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And you thought a tablet was something you put in your mouth!

It wasn’t that long ago that most people associated the word “tablet” with a trip to the medicine cabinet or the drug store.  After CES 2011, the word “tablet” will be forever associated with a PEA (portable electronic appendage) or a computer.  It is clear that while most of the major camera and camcorder manufacturers were exhibitors at CES, along with appliance manufacturers, car companies, software companies and a host of other companies and disciplines, that among the products that garnered the greatest interest and buzz were the tablets, smart phones and 3D televisions——all items where apps and content count. 

 Among the tablet contenders:  Motorola introduced the Xoom which runs on Google’s Android Honeycomb OS complete with still and video capture capability as well as video conferencing; RIM showed the Blackberry Playbook tablet PC which is made for use in conjunction with their smart phones; LG and T-Mobile announced the G-Slate tablet also running on the Honeycomb OS; NEC showed the LT-W Cloud, a dual Screen tablet/e-book reader; and Kno also showed their dual screen  Kno Tablet Textbook which is aimed mainly at students; Samsung had its Galaxy tablet present and announced a Wi-Fi only model coming soon and Toshiba announced that it will release a Wi-Fi only tablet later this year; Samsung also showed their Sliding PC7-a tablet netbook hybrid, that will be available later this year; Asus, announced several tablets running the Honeycomb OS, but also announced the Eee Slate EP121, a slate tablet that runs on a full blown Windows 7 operating system; Dell announced the Streak 7 Tablet (T-Mobile is the carrier) with a forward facing camera for video chatting/conferencing and a rear camera for taking photos; Vizeo announced the VIA Tablet with an 8 inch screen and a forward facing camera for video chat/conferencing (I can see the ads now: Beyoncé VIA tablet!); Acer showed the Iconia tablet prototype; and Lenova showed LePad.   

The growth in the tablets and smartphones signals a shift in the importance that content and content delivery will have, and is, perhaps, further indication of a shift in 1) how consumers will be accessing information and connecting to the web and 2) in the imaging preferences of commercial and non-commercial clients.   No, I’m not suggesting that the still image is dead, but rather multimedia projects—some combination of stills, motion and/or computer generated imaging—will become increasingly important in satisfying clients and in reaching as well as engaging audiences. (On a personal note, I have found myself more concerned with the content and quality of content I deliver than the device I use to capture/record it.) 

So, how big is the tablet market?  In 2010, the market was essentially owned by Apple’s iPad (95% of the market) with an estimated 10-12 million units sold. With the other units becoming available from other manufacturers and platforms this year, some analysts are predicting the 2011 tablet sales could be in the range of 24 million units on the conservative side to 40-50 million units if the market truly blows-up.¹    Most analysts also agree that, at least for 2011, the iPad will continue to dominate the market.

But this post isn’t about who will dominate as much as it is about the potential for tablet technology to transform the way people communicate and entertain themselves.  This should be a wakeup call to all content creators to get our ducks in order.


1: Sources –  Forrester Research Inc and Info-Tech Research Group.

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