02 August 2005

Intimate Computing on the Job

For some years I've been curious about the potential for workplace applications for intimate computing devices. I'm actually impatient with the endless stories about "networking your home entertainment system," or using PDAs and cell phones as surrogates for TV sets. This email from In-Stat is fairly tantalizing about the scope for workplace applications:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., July 26, 2005 - The Tablet PC market is nearing its three-year anniversary with increased shipments, but mixed success overall, reports In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). Referring to PCs that run Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system, Tablet PC shipments have yet to reach the lofty heights that some backers predicted upon launch. The next few years will show some significant growth, however, with the worldwide market rising from $1.2 billion in 2004 to $5.4 billion in 2009, the high tech market research firm says.

"Broad horizontal corporate markets should start to make an impact on the market in 2005, as average selling prices fall well below $2,000," says Brian O'Rourke, In-Stat analyst. "A combination of greater Tablet PC software availability and larger form factors that directly address the corporate market should help Tablet PC sales."

A recent report by In-Stat found the following:

  • Vertical markets, such as healthcare, real estate, insurance, and sales force automation, continued to be a driving factor in 2004 Tablet PC shipments.
  • Acer, Fujitsu, HP, Motion Computing and Toshiba were among the leaders in 2004 Tablet PC shipments.
  • Availability of an integrated next-generation Tablet PC operating system in Microsoft's Longhorn operating system would have a significant impact on Tablet PC sales.
  • Microsoft's recently announced Ultra Mobile 2007 portable PC form factor could have a significant impact of future Tablet PC shipments.
I would have liked to know what sorts of things people are supposed to do with those things on the job. My father was a petroleum engineer for a major oil firm, and I could imagine him using a blackberry as a sort of webcam while in the field... had he entered the industry in 2000 or so. But most of us don't have cool jobs like inspecting oil rigs or supervising the collection of soil samples.

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