You Will Compute on a Tablet

My husband doesn’t understand tablets. “They’re inbetween a phone and a computer. I have both of those things. Why do I need something in the middle?”

To be honest, I’ve largely agreed wtih him. Until this week, when I found myself wishing I can a tablet to read articles on while curled up in bed or on the couch. A laptop was too bulky and my Blackberry was too small; the browser’s zoom feature too cumbersome. And I really wish I had a tablet to use in the kitchen instead of cookbooks and running between my computer in the dining room and the stove when trying a new recipe. Sometimes modern life is such a bizarre blend of cutting-edge and ass-backwards.

I haven’t told him that, since there are a lot of other things we need to spend $500 on before a tablet. But I’m confident that, eventually, everyone will have a tablet in their house. It will replace most of their paper books (I’m especially excited about them replacing cookbooks! think of the beautiful images!). It will replace all their paper magazine subscriptions. It will probably replace their remote for the TV and become a remote for their living room music player.

Eventually, you’re all going to own a table and you’re going to enjoy it and find it useful. And the web will ad just accordingly. What works today will be tweaked (or scrapped) for what works on a tablet. The Gawker family of sites made the switch a few months ago. Many lamented the new design. I happened to like it, and think that is more like what websites will become.

Here’s my reasoning: Playboy did it. And as goes the porn industry, so goes the rest of the economy. Playboy’s adaptation brilliantly gets around Apple’s ban on pornographic apps, for which I applaud them. I don’t like corporations passing judgement on the content that I can and cannot view. This article emphasizes Playboy’s new site has more to do with overcoming the “inherent challenge of publishing adult content” than it does challenging the existing model of app store gatekeepers. But I posit that no, this goes a long way toward challenging that model. If all the web sites and services you want access to have exceptionally mobile friendly websites, why do they need to develop native apps for specific devices? And why should you bother browsing an app store when a quick Google search gets you what you’re looking for?

Andres Barreto, the president and cofounder of OnSwipe, a purveyor of white label solutions for iPad publishers, disagrees. “The leading sources for content discovery are search and social, and they often fall in the ranges of 60%-80% of all traffic for most publishers. You loose that in a native app,” he explains.

You are going to check Facebook and Twitter and the next brilliant social media service and click links your friends post and go to websites on your tablet computer. You won’t click those links and be directed to the app store offered by your tablet’s provider.

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