With Windows and iPad each coming up to their 12-month anniversary, we are seeing two strong success stories. The uptake of both has been huge. Microsoft is close to a quarter of a billion licenses in sales, while the iPad is looking at several million units manufactured.
The iPad has provided a fantastic viewing experience with a clarity of screen-based image that is very pleasant to work with. Now, because the iPad is about to be a year old, iPad 2.0 is likely to be released with some extra features; better processor, more storage and lower profile (if the rumour mill has it right).
At the same time, Windows 7 will be released on more platforms, including tablets like the HP slate.
Clearly, the demand for mobile computing is growing. Even as I write this, I am working off a server in Melbourne from a train passing through Chatswood in Sydney. So, I can see why the demand for mobile computing is real and will not go away.
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The iPad has some clear limitations, such as the inability to attach a document to an email (do let me know if you have solved this problem), but it is very portable and is pleasant for media consumption – largely due to its lovely screen.
Clearly, these tablet devices are driving a new market, but will we see tablets replacing other forms of computers or simply being a media consumption tool, as an addition to the PC and laptop?
Windows 7 has proven to be a robust platform for applications, and is seeing great uptake, giving Microsoft the confidence to cease selling Windows XP. My hunch is that Windows 7 will be with us for a while, as was Windows XP. So, now is a great time to be adopting the technology as an industry-standard platform that will enjoy longevity.
The iPad 1.0 on the other hand is destined to be the toy of yesterday pretty quickly, as more powerful, more capable tools of a similar profile are released.
This year promises to see huge competition between the tablet players and mobile phone market, as each platform tries to be the ultimate communication and portability solution. As the applications move to the clouds, the simple browser on a tablet will take on a whole new dimension, where capabilities of the device are less important than connectivity and display quality.
Meanwhile, Windows 7 will quietly dominate the desktop space and try to get established in the mobility space.
It will be an interesting year ahead for us all.
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David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.