People like to write, like to make history. Some like to read history.  Others will wait for the movie.

History of the World Part 1 by Mel Brooks (1981). Copyright Brooksfilms

"The Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen? Oy! Ten! Ten commandments for all to obey!" ? Moses, "History of the World Part 1,? Brooksfilms (1981)

We got our new notebook computer for the wife about a year ago, about $1K. Got new ones for the kids for school earlier this year, about $800 each. Ours is old… two years old!

Got a new smartphone a year ago for $200+ on a 2-year contract. Upgraded the kids "a little less" and a 2-year contract. Wife is still using a cameraphone. Got the wife and daughter Kindles last Christmas. Been paying for downloads all the time.Son just got his tablet (that means iPad). He’s surfing a lot, watching videos. But we’ve taken a little breather from buying new mobile devices?we hope.

Sure, analysts/reporters tell us that the tablet will be the fastest-selling consumer electronics product!

Premature Demise
True, the headlines say they’ll kill the computer – desktop/laptop – and everything else in the tablet’s path. As Comicus exclaimed, "Boy, when you die at the palace, you really DIE at the palace!"

Accenture recently reported that this year:

  • Tablets will sell at a 160% rate
  • Mobile phones will sell at 56% rate
  • Desktop/laptop computers – $39%
  • Smartphones -26%
  • Netbooks – $22%

Projections like these make manufacturers’ redo their production lines. Retailers load up. People stand in long lines. The problem is, the breathtaking increases are based on year-over-year growth per category, not quite a level playing field. Say you increase your team 100 percent (two to four) and they increase theirs only 10 percent (100,000 to 110,000).

E-reader and Tablet Ownership. Source: the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project

Personal Devices ? Phones ? feature and smart ? outstrip all other personal devices owned by individuals followed by desktop and laptop computers. But it is the "lowly" tablet that has all the noise/news coverage.

According to Pew Research, eReaders and the sexier tablets aren’t being adopted like most of the other techie things. Phones are everywhere; but you already know that as you drive/walk down the street.

What is interesting though is that laptops are as popular as desktop computers, so the analysts may have gotten part of the death march right… desktops are declining but laptops are increasing.

People of all ages are using more laptops because they’re mobile and no one sits still anymore. But tablets didn’t wipe out eReaders as folks thought when they first hit the market. Josephus observed, "Damn, this a hip crowd!"

Tablets are actually gaining a big following for a number of reasons.

eReader Rising
The eReader – think Amazon’s Kindle:

  • Easy to read in almost any light
  • Huge library of free, economic books you can effortlessly download
  • Online newspaper service(s)
  • Battery life up to 30 days
  • Very reasonable price 

Amazon's CEO Jeff BezosEasy Reading – Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is easy to read… he likes the growth, popularity of the Kindle which can be read virtually anywhere and has very long battery life. Don’t think they’ve got blinders on… a tablet is on the horizon.

You’re probably saying that all those eReaders are being bought by fogies who just aren’t with it. Nope… looks like a pretty typical cross section of folks who want to… read.

While most research firms focus on what consumers will be buying/using in the future, Pew Research focused on finding out what consumers actually had and were using today.

But Cisco reported early this year that content across the Internet was going to increase over 50X in the next few years and EMC/IDC recently reported data was going to double every two years.

You can bet a lot of that is going to be video. And you’re gonna’ want to search the Web to find it all so obviously you’ll want a tablet.

Rich Content
Gartner reported that last year about 20,000 tablets (think iPad) were sold and projected that this year the number will be about 55,800 and 154,000+ by 2013.Steve Jobs presents the iPad. Source: AllThingsD, Adam Tow 
Catbird Seat – as it did with the music player and smartphone, Apple reinvented the media tablet and introduced it with a smooth operating system and an array of applications that meet the needs of consumers. A dizzying array of other work, play, entertainment apps are also available on their app store.

There are a lot of tablets promised and a few are available, but it’s a market segment shaped by Apple just as the iPod became the MP3 standard. As King Louis XVI exclaimed, "It’s good to be the king." Few people will settle for the 7-inch screen when the 10-inch screen is the "standard."

iPad just works as advertised. Maybe the HP unit will, the Blackberry PlayBook probably won’t, the rest are at the mercy of the work in progress from Google. They’ll get there; but like phones, they’ll have a remarkable resemblance to the category standard… iPad.

Comicus noted, "I’m fighting with cardboard!" Just so you can have a similar comparison, below are the tablet results from Pew.

Who owns Tablet computers in the U.S. Source: Pew Research Center

By focusing on people who actually owned tablets (primarily iPads), Pew Research gave the industry insight into the real demographics of the touchscreen devices. This will enable designers, marketers, app developers to target market segments rather than broadshoot their efforts.

True, it’s a tablet market; but everyone else is competing against the look, feel, and performance of the iPad. In a study by Bernstein Research, 50 percent of the respondents said Apple would be the device they would probably choose.

Everything else was in third place! Ask people what tablet they want and they say "Oh any yellow lined one." Ask iPad or an equivalent and they know immediately what you’re talking about.

Why would you buy an iPad? Source: Vision Critical
When people asked if they would like to buy an iPad, the interest levels grew significantly. Male/female interest was very similar but clearly millennials wanted the device for web surfing, email, photos, videos, games.

Except for the folks in the C-offices and folks who aren’t real knowledge workers, the tablet is still a secondary device to use on the road or in boring meetings to access email, check the calendar, web search, and deliver brilliant presentations and watching videos/movies.

Blurred Lines

Increasingly, people are bringing in their own devices ? notebooks, smartphones, and tablets to work. As more business apps are available, the tablet will be used for even more "office activities" ? yeah, right!

The challenge for IT people will be ensuring that they have adequate security in place, which is still an issue with the iPhone your boss told them to support.

IT managers are quoting Count De Monet, "It is said that the people are revolting."

When the pain level drops, IT will add business/enterprise applications for the tablets. Don’t worry, you’ll still leave the office with your notebook, smartphone, tablet?knowledge warriors have to be prepared for anything. 

Gartner Tablet Growth Prediction 
While purchase growth for notebook computers continues a steady increase, the annualized growth percentages and numbers have slowed. Tablet sales are going to increase steadily in the coming years.

LeapFrog's LeapPad, tablet for children

We know it’s tough for Apple fans to admit, but Jobs/team missed a golden opportunity by forgetting their roots. LeapFrog just introduced their new $100 LeapPad. 

Not at all like the original LeapPad, this is a rugged 5-inch touch screen that includes a video camera, mike and a whopping 2GB of memory. 

LeapFrog’s new LeapPad could be the Christmas run-away hit because it has the price point and features/apps that parents will not only be able to afford, but will purchase to increase their children’s learning experience. Don’t forget the boomer grandparents who want to help the little ones along.

It will work as a kid’s ebook reader, play videos, personalize photos and they promise a full array of content and apps in the months ahead (plan your Christmas list early).

This will keep your kid’s grimy, jelly-stained fingers off your iPad and be a great educational tool they can work with until it’s time for school and a real tablet.

Think about it… Apple got their market lock early by focusing on school kids. An iPad kids version could have brainwashed them while they were in diapers and from then on…as Torquemada said as he was carried to the stage by the Apple shareholders, "I asked ‘em nicely! I said pretty please!"