While e-readers will surely make a mark on the industry in 2010, we are beginning to hear more about smartbook tablet devices that offer more than just the ability to read books. According to an article from CNN, several new tablet technologies are expected to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show this week and Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, says that overall there will be more innovation at this show than any in history. In regards to tablet devices, Shapiro noted, "There's the large screen, which is the television. There's the small screen, which is the wireless phone or the smartphone. Then there's a middle category, where there's a tremendous opportunity for growth. That's the netbook, the smartbook, the dualbook, the nettop, the desktop, the laptop -- tablets. There's a lot going on in that middle screen-size space."
One of the devices expected to debut is an affordable smartbook tablet from Freescale Semiconductor. An article from CNET features some photos that show a 7-inch color touch screen that detaches from the keyboard. The specs include 3G connectivity, an Android or Linux operating system, and 4 to 64 GB of internal storage. Another innovation is a platform called “Blio” that was developed by Ray Kurzweil and is intended to run on tablets and other devices. An article from Wired’s Gadget Lab says that Blio retains the layout, typsetting, fonts, and pagination of a books format. Blio also supports video and animation, text-to-speech functionality, and the ability to synchronize bookmarks and highlights across multiple devices. There are also reports that a few Android tablets could be introduced from makers such as HTC and Dell. It is not expected that Apple will make any announcements at CES but a tablet device could be unveiled at an event on January 26th according to the latest rumors.
2010 has just begun but it already looks like it will be a very interesting year.