Tablet computers, or everybody wants to rule the world

As part of our project management course’s foray into the art of the six-minute presentation, student Line Aubertin delivered an overview of tablet computing last week.

Sans titre

Tablet computers take a variety of forms but that they are defined primarily as self-contained touch screen devices with basic word processing, email, and media access capacity. The first tablet computer emerged in 1987 and was considered revolutionary in its time, condensing the primary features of the still novel desktop computer into a portable companion. It was, however, a product with an exclusive market; used primarily by the U.S. Army, the original tablet computer came with a 3 million dollar price tag.

As a glance around any given metro car readily confirms, the use of tablet computers has today evolved into common practice. Their market presence has grown steadily since 2000, with Apple and Samsung models leading the pack (; The products are so integrated into modern life that they are provided for rent by SNCF for TGV train travel across France ( Models are now tailored to many different user profiles, with versions built specifically for children or for professionals. Tablets are mainly used for entertainment purposes (media consumption, game-playing, social media, etc.).

The presentation concluded with a look toward the future as embodied by a tablet computer model exhibited at this year’s international Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ( Designed with desktop computer docks, these emerging tablet computers return to personal computing roots, stationed as detachable monitors attached to keyboards ( This returned embrace of classic features is not unique to tablet computers being introduced to the market, but is instead part of a larger movement in technological design. Other products released at this year’s CES include touch-screens designed with raised keys to give the user the sensory experience of a standard keyboard ( and a computer built of paper-thin, pliable plastic that allows users access to the digital realm while sitting at a desk with what appears to be a file of papers (

This lean toward the past could be a marker of modern experience, at once hurtling forward and grasping back for what is left behind. The market’s shift toward products that recall the familiar corporeal experiences of previous incarnations can be seen as an overarching reflection of one of technology’s main functions in modern life: that of augmenting our sense of control. Like pushing the haphazard experience of a metro car into the background of a display and soundtrack manipulated at a user’s whim, re-applying familiar features to emerging products gives the sense that a hold is retained on an existence that is, in fact, ever more chaotic and complex.

Dans le cadre d’un exposé de 6 minutes, Line Aubertin est revenue sur l’historique des tablettes et nous en a proposé une analyse rapide. Devenues extrêmement populaires ces dernières années, les tablettes font partie intégrante de l’expérience moderne. La présentation nous a fait considérer le contexte et les effets de cette tendance. Quelles conclusions en tirer aujourd’hui…et quelles innovations pour demain ?

Source :
Par Elisabeth Cramer


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