Despite all the hype surrounding the Apple iPad and the new Hewlett-Packard Slate 500 tablet, fundamental changes are taking place in the way we interact with PCs. Rather than being the latest in a long line of cosmetically enhanced PC devices that are faster than their predecessors, the tablet PC is changing the way we work and play.
Made possible by the advent of new user interfaces, those changes might not seem like much at first touch. But after using a tablet for a week, it becomes abundantly clear that these devices significantly drive up usage of PCs; and with increased use comes increased productivity.
Think about your daily computing experience. How many times have you put off answering a message or looking something up because you didn't want to wait for the PC to boot up? And how many times did you forget to do something because you put it off?
Of course, the smartphone goes a long way toward solving that problem. But the relatively small screens and tiny keyboards that come with those devices tend to limit use and effectiveness. The tablet PC, in contrast, is almost always on, and easy to pick up.
Furthermore, the touchscreen interface makes it easier to consume information in reports by allowing users to literally point at the information they want to find out more about.
Many Apple fans have already figured this out, and now that touchscreen interface is winding its way into the Macintosh PC line. But with the advent of Windows 7 tablets, the rest of the business community that relies on Windows applications is also about to experience the same kind of fundamental changes to the way PCs are used.
And with those changes, we should see a corresponding rise in productivity because after promising this capability for more than a decade, the information we need at any given moment will finally be just the touch of a finger away.