What's next after tablet computers?


Date: 17 October 2013

What's next after tablet computers?/Samsung Galaxy Gear: wearable computerSales of tablet computers have risen and analysts at IDC predict that the final quarter of 2014 will see their sales outnumber those of PCs.

That figure suggests the post-PC era is either looming quickly or already here. It also raises another question for anyone who likes looking ahead: what's next?

The tech giants, Samsung and Google, appear to reckon that the next era is going to be about wearable tech. Samsung has just released its Galaxy Gear watch, while Google has Glass, a high-tech pair of glasses.

Give it another ten years or so, and — although we might not quite be cyborgs — there's a good chance you'll be sporting technology that knows a lot about you and where you are.

It's all about context

The next generation of mobile devices will be both wearable and contextual.

Actually, contextual technology is already widely available. Google Now is a prime example. It displays information based on your location, search history, the time of day and so on.

In the future, Google Glass seems likely to provide the wearable aspect, incorporating contextual information into its user experience.

Glass will have to overcome a few social barriers to succeed, but if Google can manage that then we'll see an explosion of services than utilise information from a user. With ubiquitous, wearable computing looming, the race has only just begun.

Are we heading for immortality?

The post-tablet era may not be hitting the mainstream yet, but the signs are pointing in a clear direction. It's going to be all about the combination of wearable technology and contextual information.

Watching how the big players spend money and where they make early investments can give us a view of the way they expect the technology sector to go. It's hard to know if they're right or not, but would you bet against Google's track record?

Shawn Hunt runs Satellite Broadband UK, delivering fast, reliable two-way satellite broadband services.

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