Last week, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the annual jamboree of the cellphone industry, unveiled the latest gizmos, centred mainly around the smartphone. While we were watching the small movements in that industry came the news that Apple has scheduled an iPad event on Wednesday, March 7, to unveil the latest on its game-changing tablet computer.
At Barcelona, Taiwan's Asus came up with the Padfone, a pocket-sized smartphone that turns into a fully-fledged tablet. The phone fits into a slot on the back of a huge touchscreen and battery enclosure.
While the world watched that, came whispers of what the next iPad - believed to be the iPad 3 - will offer. Among the early signals are a high-
definition front-facing camera, double the screen resolution and a quad-core microchip that makes gaming and multi-tasking easier on the tablet.
But, as Gizmodo, the industry blog, noted, "The iPad may only be two years old, but it's already such an institution that any radical shifts in design or philosophy are almost definitely out of the question."
When new products arrive, they are big items, but after that come the tweaks. However cool they may be, they are still tweaks - much like a new flavour in a food product.
The real game changers are those that changed habits. I believe that the iPad worked because it made video-viewing and e-reading easier.
So I asked myself, what is the next real game changer, going beyond tweaks?
I got an answer when I experienced YouTube videos on a smart TV last weekend. Streaming wirelessly over a dongle linking with the broadband connection, the videos, though a little patchy, helped me choose from a huge library, not just a bunch of channels.
Also, I read about the 4G telephony demonstration of blazing broadband speeds at Barcelona by Spains'Telefónica with downloads as fast as 100 Mbps (megabits per second), based on LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology.
In India, a 4G spectrum auction is due this year. Reliance Industries-controlled Infotel Broadband won spectrum in broadband wireless access (BWA) when the 3G auctions were held, and is betting on LTE technology networks.
To me, the next game chance would be a combination of Internet-enabled smart TVs with LTE networks. Watch out.