declaring 2010 to be the year of the tablet. But let's just slow down a minute. Yes, a big old pane of multi-touch goodness is a thing of beauty, and we're just as susceptible to its magic as you are. But there's a reason tablets haven't caught on to date.
It's because you can't work on a tablet. You can't get things done without a decent working keyboard, whether it's in the enterprise or for personal productivity. Normal people are never going to lug around a separate keyboard for their computer. The two most highly anticipated products, Arrington's CrunchPad and the Apple tablet, are both going to be secondary entertainment machines, not the mainstream tech trend of the year.
Popular and Mainstream, Not the Same
There's no doubt everyone will continue to gab about tablet rumors from the likes of Apple, Dell and other companies. It's exciting stuff, and they should sell well. But there's a huge difference between an exciting rumor and the tech trend of the year. No one even knows for sure what market Apple's tablet will be aimed at; will it be a Kindle competitor or a glorified Touch for gaming and video? We just don't know, so hold your horses.
Amusing, But Not Useful
The most mainstream device without a physical keyboard is the iPhone. But neither the iPhone nor the iPod Touch is a good basis for comparison when it comes to tablets. They both already had mission critical, mainstream functions (voice and mp3 storage, respectively) to act as the base driver for their adoption. Without something along those lines, taking away an integrated physical keyboard detracts from a device once suitable for both business and pleasure.
Tablets like the CrunchPad seem like they might have upright stands to go along with them, and they'll definitely support either a USB or Bluetooth keyboard. But how many people (outside the tech industry) do you see carrying mice for their laptops? Not a lot. Regular people will not seek out accessory keyboards. They'll just buy a device with a keyboard integrated in the hardware to begin with.
Not the Tech Trend of 2010
Yes, tablets will be seriously cool. Some of us here at ReadWriteWeb may even buy them. But in all the hype, let's not forget that no matter how shiny they may be, tablets are not suited to the kind of market that would make them the tech trend of 2010.