A tablet PC replaces the keyboard and trackpad of a standard laptop to shed bulk and weight- a nice feature for travelers and denizens of coffee shops.
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Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.[/caption]So far, 2010 has been the year of the tablet.The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas featured tablet PCs from HP and Lenovo. The word among Apple-watchers is that the latest must-have product from Steve Jobs will be a National Geographic-sized computer called the ‘iSlate.’Tablets aren’t new - Bill Gates introduced Microsoft’s first attempt way back in 2000. But could 2010 be the year that this technology finally takes off?I’m not so sure. With e-readers, smart phones and netbooks already popular, will the tablet find a way onto people’s wish lists? What will it offer that isn’t already available?After all, many devices on the market today - from the Amazon Kindle to the iPhone - offer portability and easy Internet access.By replacing the keyboard and trackpad of standard laptops, the tablet is able to shed some bulk and weight - a nice feature for travelers and denizens of coffee shops.But when it comes to actual typing - the basis of productive computer usage - most touch screens fall short. (Of course, I wouldn’t bet against Apple’s ability to once again revolutionize the touch screen and make entering text a breeze.)I suspect that the tablet PC will find a niche in the consumer market while not quite breaking into the business world.The tablet's allure seems mostly limited to passive engagement - watching videos, scanning Facebook feeds reading e-books, etc. In other words, not exactly productive activities from a business standpoint.