A New Era of Casual and Social Computing

February 1, 2010

1:10 am

New Casual Computing Era?

With the much anticipated launch of the Apple iPad I think it is safe to say the curtain has risen to a new era of casual & social interactive computing. Similar to how Apple’s iPhone changed the way we interact with our mobile devices by offering a touch screen, the Apple iPad will turn your couch TV-watching time into a more interactive experience. I have already become accustomed to thumbing through emails, sending tweets and reading news on my iPhone while watching television. So it will not surprise me to see this behavior go through the roof with the introduction of a slightly larger device with a touch screen and form factor like the Apple iPad.

In many cases, the “no nonsense” approach of Apple iPhone applications has helped me get things done more quickly than having to log-on to my computer, fire up a browser or program and go from there. The one touch, quick access to particular functions like sending a tweet or email, watching a video or opening up a link to read an article can be a real time-saver on a mobile device.

Keyboard or no keyboard that is the question?
Obviously, the keyboard has been a critical component in the data entry space, but many of us have adapted to touch screens to the point I’ve even found myself touching the screen of navigation systems in rental vehicles only to find they are not touch screens. It has become my default behavior.

Will this save old media?
It’s difficult to say that one device will save the downward spiraling direction of old media. But I can say that this device might be able to offer “old media” another way to engage its users. For example, we are already seeing live polling on television that influences the way the program progresses. I think this trend will go even further. Imagine reality TV where you are part of it by interacting with them real-time. This is already happening online but not at the scale of prime time television. There is the recent re-emergence of “paid” content tied to applications and it will be interesting to see if people will pay for content when coupled with an application that helps to make it easier to get to (as I previously indicated regarding iPhone applications). If users are convinced that an application will make the experience of reading or interacting with content better or easier, then the “paid” content approach will most surely be a success.

Last week, the world stopped to watch as Steve Jobs launched what could be the most interesting product since the iPhone. I think the iPad is going to act as a strong catalyst for mass-audience, mainstream casual and social “couch” computing – a new era in which we will all likely become a part of the entertainment and news experience.

Photo Attribution: iText by BdwayDiva1 on Flickr

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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