Two million iPad owners can't be wrong

There are some great tablet computers out there. Panasonic's Toughbooks for field use, or Asus' cute tablet netbook are good examples. But Apple's iPad demonstrates the wisdom of the phrase being used by Gartner analysts to describe the smartphone market a few years back: functional convergence, physical divergence.

The iPad is, at heart, a stripped down PC designed to carry out a few tasks well.

By the same token the BlackBerry is a smartphone optimised for email (separately, this writer has been looking at business smartphones and for email, BlackBerry still has the edge). If you are a cabbie or a delivery driver, a TomTom still outranks a GPS-equipped phone.

As the IT market continues to mature, and prices continue to fall, we will see more specialist devices aimed at particular user groups or optimised for specific tasks.

That is to be applauded. And expect to see innovative enterprises finding ways to deploy the iPad in business, and not just so the chief information officer (CIO) can buy one off the development budget.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT PRO.

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