Top ten most influential of 2010: Tablet PCs

iPads and Dell Streaks and PlayBooks, oh my!

Each Friday until the end of the year, Computerworld Australia is revealing one of the top ten most influential people, technologies and trends that shaped 2010 in Australia.

The top ten was collated and determined by our editorial team and advisory panel of IT managers, industry experts, consultants and analysts. The list so far:

(See how we chose the top ten)

A Readers’ Choice poll is also open to determine what our readers think should be included, and what shouldn’t.

Coming in at number five for Computerworld Australia's top ten most influential of 2010: Tablet PCs

Tablet PCs

It all began with the iPad. We were told by Steve Jobs that this "magical" device would change our use of technology. While we’re not advocating a move to the realm of Apple fandom, even the most cynical Apple user must admit that while 2009 was the year of the iPhone and Netbooks, 2010 became the year of the tablet.

The launch of the iPad in Australia saw more than a shift in technology for consumers as the device continued to build upon the trend of consumerisation of IT in the workplace.

Research analysts at Gartner warned IT managers that enterprise business support for the device is a long way off, yet despite this, a number of Australian businesses and IT managers flocked to the device in an attempt to deploy ‘cool’ technology in the workplace.

One such organisation was the Rydges Hotel in North Sydney, where general manager, Craig Simpson, rolled out ten iPads as part of its interactive food ordering system.

A number of Universities have also decided to use the iPad as a training tool, with the University of Adelaide announcing it planned on handing out free iPad’s to all science students from next year. In the sporting world, Tabcorp even made iPad’s available for punters to make bets on the racetrack during the Melbourne Cup and spring racing carnival.

With iPads gaining popularity as an enterprise tool once Apple launched the device in Australia in April, other vendors raised their voices, stating that they intended to launch their own devices.

While some have claimed that the iPad has had no serious competitors since its launch, Dell’s Android-powered tablet offering became available on a number of different Optus plans, making the Dell Streak another tablet option available to the Australian market.

Following this, Lenovo has since announced its intentions to launch the LePad in the United States in 2011, and Blackberry has claimed that once its long awaited BlackBerry PlayBook tablet hits the market, it will be "CIO and enterprise-ready”.

Closer to home, Telstra last month unveiled its 'affordable' iPad rival in the T-Touch Tab, which the telco said was family friendly, and wouldn’t hurt the bank balance with an asking price of $299 for the Android-run tablet.

While tablets made a massive mark on the IT sector during 2010, all indications and predictions suggest that 2011 will be the year that they really take off. Many IT managers and consumers alike seem to be still getting their heads around tablet offerings and where they fit into their already tech-heavy lives. Once they find their spot and tablet deployment kinks are ironed out, the influence and impact of tablets will only continue to grow.

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