iPad 2 is short-sighted given the Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, BlackBerry PlayBook, and the hundred or so other tablets joining the fray.

Remember the PDA?

Yes. Yes, I do. And, I remember how it evolved into the smartphone, as Noyes herself points out. It didn't die. It's not that having access to contacts, and calendars was a fad that faded away. It transformed into something better.

The notebook was an evolution of the desktop. It took the computing experience and made it portable. The tablet takes that experience and evolves it from portable to mobile.

I'm sure many horse and carriage devotees warned people that the automobile was just a fad, too: "You just wait--those dangerous, crazy machines will never replace a real horse." Just look at the list of automobile manufacturers that have come and gone--just in the United States, yet the car itself remains and you don't see people riding around on horses any more.

I do think it might be premature to call this the "post-PC" era--especially for the Apple iPad which actually requires a PC in order to activate or sync. Apple is going to have to overcome that little handicap if it wants the iPad to be taken seriously as a "post-PC" device. But, the tablet is a "post-notebook" device that represents a culture shift for mobile computing.

Some are just slower to embrace the shift and join the future.

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