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September 20, 2011 / amsanjeev

Impact of Tablets on Smart phones – A point of view

2010 was the year of the smartphones. We saw the release of many interesting devices from all major manufactures and the every major Internet service provider racing to deploy services for these devices to consume. It was also a year when network operators started realizing that they are losing their tight grip over what devices in their network were running. It was also a year when the networks struggled to keep up with the high demand for data services.

The increased use of the smartphones by a larger set of the population also highlighted the limitations of such platforms such a small screen size, limited memory and processing power. This has lead to the increased demand for a new form factor that offered the mobility of a smartphone but without the limitations of the same.  Thus tablet form factor became the logical next step in the device evolution.

Tablet form factor was shown in action by Microsoft nearly a decade back but at that era of computing neither the hardware nor software was mature enough to realize the sort of user experience that captured people’s imagination. But in the current scenario the need for the tablet form factor is so pronounced that manufactures realize that it is the next evolution of the computing platform for mass consumption.

At the end of 2010 there is no one operating system that is specifically developed for tablets. The tablets that were released at the end of 2011 have been based on modified smartphone operating system. Even though it is quite unlikely that manufacturers would work on developing a completely new tablet only OS will come to the market, the trend would be the convergence of OS into one for all the form factors . The reason why manufactures do not want to invest in creating a completely new platform is to ensure the compatibility with the plethora of applications already developed for the smartphone market.

Again in the future the most dominant form factors of today ,smart phone and tablet, are not the only devices that are supported by these platforms. More and more devices will have smart features like connectivity, better diagnostics and ability to run third party applications embedded into it to give the use a better user experience.

With the larger screen size and their ability to run nearly every smartphone application available on the same platform makes tablets perfectly positioned to take a huge bite out the smartphone app sales. The reality is that the user experience of some application categories like games, movies etc are much better on a tablet than on a smartphone. It is more like the most of these applications came out smartphones because of the lack of the tablet form factor. Smartphones will still be used to access and view information on the move but not for prolonged periods of time. The cramped keyboards of the smartphone platform make it less ideal to work with when lot of data entry in involved.

The trend going forward would be more focus on adding more features to the tablet form factor and reduction of cost of the high-end smartphone. Features like 3D screens, better enterprise connectivity will more probably be the areas where manufactures are going to put their money.

The additional screen size provided more options for the user to work with larger amounts of data in the same screen without going back and forth between pages of data.

I feel that the smart phones will not continue to evolve in the exponential rate as we have seen in the past couple of years. Smartphones will mostly fork into two categories. One being the more sophisticated intelligent devices and the second being the simple ‘n basic calling device .

Smart phones and tablets will, in the future, pave way for the “intelligent” device and the transition from smart to intelligent device will be one interesting step in the mobile computing evolution.


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