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Newsletter Issue #599: Is There Really a Tablet Revolution?

I saw a perfectly dumb Best Buy TV spot the other day, basically touting the arrival of a special tablet section where you can get the latest and greatest contenders in the new wave of mobile computers. The clear message conveyed is that tablets are taking over, and you might as well go to the U.S.A.’s largest consumer electronics retailer to make sure that you get the one you want.

Certainly the arrival of the tablet has been heralded for years. Both Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have offered Microsoft’s vision of the tablet, which was basically a note-book with a touchscreen that ran a version of Windows. The original concept had those portables using a stylus to direct onscreen functions of one sort or another.

In the real world, it went nowhere, except for adoption in some vertical markets where the awkwardness of switching from screen and stylus to keyboard was deemed useful. I know our family doctor as several at his office. He uses one, his wife, the office manager, has another, and so do the various physician assistants. But they clearly aren’t fully satisfied with the software or the interface, and it seems that office visits take far longer than they should. What that means is that fewer patients are served, which means less income for the practice.

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