Yesterday I reported on remarks about tablets made by Rupert Murdoch. I mentioned that I thought tablets were a fad, and a friend sent me an email and asked why.
Fad isn't the quite the right word, but I think the hype exceeds reality. I have this feeling that tablets are about to go through the same cycle as netbooks (or ereaders, for that matter).
The original netbook niche (7" to 9" screens) is dead. What's left are actually underpowered laptops (which aren't terribly different from ones being made before netbooks became hot). What killed off netbooks was the small screen and keyboard. They weren't all that nice to use, so people went back to laptops.
I think tablets will fail for much the same reason. I don't think most tablet advocates have really thought through whether a tablet will be pleasant to use. The short of it is that a lot of people will jump into making apps for tablets. Most of the apps will suck and the user experience will be poor. This will cause most users to go back to using something else. We've already seen how a poor UE affected netbooks.
Basically I'm expecting the average user to walk up to a tablet display at Best Buy next year, try to use a tablet, and walk away dissatisfied. TBH, that was my experience with an eee701 at Target.
In fact, I'm not even sure tablets will get big enough to warrant a display at Best Buy. If you've been following tablet news for the past couple months then you know that both of the splashiest releases (Pandigital and Augen) didn't go so well. The tablet market has jumped past the high end models and gone straight to the crappy knockoffs. Long before the big name manufacturers can get their tablets out the door, the word tablet will have a negative connotation.
P.S. Laptop Mag reviewed the Augen Gentouch78 yesterday. That's one of the 2 splashy releases I was talking about.