The future for tablet PCs – where will we be in 5 years time?

Being able to predict the future in technology terms can be a tricky thing to do, simply because it moves at such a fast pace. What gadgets were seen as cool a couple of years ago have long been superseded by much more interesting gizmos, most notable of which has to be the tablet. While Apple got there first with its iPad, and has just announced the third incarnation of this mobile device, it’s interesting to ponder over what will be in store in the future.

There’s no doubt that both the Apple iOS and Google’s Android operating system look set to get better over time, with both addressing any shortcomings they may currently have. Therefore, in five years or so they could be providing us with a much more advanced user experience than they do at present. However, it’s probably the hardware that will also have moved on considerably over this period of time.

With many smartphones now adopting the quad core processor and being increasingly more powerful as a result, it seems that the tablet computer will certainly be going down the same route. The newly released iPad 3 is already ramping things up in the power stakes, with a new A5X quad core processor, so in half a decade, it’s more than possible that the computing possibilities could be altogether different considering how much the iPad has beefed itself up in just a couple of years or so.

More functionality

Tablets look set to become much better at getting the job done too, with something like the on-board camera on many mobile devices taking a real step forward in the future. Even the iPad has had problems being a practical device for taking photos, and although the iPad HD has an improved camera that is also capable of delivering Full HD 1080p video too, five years of further development should see this aspect of tablets change entirely.

There’s also the aspect of the virtual keyboards found on many tablets, as not everybody currently gets on with this kind of setup. As a result, this factor has often put people off buying one, but future incarnations of tablets should mean that they are much easier to use and will offer more complex functionality. The same can also be said of the operating system itself, with iOS and Android looking set to add even more features.

Talking point

One of the key areas of tablet improvements could be the way that we interact with our mobile devices. While it’s currently possible to use voice commands in both iOS and Android, this is another area that could become much more powerful over the next few years. Adding into the equation the likes of new technology developments, such as Near Field Communication and it could mean that a tablet in the future will be the only computing device you’ll ever need. Unless, of course, you want something a little more pocket-sized, which plenty of people do and that means that the smartphone will continue to be just as popular too. Whatever happens, it’s going to be very interesting journey.

Joe Linford writes for

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