Tablet Envy Hits Barcelona

Is this a Tablet I see before me … ? Come, let me clutch thee. Shakespeare’s Macbeth may have been imagining a dagger but there is no imagining the slew of tablets on show at Mobile World Congress this week and no shortage of people looking to clutch these new android babies to their chest. HTC, LG, Motorola, RIM and Samsung are all displaying their new tablets and there are a multitude of sizes and specs to choose from with various physical sizes, resolutions and camera configurations. Here is the basic comparison:

  • HTC Flyer – On the smaller end with a 7 Inch 1024 x 600 screen with a 5MP camera and an additional 1.3MP front mounted camera for video calls.
  • LG Optimus Pad – has a mid sized 8.9 Inch screen at 1024 x 768 with two 5MP cameras on the back so you can take 3D video, if that’s your desire.
  • Motorola Xoom – The Xoom has a 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) display also with a 5MP rear camera but only 2MP on the front.
  • Blackberry Playbook – This tablet has the same screen specs as the HTC Flyer (7 Inch 1024 x 600) also with a 5MP rear camera but has a 3MP front camera.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – Sports (not surprisingly) a 10.1 Inch screen at 1280 x 800 with an 8MP rear and 2MP front camera combination.

As much as I began suffering from ‘tablet envy’ (yes this is real and fueling a boom for therapists) all I could think about was how these hi-resolution screens and cameras are going to be contributing to a dramatic uptick in mobile data traffic. Just consider these snippets from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast from earlier this month.

  • In 2010, 3 million tablets were connected to the mobile network, and each tablet generated 5 times more traffic than the average smartphone
  • Mobile video traffic will exceed 50 percent for the first time in 2011
  • Global mobile data traffic grew 2.6-fold in 2010, nearly tripling for the third year in a row
  • Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015
  • Mobile-connected tablets will generate as much traffic in 2015 as the entire global mobile network in 2010

The bottom line for me is that while business will be booming this year for everybody in the tablet value chain the global network must evolve and expand to meet this new demand. So as we enter our last day in beautiful Barcelona I can say without doubt that its great to be in the infrastructure business.

Paul Stevens – Telecom Sector Marketing Director


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