Bill Gates Predicts Tablets To Be 'Most Popular Form Of PC Sold In US'

Our own Adam Frucci doesn't like the idea of tablet computing. And most of the world agreed with him back in 2001 when Bill Gates and Microsoft were pushing the form factor.

You may remember, Bill Gates was a loyal tablet user for years (and he still uses one). He was such a fan, in fact, that back in 2001 Gates told CNN, "The tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available whenever you want it...It's a PC that is virtually without limits — and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America."

Obviously, Gates was wrong—at least about the timeline. It's seven years later and tablets are all but dead while netbooks and touchscreen smartphones thrive. Keep in mind that multitouch wasn't around yet, though the idea of smudging up your computer's screen probably didn't make much sense given that a stylus was the ideal means for navigation.

Microsoft has since dialed back their enthusiasm on the tablet form factor, but you can see its spirit live on in products like the Surface and Windows 7's multitouch support.

To me, the question is not so much whether or not tablets are capable of succeeding in the marketplace but how they've captured the imaginations of Bill Gates, Apple fanboys and Star Trek alike yet still managed to elude mainstream popularity. [CNN and Image]



    its price... thats what is holding everyone back. overpriced touchscreens.

    'hi sir, with extra $50 you can have your laptop with tablet feature.'

    tablet will have the world in its pocket within 5 weeks.

    also they have poor hardware for the price. :(

    I would love a table with some decent grunt but still have a fair price.

    Certainly price is a big issue. Other problems have been battery life, weight, and screen quality. The main problem though is apps. As long as the apps require a large amount of text based data entry devices without a keyboard are a pain. Just try writing an email on the iphone.

    Still, the iphone and it's apps are probably the strongest indication that this form of technology is now acceptable by the masses and it has developers thinking more about minimal or non-text related apps.

    Just as the PDA is all but dead due to smartphones evolving capabilities and the desktop is gradually giving way to notebooks, I think there is definitely room for a tablet device between the notebook and smartphone maybe more the A5 size rather than the A4 that most tablets have been until now.

    Who knows, the rumoured apple tabled with a 10" screen may very well hit the sweet spot.

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