Tablet computers are the second biggest driver of mobile broadband in Asia according to new data from Ovum released Wednesday.
Smartphones were, unsurprisingly, found to be the biggest driver while netbooks and laptops, which were the key growth driver last year, falling to third place this year.
All very well for the likes of Singapore, Malaysia, Japan et al, but what about Thailand where the term mobile broadband is particularly loose, and that is ignoring the gulf between EDGE and broadband.
As it stands currently, with no widespread 3G available publicly bar selective "trial" deployments limited to Bangkok and Chiang Mai, mobile Internet on a smartphone is painful enough without the thought of a Web experience on an iPad, Galaxy Tab or any other tablet device.
In a corporate environment, tablet computing has potential to offer a greater functionality on the move than a smartphone, but both are limited by EDGE-speed Internet which severely restricts the potential productivity.
Performance aside, there is a big issue of affordability for mainstream users and businesses alike. Not only are tablets more expensive than netbooks but, given the lack of quality Internet access on the move, there remains no great incentive to roll out tablets other than at a greater cost, for limited benefit.
The arrival of 3G has the potential to change this, of course...
Existing BlackBerry users (myself included) can look forward to a much improved, user experience at long last...but it remains to be seen if it will be the boost that brings tablet computing into the mainsteam--both at enterprise and consumer levels.
Other countries in Asia, where 3G has been long available and less of a digital divide combined with a greater enterprise technology culture, remain ahead of Thailand--though, no doubt, the gap is closing.