This week my associates and I had two different ‘pitch’ meetings with companies that were vastly different. One of the companies was a large electronics and appliance retailer primarily doing business in the New York DMA. While they do sell tablet computers they admitted to not being all-in when it comes to promoting those products. It was more of an accommodation to their customer’s wants and needs – or what they thought were those wants and needs. One of my associates made the point that in the long run tablets will lose out to what we still term ‘mobile phones’. He could not have been more right.
Calling handheld devices mobile phones is fast becoming a misnomer. Of the tasks people perform on their mobile phone my guess is that phone calls are near the bottom of the list. So calling them mobile phones is more of a legacy term than anything else. My trips to Asia have shown me for more than ten years that the handheld computer (that’s really what it is) is the be-all and end-all device. People in Asia do use tablets like the iPad and Android tablets but they are not convenient to carry around on the weekends or when people are not on their way to or from a meeting.
Tablets are the second hottest thing in technology right now. Worldwide the sale of handheld mobile devices crushes the sale of tablets. And handheld mobile devices are getting better and will continue to improve. A projectable keyboard would be a great place to start. This is also a problem when typing on tablets. Apparently these projectable keyboards are past the prototype stage but not yet ready for prime time.
I saw a statistic this week that more people today have access to a mobile phone than to clean water or the electrical grid http://bit.ly/xcvpqa. While that strikes me as being more than a bit sad, it is just another indication of what I see as the overall trend.
This week I went to see an associate of mine, Shaun Rein who just wrote a very interesting and well-written book called ‘The End of Cheap China’ http://amzn.to/KliLc6. Mr. Rein points out that living in China he recently met a young woman that has a salary of US $1200 per month. She had just plunked down US $1000 for an iPad. When he asked her how she did it she told him that she went without lunch for six months and saved in other areas.
Tablet computers are cool now but will never achieve the market penetration of personal handheld computers (I mean mobile phones). The screen is small and not ideal for reading anything long form but I suspect that there will be ways to increase the display area (how about screen projection?) so you would not need to carry anything but one device – your personal handheld mobile computer.
Am I dreaming? I hope not.