The year 2010 is only about to end. There were a number of products released that, in our belief, made substantial contributions to the future of personal computing. We do not know, which one will make the biggest impact on the industry in the long-term. So, we decided to name three products which release can be a strategic inflection point for the world (just because we think so). Perhaps, the year 2010 was productive enough to create three micro-revolutions in the technology industry, but it will anyway take several years for us to understand that.
2010 - Apple iPad: Small Device Makes Big Changes
Although netbook computers sport the same clamshell form-factor as fully-fledged notebooks and have keyboards, it is impossible to do anything serious on them, which essentially means that the keyboard are useless for those, who just want to browse Internet web-sites, read electronic books and consume different kind of media. Apple understood it well and released a tablet PC without any keyboard designed just to consume, but not to create. The iPad clearly has a massive amount of drawbacks (as do all first-gen gadgets from Apple). But it is not only a logical extension of the iPhone, which allows to more comfortably do the same tasks as on the smartphone, but it is also a rational form-factor for consumption of various media and content, it can also be used in commercial, medical and other environments, where access to documents is much more important than their editing.
The idea of a slate-type device clearly was in the air as back last year a lot of companies talked about tablets and planned to introduce appropriate products in 2010. However, Apple and Samsung were just two companies, who actually managed to release their slates this year. As a result, Apple was the company, which catalyzed the consumers and the industry to reconsider the role, functionality and usage models of netbooks.
Tablets are clearly not only a new PC form-factor, it is a new battleground for x86 and ARM; it is a new battleground for Windows and Linux; it is a new battleground for AMD and Intel; it is a new battleground for Apple, Samsung and Sony. Those clashes between various companies on the market of slates will definitely create new strategic infliction points for the whole industry.