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'Net-ready tablet PCs to flood market in 2010'

By Bibhu Ranjan Mishra
March 25, 2010 11:46 IST
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At a time when technology innovation in computing and mobile telephony is being driven by factors such as 'form' and 'features', global consulting firm Deloitte has come out with its predictions on the technology trends that are expected to be seen across technology, media and telecommunications sector. The Deloitte predictions (in their ninth year) often become a benchmark for technology innovations by vendors service providers. Paul Lee, director, Deloitte Research, who leads Deloitte's annual predictions spoke to Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in this regard. Excerpts:

What can we expect in terms of innovations in computing devices?
One of the three predictions we made for this year is the tablet computer will be reinvented. Tablet is a technology that has been around for about 20 years in different forms. The first form factor format was a failure. The second format, which is about tablet computer - based around a PC with a touch screen - has been a niche product. It was not popular, probably because it is heavy and expensive. In 2010, we expect to see the emergence of a new form factor which will complement small phones, network computers and laptops.

Why do you expect this new form factor to gain ground in 2010?
A number of things are better than previous manifestations. It's a lot easier to play with the device since it has a touch-based user interface. It will make it a lot easier to stay connected because the operating system is connected to the internet by default - so we call it NetTabs. And also, it is lighter, with a colour screen and well-populated application store. Besides, it is expected to have a price point, which is cheaper than a standard business laptop. We expect it to be priced between $400 and $800.

Initially, we feel the 'net tablet' will be focused largely on consumers since it will meet their specific needs. Business applications will also be seen running over the 'net tablet'. For example, software companies focused on financial services may find it easier to distribute their free software to intermediaries, by uploading those in the application store. This year, we expect about 2-3 million of such devices getting sold, but, by the end of 2011, this figure may touch 10-20 million units.

When will such tablet PCs be launched?
PC-maker HP has a prototype ready. A few years back, Nokia had introduced a tablet, which was Wi-Fi-based touch-screen device, though not as big as a tablet. We are expecting others to join force during the course of the year. Going forward, we expect every member to have their own computer in a living room, compared to one computer and one laptop at present.

On the telecom front, what are the technological changes you expect in 2010?
Search will become a focus area of mobile device manufacturers and operators in 2010. Algorithms, specifically designed for special feature phones and high-end touch phones, will make searches a lot more easy now. Visual search, too, has made a lot of progress. When the Google Nexus phone was launched, the one thing they made a good point of showing is voice recognition. We also expect many mobile operators to partner with the search engine providers to acquire components for mobile search. For example, T-Mobile and Yahoo have tied-up in two countries. Besides, Microsoft has signed a partnership with Verizon to provide mobile search platform in the US.

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Bibhu Ranjan Mishra
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