Yes, that should have been the ambitious objective of the iPad team when it launched its version of tablets in the global market on January 27, 2010. Although Microsoft coined the term “tablet” in early 2001, for some reason it didn’t catch on. But Apple’s iPad has paved the way for the tablet market. Now we have not just iPads, we have Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Zoom, Dell Streak, LG Optimus, HTC Flyer, Blackberry Playbook … and the list keeps growing day by day.
How does it affect the global market?
As per Gartner’s report, 20 million tablets were sold in 2010, 54.8 million will be sold in 2011, and the total will grow to more than 208 million in 2014, beating the number of PCs across the world. Tablets have totally changed the way we see, listen, share, and hear things. Now we have 3D applications (apps) that show the complete anatomy of the human body and explain how each system works. We have apps that detect our current location and show us various options to reach our destination and apps that dynamically change the location of the story based on our location. We have apps that read the barcode of the book and give us the book’s ratings, reviewer comments, and comparative prices.
As Don Norman says, “When the technology serves the basic needs, the user experience dominates.” Now we have the technology that allows us to do anything so that we can focus on finding the right solution for our requirements.
How does it affect other industries?
There are many industries that have been affected, predominantly the publishing, learning, and gaming industries. Now almost all major publications have a mobile presence. There are also many options for publishers to be a part of the tablet revolution. Their content can be converted into interactive books, EPUB files, talking books, comics, and so on. Publishers can really give life to their content. If you are a science publisher, you can enable your readers to feel how climate change will affect the overall environment by providing a slider bar to experiment with different climates. If you are an educational publisher, you can enable your students to experience the theory of balance just by allowing them to tilt the device and balance an object. There are many possibilities to bring the content alive by using current technologies. Although we had such technologies in the past, tablets have brought it all into our hands, or rather to our fingertips.
How does it affect development technology?
When it comes to technology, there are plenty of options available to develop applications for mobile devices. There are frameworks available that allow you to program in your preferred programming language and deliver the applications to various mobiles. You are no longer dependent on any one technology. You can program your app by using HTML 5, Java, .Net, or action script. There are open source technologies and frameworks that will convert your code to suit the requirements of different mobiles. If you want a better user experience and control over device components such as accelerometer, camera, and other features, then it’s best to stick to native code programming. This varies between devices as shown in the following table:
Native programming technology
||Cocoa, Objective C
||Java or Adobe SDK
We’ll continue to monitor the tablet and mobile device landscape and keep you posted on new developments.
Feel free to post comments and questions below, or get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Head – Visual Programming Team