Will 2010 Be the Year of the Slate PC?

  • Comments: 7
  • Written on: February 2nd, 2010

If 2009 was the year of the netbook then 2010 may be the year of the slate PC.

Apple’s iPad tablet device on follows the demonstration of an HP tablet device (also called a slate PC) at the CES.

As the recession hit the US in 2009, computer sales were only 2.8% up in the US as compared to a 24% increase in 2008.  In fact the first three quarters of 2009 were awful for computer sales across the country – until netbooks saved the day in Q4.

The idea of a 10″ touch screen device that has the power of a notebook and the size of a netbook intrigues me.  I can see moving my front desk employees off their desktop PCs and onto iPads or Slates.

Size and Options Mater

I thought it was really interesting that Apple is only introducing the iPad in one size.  Apple is clearly targeting the iPad as a lifestyle device while PC manufacturers are targeting the slate form factor as a flexible and useful productivity tool.

Its almost like apple is lining up another Mac vs. PC battle that they can never win – a proprietary Apple device with a closed software distribution channel and PC with flexible devices with customizable options and a ton of inexpensive software already in the pipe.

It’s all About the Content Stupid

While PC manufacturers will most likely sell many more slates than Apple will iPads, the real money is not in the device its self, it is in the content that is consumed on the device.

Apple will be releasing its new web-based version of iTunes later this year, which will allow Apple users to synchronize their content between multiple devices like an iPhone, and iPod and an iPad.

Apple followed a similar release model with the iPhone.  When the 1st generation phone was released it was lacking in many basic cell phone features (ability to shoot video, picture messaging, etc) yet Apple released it anyway.  They needed to get a device in the market so developers would begin building content.

As the content grew, so did iPhone’s advantage over other smart phones and subsequent versions could be subsidized to include more features because Apple was making it back on the content.

I would expect a similar model for the iPad.  The 1st generation device has no webcam, yet has software handles for video calling for example.  I would expect subsequent revisions of the iPad to add additional features as the content growth allows.

How do you think the iPad will do?

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