Tablets: Revolution in the Making?

July 11th, 2011

People who study technological advances and world-changing innovations typically agree on one point: nothing revolutionary comes out of the blue.

New ideas and technologies spend a long time hiding in plain sight before they suddenly change the world as we know it. Moreover, the agents of radical change are often already familiar to us.

Consider the Internet Revolution. At its heart you have a rather mundane concept: connect a bunch of computers to each other. But think about how much this mundane concept has changed our lives -- often in exciting and unexpected ways.

The Internet Revolution seemed to happen in the blink of an eye, but computers --even computer networks -- had been around for decades. The same goes for other 'breakthroughs' in history. Automotive technology was already old news by the time Henry Ford came along and changed the world with his Model T. Going back even further, we learn that moveable type had been around for years before Gutenberg unveiled his printing press. (» See also: Everything Is a Remix)

Which brings us to tablets. The technology behind tablets is familiar. Impressive, yes, but not mind-blowingly new. Yet there are indications that there's a tablet-driven revolution in the making.

After years of simmering on the back burner, tablets have suddenly reached a boiling point. They are now threatening the dominance of traditional computing devices—PCs. You can see these slim machines at work in virtually every industry, from the courtroom to the cockpit.

What do you think? Will tablet computers become the catalyst for major change -- on the scale of networked computers (aka the Internet)? Many people will shrug and say the tablet as just another computer, only smaller. Then again, the Internet is just another network, only bigger.

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