Photos via Jaymi Heimbuch
E-readers were THE thing at last year's CES, right up there with 3D TV technology. And this year they're still fairly popular, with news that ebook sales have reached all-time highs. However, since the launch of the iPad in early 2010, companies are scrambling to jump on the tablet bandwagon, and merging the idea of e-books onto tablet devices that will also surf the web, play videos, and more. It looks like perhaps the concerns I had last year over e-readers will need to be transferred over to tablet devices. Last year I asked this of the incredibly popular e-readers: "But, looking at some of the other technology and buzz words at CES, is this a market destined to become a massive pile of obsolete gadgets in the very near future?"
It looks like probably yes. Manufacturers and consumers seem to be falling in love with tablet devices instead of e-readers. Capable of more functionality than e-readers and with attractive color screens rather than the duller e-paper, tablet devices are on the rise in a major way.
But again, are today's tablets tomorrow's e-waste as technology improves? Without a doubt, yes.
The tablet market is sure to shift and shift again as manufacturers figure out first what consumers want out of their tablets, and then as they perfect them for energy use, longevity and so on.
The Samsung Galaxy tablet was just one of many at the show. Sharp also showed off their Galapagos tablet, which is out in Japan and due to arrive in the states in the second half of this year. Yes, even Sharp -- a company focused on displays, not computers -- is getting on the bandwagon. A spokesperson from their booth said that while they're not experts in these types of handheld electronics, it's their confidence in their display technology, particularly in LED displays, that has them going for this market.
We're certain to see a bigger rise in tablet devices. They aren't as energy efficient as e-readers, but they are more useful. Exactly how that will impact e-waste streams, we've yet to see. We're crossing our fingers that manufacturers are thinking about this in their designs, and making them easily recyclable.
Check out this round-up of 7 Tablets You Should Know About from the CES tradeshow floor, and PCMagazine rated the Blackberry Playbook as top tablet from CES 2011.
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