Here we go again with another edition of the Life on the Wicked Stage Ink Blot Awards, this time for year number 5. As I’ve said each year since year 2 of these awards there is no better description as to why they exist, or why I created them, than what I said the first year. So, here are those remarks, which I’ll revise and extend.
I created The Life On The Wicked Stage Ink Blot Awards as a celebration. Yes, it's a celebration of the 1 year anniversary of this blog. But it is more than that. It is a celebration of a community that I have come to know and admire. The Tableteers that make up the Tablet PC Community are an amazing collection of individuals who know and work with the Tablet PC platform. They are fiercely protective of it, insatiably curious about advancing it, very intelligent, often wickedly funny, at one time very forgiving and patient, and in the same breath, scathingly critical when the need arises. They are also exceedingly willing to evangelize the platform to anyone who will listen, and in my humble opinion, have helped keep the spotlight on The Tablet PC in ways that may, in the long run, prove to be responsible for keeping the platform thriving.
This will probably be the last year that I can repeat those words as that community and its passion that helped provide the inspiration is spinning off into all sorts of new directions. Even more so than last year. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing. Tablet PCs as we’ve known them from the past are very much a niche product, except when they are a rumor that occupies the world’s attention. Once again, anyone looking for anything new on the Tablet front has to pretend to be a Cubs fan and “wait until next year.” Last year this award appeared: The We’d Love to See It, Love to Buy It, But Don’t Think You’re Ever Going to Produce It Award: TechCrunch Tablet. A day or so before these awards appeared, Michael Arrington, the Father of the Crunchpad, declared it dead. Such are the times, such are the trials, and such are the tales of those who love Tablets.
2009 was the year that social media turned from the topic to the only topic. Twitter exploded. Facebook bought Friendfeed. And you can now use location services to locate, well just about anything or anybody. Except of course for those folks who don’t like to be social or locatable, but that’s another story. Mobile devices finally saw some real entries in various categories including MIDs, UMPCs, and of course Netbooks and Smartphones. The biggest difficulty is that the majority of entries in most categories look more like odd independent films trying to find distribution. Netbooks are still a dominate story, as is the iPhone. It was a year of comebacks (or at least attempts at a comeback) for some, (Microsoft, UMPCs, Motorola, and Palm), and failure for others. The last quarter of the year also saw open warfare breakout among some of the big guns (Google, Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon). Amazon’s Kindle saw competitors start to spring up all around, although most won’t really hit the market until 2010 (Sony must hate the fact that they keep getting looked over). Touch became the big thing. So big that now everyone is wondering what to do with it. The usage case beyond the small screen just hasn’t been made.