Authors: Brad Stone, Ashlee Vance
Several leading manufacturers are quietly preparing to release their own versions of these touch-screen and touch-screen devices in just a few months. Industry analysts are watching, in particular, Apple, which is about to introduce such hardware to the market early next year.
Tablets in various incarnations have been known for more than two decades, but until now they have been associated with failure. Nevertheless, this new generation of devices has captured the imagination of IT executives, bloggers, and gadget geeks, who already see the fulfillment of their biggest dreams on empty screens.
According to these visions, tablets will save the publishing and publishing industry, allow TV viewing, movies and video games, and offer visually appealing Internet browsing and a growing mini-application catalog.
“We already know how desktops and laptops work,” says Brian Lam, chief editor of the popular Gizmodo gadgets, which publishes reports and speculation on new devices almost daily. Tablets, he says, “are one of the last unexplained mysteries.”
The first tablet computers were created to replace traditional plain paper, just as the PCs replaced typewriters. The 1993 Newton MessagePad Apple, with its large display and stylus, gained fame not so much with innovative features as the parody of “Dunesbury,” a joking device and its faulty handwriting recognition system. After returning to Apple in 1997, Steve Jobs withdrew from Newton’s sale.
Then, at the Comdex trade show in 2001, Bill Gates presented the new Windows tablet software and made a bold prediction: in five years, he said, tablets would be the most popular type of PC sold in America. Of course not happened. Annually, only a few hundred thousand copies of Windows tablets are sold, mostly to companies in industries such as healthcare and financial services.
Early tablets had some basic disadvantages: they cost too much and did not offer enough features.
“The ambition of programmers has outweighed the hardware capabilities,” says Paul Jackson, product analyst for Forrester Research. “But now we can finally go to the point where the dreams and aspirations of designers are comparable to efficient and relatively inexpensive technology.
We owe this to Moore’s law and to the constant progress of computer science.
Integrated components now combine wireless access technology with features such as multimedia, GPS, and advanced graphics. They also use energy more efficiently. On the other hand, devices such as the iPhone and its imitators have proven that new touch screens will pass the exam, and people will be comfortable with it, even though they never got used to their earlier tablets and stylus.
– We must use this opportunity. It’s the highest time, says Bill Buxton, a Microsoft scientist who has been working on multitasking systems for 20 years, and has a huge collection of touchscreens and tablets in his office in Toronto.
The tablet race prelude has already begun. In June, the French electronics company Archos began selling a small touchscreen tablet using Google’s Android software. Still in October, it will unveil another model with a pre-loaded Windows 7 that works with touch screens.
The tech blog TechCrunch has also ordered its own tablet called CrunchPad, which is expected to hit the market later this year.
Despite previous unsuccessful patches, Microsoft is apparently ready to try again. In September on Gizmodo appeared photos resembling a book Microsoft device called Courier, with two seven-inch color screens.
Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said in an interview that he would not say anything more about this particular product, but acknowledged that the company is still building prototypes that show its partners in the hardware industry. Still, the gossip of the Microsoft brand has raised a lot of interest. – I got an email from a customer who wrote, “I want it,” Ballmer said.
The most anticipated of all tablets, however, is the Apple model. Analysts expect the company to launch it early next year – it’s going to be something like an enlarged, tweaked version of the iPod Touch, priced at around $ 700.
In recent weeks, Apple has re-hired Michael Tchao, who has been in charge of Oldton’s marketing campaign and recently worked for Nike. Former Apple Tchao colleagues think it will help to promote the new device.
Colin Smith, an Apple spokesman, declined to comment on the company’s personnel policy or product plans. But the new Apple tablet probably will not have much to do with Newton, who was really just a digital scrapbook. It is believed that the new generation of tablets will be more versatile, and these gadgets will combine the features of the iPhone, Kindle e-book readers and laptops.
According to several former employees, Apple has perfected this type of “digital knives” since at least 2003. One of the prototypes, created in 2003, used the PowerPC components from IBM, which had a huge appetite for energy and instantly consumed the battery. – Not suitable for production. The battery lasted too long, the graphics were too low, and the parts cost more than $ 500, “said Joshua A. Strickland, a former Apple engineer whose name appears on several company patents for multidisc technology.
Another of the former Apple executives involved betrayed that tablet production was delayed because Jobs, known for his cut, critical comments, asked unceremoniously what these devices would be like to surf outside the bathroom.
The answer to this question was partly the success of the iPhone. By September this year, developers have created 85,000 apps on the iPhone and iPod Touch, including video games, social media programs, restaurant search, and more. Analysts expect these programs to work seamlessly on the new tablet, and IT professionals will start customizing the software to a larger screen.
Despite the richness of the application, it still raises the question of whether the average user will find use for tablets. Smaller cells have more and more functions, and they fit in the jacket pocket. Popular laptops are inexpensive, equipped with a normal operating system, and they offer the luxury of a keyboard.
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