Every now and again, two major trends come together to create a phenomenon that is greater than the sum of their parts.
One major trend is the rise of touch-screen tablets, most notably in the form of the Apple iPad. A second trend has been the rise of software-as-a-service in the cloud. But as powerful as these two trends are individually, it's when they converge that something truly phenomenal starts to occur.
The iPad in and of itself is a mildly interesting device. But as more SaaS vendors make their applications available on the iPad, we have a very compelling mobile computing platform for accessing SaaS applications on something larger than a smartphone, but not as bulky as a notebook.
Box.net CEO Aaron Levie claims that the company's collaboration software is already one of the top business application downloads on the iPad, in addition to the ones listed here. To help make that happen, Levie said the company extended the iPad platform in a way that allows users of Box.net to launch additional applets on the device while accessing the Box.net service.
Now, once Apple delivers a true multi-tasking operating system for the iPad, and a host of PC vendors such as HP get around to delivering next-generation tablets running a variant of Windows 7, the ability to simultaneously access multiple SaaS applications, not to mention share data between them, is going to transform the way people think about tablet PCs.
Most people that have a touch-screen tablet appear to be pretty fond of the platform. But we're just beginning to comprehend the potential when we think about integrating with a host of cloud computing services that will become the primary way we access information using these types of devices.