Tablets are to PCs, as ___ are to Tablets …

INTRODUCTION

Contrary to what some may think, LST is (usually) not a bear. True bears, in LST’s opinion, are those who have the tendency to play some variety of macro jazz*, i.e. prognosticate on the imminent crash/lost decade in some economy, currency, interest rates, real estate, stock market indices, this, that, and the other.

It’s probably more appropriate to think of LST as part Vampire Slayer** and part…Fantasy-VC*** (venture capitalist). You may be familiar with LST’s vampire slaying activities, if you browse through my tweets and prior posts. This post will introduce you to the latter, in the form of a (conceptual) long idea.

(CONCEPTUAL) LONG IDEA

LST (and many others before LST) saw the tablet computer concept coming  years before it became this wildly popular and profitable concern it is today (though Apple, Samsung, and a few others have been the chief beneficiaries of the tablet’s popularity).

As the tablet “ship has sailed” (as far as being a novel idea), what’s next? LST believes that the following concepts (all ideas are 100% generated by LST, though it is very likely that there are many others who have come up with the same ideas) may lead us into the next generation of products:

(1) The CardPhone – Imagine a phone as thin and pliable as a credit card. Imagine also using this CardPhone, for all your communication needs as well as transactional and identification needs (i.e. use it in lieu of a credit/atm card and in lieu of a driver’s license)? You could drop it on the ground all you want, and it would not break. You could also clandestinely slide it into your pocket, and no one would know.

(2) The ThinPad – Along the same lines as the CardPhone, imagine a tablet that could be pliable like plastic, water proof, and durable (so you could drop it all you want)? And thin as a 50 page notepad? A pad made out of pliable material seems particularly promising and appealing for kids, students, and the elderly.

(3) The PowerCell – Now suppose that the CardPhone and ThinPad could easily run on batteries for at least 12-16 hours (roughly a full day for most of us) without charging? This “PowerCell” would do wonders for us all.

LST is no material scientist or engineer, and the technical challenges (or cost constraints) may render the above product concepts commercially unviable  for many years to come.

That said, it would seem prudent to be on the lookout for the innovators and companies out there that are looking to bring the above, or similarly evolutionary concepts to market. Wouldn’t it be something if some under-the-radar entity were to outmatch Apple, and become the next great tech company?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Will the keyboard be around in 10 years from now? If it is around, how widely used (or not) will it be? The popularity of the tablet naturally erodes at the use of PCs … which in turn erodes the “need” for keyboards. If this trend has legs, people will start wondering if information and work can be done via alternative means. Why use a keyboard at all, if __ , ___, and ____ innovations totally transform the way work is done, and the way information is transmitted between human and machine.

Remember, the growth of PCs had a truly revolutionary  (as opposed to evolutionary), impact on the way we humans can do work. Is there another great leap forward, that will render keyboards useless, or will changes in the next few decades be more of the evolutionary variety?

The answer to these questions clearly have ramifications for companies like Hewlett Packard and Dell.

Innovate or…perish.

LST may update this post periodically.

 

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* “Macro Jazz” is a term on loan from a friend of LST. We specifically have used the term semi-pejoratively when we talk about great bottom up value-oriented long/short managers who try to sing to the complex beats and harmonies of macro jazz and… don’t seem to quite pull it off. LST is also an aspiring macro jazz musician, and hope to someday do justice to the macro bebop, funk, etc. that the Soros, etc. of the world have come to master.

** “Vampire Slayer”- Vampires, in the real world, exist in the form of those who promote “frauds”, “fads”, and “failures” for personal gain, at the expense of the general public.

*** “Fantasy VC” is inspired by the expressions “Fantasy Macro Manager” and “Macro Tourist” . (VC-tourist did not sound as cool so went with fantasy vc). For context, look it up.

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