back to article 2010 will be the year of the net tablet, claims analyst

Web-connected portable devices will be snapped up by "tens of millions" of people worldwide this year, according to a forecast from industry watcher Deloitte. “NetTabs” – touchscreen tablets primarily designed for web surfing, larger than a smartphone but less than a laptop – may turn out to be “just right” for millions of …


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  1. Alex Walsh

    Nokia must be gutted

    They were far too early with their internet tablets (N700, N800 etc), weren't they? I had an N700 and it was a lovely bit of kit but too limited in what you could do with it. Great battery life and a top screen were let down by some "fun" maemo idiosyncrasies.

  2. Andy Nugent

    Price contradiction

    "But unlike netbooks and notebooks, which both offer bigger displays than smartphones have, NetTabs are lighter and cheaper."

    "NetTabs will cost more than most smartphones, Deloitte added."

    Given that smartphones are generally more expensive that netbooks, how does that work?

    Or are they working on the basis that smartphones are free (if you sign up for an expensive 2 year contract)?

  3. Don S.
    Jobs Halo

    "Apple's right on the money, then?"

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc?

  4. David Edwards

    Why? Look in your Briefcase

    Beofre anyone says why do I need a tablet/slate/ereader etc look in your briefcase/rucksack/handbag/etc or on your desk.

    You already have a laptop and smartphone (that made your diary obsolete) but also most of us have.

    An A4 book to take noes on

    Some printouts of meeting minuters or a report, test resutls etc

    Maybe a technical manual (printed out forma PDF quite possibly)

    A Magazine

    Maybe even a book.

    So a Tablet/slate is designed to take away the above that you have never found a deadtree alternative to (despite having gone through the "ill take my laptop to meetings and make all my notes/agendas on that pahse" that usually lasts about 2 weeks, then you find staring at a laptop screen doesent work, paper somehow does).

    Is this the year that this happens?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Because everything you mentioned can be utilised with a .... wait for it .... laptop!

      See, it was in "your" list already. ;o)

      Unless you're suggesting that a tablet replaces a laptop, which it just doesn't. Unless you're going to buy the 'optional' keyboard. So you end up with something else to lug around which is a substandard laptop.

    2. Robert E A Harvey


      Try the Archos 5. Bit video-centric, but with other uses too.

  5. KeithSloan
    Thumb Down


    Well I will not be one of them. Unless they can do better than an on screen keyboard for input, its a complete no no for me. I also don't like voice recognition - I don't want everybody in ear shot to know what I am inputing. Steve Jobs is anti stylus and Graphitti type software so I wait to see what Apple come up with

  6. Robert E A Harvey

    Nothing wrong with e-readers

    The problem is with e-books. I can buy the paperback cheaper than the download in many cases, only 2-3% of titles seem to be available, and none I want to read (let me recommend:

    When I can give an ebook I've finished with to a friend, or to oxfam for re-sale, then I might start thinking about it.

    Now what about scribble-tops?

    I quite like the idea, but like an expensive dunhill cigarette lighter to a non-smoker it looks like a useless if attractive gadget.

  7. Slartybardfast

    OOhhh an analyst

    It's from an "analyst" so it must be right then. Also 10's of millions these days is not a large number in the great scheme of things.

    Interesting to note that they are talking about "NeTabs" i.e very cheap low powered devices. Not necessarily a higher price all singing all dancing product.

  8. Jimmy Floyd
    Thumb Down


    So, spot what Apple is doing and call it a 'trend'. Genius. Have a bonus, Deloitte.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Apple 'disciple' turtleneck whoos or not, the tablet has no long-term future.

    Too big for a phone, can't slip it in your pocket. So it won't replace that.

    Too small for serious productivity. No keyboard (unless you add ANOTHER inconvenient attachment) or some silly on-screen effort which will reduce the visibility of the already small screen. So can't seriously replace a laptop.

    So how many bloody devices are we supposed to be carrying? Where am I supposed to put my toothbrush?

    This time next year it'll be a 'nice' gadget but nobody will be using it.

  10. Nigel Wright

    Do these "analysts" have a clue?


    Netbooks started out at £200. Now look at the price. Theyhave crept up to close on £400 (that will be the Microsoft tx).

    PDA's cost £200+. They've bombed.

    I bet these net tablets have very high prices indeed, and certainly not in the £200 bracket.

    Nokia were ahead of the game in 2007 with their excellent Internet Tablets. They bombed. The frequent criticisms included small screen size, limited processing power, physical size being too big etc.

    Tablet pcs have bombed. Criticisms are poor battery life, weight, size, cost, lack of keyboard, limited functionality/use.

    So, please explain to me how these net tablets are going to be any different or better?

    The next big thing? Only in the eyes of the gullible.

    1. Greg J Preece

      I was thinking the same thing

      oOoh, Apple are making a tablet.

      Er....I reckon tablets will get the public's attention in 2010! Aren't I an awesome analyst?

      I have long wanted a tablet but found existing models too pricey and not technically sufficient. Now, I know Apple will come out with something very flashy, not technically very good, and hugely expensive, but maybe it will kick other manufacturers into making better tablets.

      How long until an Android one appears? That'd be luvverly. Or perhaps...the Ubuntu Tablet?

    2. Greg J Preece

      Actually, what happened to this...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Tablet pcs have bombed. Criticisms are poor battery life, weight, size, cost, lack of keyboard, limited functionality/use.So, please explain to me how these net tablets are going to be any different or better?"

      Two words. Jonathan and Ive.

      Plus that other guy that runs the company. What's his name again?

      Unless you mean the inevitable cheap knock-off Dell/Toshiba/Acer me-too Tablets of course. You're right about those - they don't stand a hope in hell.

      1. whiteafrican

        @AC, 00:21

        "Two words. Jonathan and Ive."

        Two words for you, Apple and TV. The fact that Apple have an excellent industrial designer does not mean the product will sell well. This site is riddled with fanbois who say, "The iPhone sold well, so this tablet thingy will sell well too." The trouble is, the iPhone entered a market that was well established, and basically built on the existing technology. The iSlate is entering a niche market, and doing so with an under-powered operating system, and (presumably, given that it's Apple) at a high price.

        The other guy you mention has been running a computer company on and off for about 30 years and has achieved about 5% market share. He has done well in other areas (personal media players and mobile phones in particular) but holding him up as the reason that the iSlate will succeed is simply myopic fanboi-ism.

    4. Michael C


      netbooks didn't start at $300 and go up to 500, they started at $700 (subsidized down to $300), and now they're $400 flat (and have much better specs to boot), and the low end systems subsidized by telcos are sub $100.

      Tablet PCs bombed because the tablet interface sucked, stylus input was a drag, and they were 5lbs or more not thin and light and under 1lb like the iSlate is likely to be. Also, 5 years ago there were no good tablet use cases, apps were all home grown and expensive, they were targeted at businesses especially healthcare without vendor full support, and portable video like we have today was stil not much more than a dream.

      The new iSlate is not a basic PC with a touch screen in a small form, it;s a media powerhouse designed to interconnect your audio/video world. Wireless HDMI to TVs, cross syncing with other systems in your home, cloud apps, photo management on the go, e-reader, portable video player, and with an 8-12 hour battery? under $800? Sign me UP!

      (assuming it runs a slimmed down OS X, not a beefed up iPhone OS that is, otherwise they can keep it unless the price is withing $100 of an iPod with the same storage capacity)

  11. Nomen Publicus


    Were these the same people who said that netbooks were small, underpowered and would never sell?

    1. Michael C
      Thumb Down


      ...are dead. They sold like hotcakes to all the people who could not afford a PC, or who thought that getting their kid one would be nice for class. That ius untill all those people actually realized it was SO underpowered, not to mention lack of Microsoft Pro OS support preventing it from joining domains and campus systems, that it was all but useless escept as a secondary PC.

      intel initially blocked lots of "netBook" stats, greatly limiting the device class, but has renigged on almost all those details when sales began sinking, and as vendors demanded better deals due to the unexpected hig returned product volumes. Dell indicated netbook swere being returned at near 4 times the normal rate for anyone expecting to use it as a primary PC (and since lots of people return cheap dell systems already, that says more than you think).

      A tablet, with full multimedia integration, being significantly more powerful than a netbook, backed by cloud technology, immenently more portable, sharp screen, responsive slim OS, paired with a pico projector or wireless HDMI is amazing. Then, add NFC and pair it with a nearby PC to make it an extention of the input system for it (put an iSlate near a NFC equipped iMac and it could automatically become an extention of that iMac for input AND display). That's a device I'd like to have.

  12. fluffy

    Does not compute

    "But unlike netbooks and notebooks, ... NetTabs are lighter and cheaper."


    "... consumers will likely “demand big upfront subsidies” because NetTabs will cost more than most smartphones, Deloitte added."

    At least in the US, most smartphones cost around $1-200 (subsidized) or $4-600 (unsubsidized), while decent netbooks start at around $100 (subsidized) or $2-300 (unsubsidized). So this seems like there's probably some apples-to-oranges comparison going on here...

  13. Annihilator

    Oh to be an analyst

    Piece of p1ss this job. Let me guess how the conversation went...

    "Ooh, Apple released the iPhone and it was very popular"

    "Yes, isn't that something?"

    "Ooh, have you heard the rumour they're releasing a tablet?"

    "Yes I have, do you think it will be popular?"

    "Yes probably, let's release a report saying that tablets will be popular this year."

    "Good idea - if it turns out we were wrong, it'll be 2011 by then and every one will have forgotten"


  14. Jelliphiish

    nothing to see here..

    it'll take about 3 years to actually hit those numbers, this is just a share pump puff piece by a bunch of marketeers..

    the same has been true of the 'trend spotters' opinions for the last decade..

  15. Alain Moran

    Focus Shift

    I swear 1999 was going to be the year of the net tablet/internet appliance:

  16. whiteafrican


    Who does Deloitte's market research for them?! Which survey found that people desperately need a device that is too big to be used as a phone, and too underpowered to be used as a laptop? If you think people will buy an Apple tablet (and presumably there'll be a Chrome one - Dell are already making an Android one...) then you have to ask why they would do that... Tablets have existed for years, but have always been a nice market.

    The reason for this is simple:

    - people will still need phones (because the tablet is too big to replace a phone - although the idea of a fanboi holding a tablet to the side of his head is funny in a Dom Jolly kind of way), and

    - people will still need laptops (because the if the tablet uses an OS that's basically designed for phones, then it won't be able to run the basic apps like Word, Excel, browsers that support Flash, etc. that people are used to and - like it or not - actually need sometimes... also, anyone who wants Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, etc. is out of luck).

    So the tablet will be a third device, offering some of the functionality of the laptop and some of the functionality of the phone, but being too underpowered to replace the former, and too big to replace the latter... and most people have the budget for one or two devices. Which means if you want to buy a tablet, that'll have to come out of the existing budget, but it doesn't let you do anything you couldn't do already with the phone and the laptop, and it does give you one extra thing to carry around... which sort of begs the question, "Why bother?"

  17. Tony Hoyle

    Still.. where's the market?

    Larger than a smartphone - so it won't fit in my pocket and I have to carry a bag with it in, just like a laptop.

    Smaller than a laptop, no keyboard, etc. - so not as useful one.

    I just can't see the appeal. As for cheaper. heh. Let's just wait to see what apple produce.. they don't do cheap and wouldn't be in the tablet market if they thought it was going to be a cheap one.

    Tablets *could* take the market away from ebooks if they can get the battery life right.. that's where the current crop of ebook readers are vulnerable (the Sony I have is dead in 5 days whether I use it or not, and can't be charged using an ordinary USB charger only a PC). OTOH the next generation of ebook readers I'm sure will solve these issues.. leaving the tablets high and dry unless they're *very* good.

  18. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    Didn't billg try pushing "tablet computing" about 10 years ago? And it failed miserably, iirc. Why would Apple's foray be any different? Is there really that much clamouring for tablet computing out amongst the unwashed masses? Or is this just Apple devising new ways of seperating fools from their money? It's been 3 years or so since the first netbooks arrived, so maybe the netbook owners are ready to "upgrade".

    So many questions, so few answers...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    pass me the pain killers...

    ... my neck is killing me...

    The problem with any portable device which requires too much input AND too much time viewing output, is one of comfort.

    So, I want to watch a video on my snazzy tablet. Great, so where to I put it?

    Do I hold it? Do I balance it against something? Does it come with a stand?

    I want to type something on it. Great, so long as it's a short missive and I don't type too much, no problem. But then, what's the point? Where is the benefit over a lightweight, tiny portable device?

    I do hope Apple get this right and show us how a Tablet *could* be of benefit...

    ... I can think of three *killer* applications, but I don't believe they are ready for prime time yet in a single device..

    1. Accurate and easy voice recognition

    2. Accurate and easy to use stylus recognition - as in, draw or write on touch screen

    3. Tablet incorporates an e-book reader as easy on the eye as paper (e-ink), with no DRM and totally standards compliant - PDF.

    If all of those are in the Apple tablet or slate and work extremely well, I'm sold.

    But of course, from the e-book point of view, Apple would *never* go with an open format - they would almost certainly introduce an iTunes only option without the ability to read open formats.

    The more I think about this, the more I predict an eventual Fail for Apple - nice face, shame about the legs... and that will certainly be a fail due to Apples insistence on locking down the hardware, even if they get the rest of it right.

  20. Big-nosed Pengie


    They'll sell millions. All to Apple fanbois, who'll breathlessly show them off to everyone in sight but, when asked what they're good for, the silence will be deafening.

  21. J 3

    NetTabs are lighter and cheaper

    "NetTabs are lighter and cheaper"... until the retards start complaining that it can't run Photoshop, and it can't do this, and it can't do that, just like they did with the defunct netbook. Then the manufacturers will gladly sell these people a small laptop for the same (or higher) price of a regular one, but call it a NetTab. And then it will be just another failure, because people buy a dishwasher and complain it does not make them coffee...

    Either way, I'm not interested in buying one of them "tablets" yet. Maybe never, will see if it is ever useful.

  22. Martin Nicholls Silver badge


    This is how tech news (and tech develoment) is working now? -

    Apple fanbois think up something they want..

    Tech press decides they're going to do it..

    Steve Jobs decides if he wants it..

    Apple not-so-secretly builds it..

    Tech press whips up the hammer legion into a frenzy of "Microsoft can't do this" (even though they have done for years) self-congratulatory orgasms..

    Some lazy analyst who can't be bothered to do anything today decides (knowing that apple are releasing said product) that it's the year of the iWhatever-related tech..

    I mean seriously, is this what it's come to?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fickleness, merely public fickleness?

    Perhaps it is not a question of what devices do what and when they did it but a question of: is the public ready and are systems in place to make it doable?

    At el reg:

    How about a diary note for this time next year on this topic?

    It might be interesting to see how things pan out with an article along lines of:

    This time last year pundits posited that ... and here is how it really played out 12 months later.

    As an observation or two:

    iFart on my iPhone

    silly tunes on my mobile phone

    Seemed to attract quite a lot of public attention (content, content and contented content?).

  24. sam bo

    Thought recognition.

    forget voice recognition, no-one wants to be seen talking to their slate, thought recognition is the obvious answer - and Google would be the obvious choice to develop it, know evil.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "do know evil"


  25. TeeCee Gold badge

    The Year Of?

    So, lets put together a few things it's The Year Of and it's going to be Tablets running Linux* as used by a ten foot tall, blue version of David Cameron.

    Okay, right. Can we go back to the Top Ten Whatevers Of The Last Decade articles now please?

    *Sorry Steve, it's The Year Of Linux you know. Close, but no cigar.

  26. Neil 13


    I remember a few years ago seeing a voice recognition system without the voice. Basically, a couple of sensors next to the throat monitored muscle movement and translated it into text input. That meant you only had to mouth the words in order to use the speech recognition system. Imagine If that could be turned into a small blue tooth device that sat in your ear but had a flip down piece that touched your throat.

    The perfect answer for those who want to use speech recognition but also want things to stay private. And you wouldn't drive those around you insane with your constant chatter.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    I read a book

    in the evening when I’m sick of looking at a screen all day. EBooks are an occasional convenience but i can't see the appeal of the massive initial outlay for the device not to mention the fact that you're paying (electricity) the entire time you're reading it....flat battery, gets stolen yadder yadder.

    I'm a big lover of tech and gadgets MP3 players are a fantastic invention but eBook readers just seem unnecessary.

    Not to mention the good old romance of a book and who wants to sit by the pool with an eBook reader gah!!!

  28. Andrew James


    How did this become an "everyone shout at Apple" event?

    I am pretty sure the article is about Deloitte saying that net tablets will be a big thing this year. Not that the Apple i-arentapropercomputer will be a big thing this year.

    Several tablets showed up at CES... none of them Apple products. So clearly lots of manufacturers are thinking that there is a market for the stuff thats been sitting on a shelf in the R&D department for years.

    As has been said already, it could just be that the consumer (thats everyone not currently commenting here, by the way) is ready for a tablet computing device. Something multifunctional, lightweight and nice to look at. Even if it only gets used with a screensaver as a digital picture frame after a few weeks of novelty use, i can see loads of these things selling.

  29. Mr Sceptical

    Tablet XP

    I've had a Tosh M200 Tablet for the last 5 years and it has now travelled the world with me. Originally bought as a high-end laptop/tablet with hi-res screen (12" 1400*1050 - can't get that any more!) it's spent more time with me than my other half, much to her annoyance...

    In my experience there are a few things they will have to ace if this is to work:

    1) Hi-res display: The major failings of most current laptops/tablets are the low dpi of their screens. It's the reason I can't replace mine, the current crop of widescreen TFTs are a poor 1200*800 max, which frankly has pixels the size of my teenage spots. The whole point of a tablet is that when you write with the stylus, you can't SEE the individual pixels - it's supposed to emulate paper, not an etch-a-sketch!

    2) Usable outdoors, in daylight: Mine is great indoors, but useless in sunlight as the backlight ain't nearly bright enough too, so needs to be transflective or something.

    3) Bloody good Voice Recognition: Handwriting recognition in XP amazed me with it's accuracy when I got mine, even though I can barely read my scribbles, so that's good to go already. Voice recognition is way harder, and a pain to train as well. Needs to be highly context sensitive to work well e.g. read, red, Redd, etc. The M200 has 3 mics on the screen to do noise cancelling, so an apple tablet would need a similar setup to work well. Unfortunately MS in their stupidity broke the VR in Office 2007 and said F&$k off and buy Vista if you want to use it again...

    4) Weight: Mine is <2kg but still starts to strain the arm when writing for awhile. Theirs will need to be ~1kg for comfort. Optional Bluetooth keyboard option to save weight anyone?

    5) Battery life: As a pen & paper replacement, it'll need to last long enough to get a day's work out of it - either very smart power management or amazing batteries are required.

    /My two cents

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