It was not too long ago (circa 1990s) when we watched Geordi La’ Forge on the popular Star Trek Next Generation television series whip out his PADD, or Personal Access Display Device, and punch out some theory or the other about ships performance or their mission.
On a Star Fleet vessel the PADD has been used for functions ranging from performing complex engineering computations to reading Shakespeare as Captain Picard would be seen doing.
In recent years science fiction and art has paved the way for technological advancement. From the personal computer to mobile phone, all these devices first made their debut in science fiction novels followed by Hollywood films.
The tablet computer is no different. Though they have been in the marketplace for years, the Kindle, the iPad and similar devices have made tablets mainstream and hold out the promise of a new age of entertainment and personal computing.
The evolution of the tablet PC is similar to that of the laptop computer, the netbook, and the smartphone: Companies aren’t so much selling us a better computer as they are selling us new ways to use computers.
The compact form factor of tablets, together with wireless connectivity and location-based functionality all combine to create a whole new set of opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs and industry incumbents alike.
Today’s tablet PC though no where as powerful as the Star Trek PADD, it is poised as a clear and present destructive technology in the personal computing space.
More and more people are beginning to use tablet PC’s in their daily lives. As it stands today you can conduct most computing tasks on a tablet.
It’s debut in the marketplace was directly impacted by the cloud computing revolution. Where local install of software applications has been replaced by cloud (or web) based services such as Google Documents or Microsofts Office 365. Users need not concern themselves with technicalities of installing software, partitioning hard disk to maximize storage. All those functions have moved to the cloud.
Granted there are computing tasks that continue to require local installs on desktop PC’s. Such as in the world of Electronic Design, where engineers remain dependent on expensive software installs, multi-gigabytes of storage and bandwidth for R&D tasks. However, that will come to pass.
The future of computing rests with with tablet devices acting as semi-dumb terminals to access cloud based resources.