by Matt Ayres
Tablets are cool. Admittedly when the first iPad was launched on 3 April 2010, some of us mistook Apple's next big product for a late April Fool's joke; a seemingly pointless hybrid between smartphones and laptops, both of which we already owned.
But, like many of history's great inventions, the tablet has gained its following as time and technology have progressed. In 2014 they're some of the most appealing gadgets around, and now the clever people at Ideum have taken the tablet a step further by combining touchscreen digital screens with the convenience of everyday furniture.
Take the Platform Coffee Table, for example. You might be accustomed to setting up your laptop for a quick browse of Facebook while you sip your mid-morning beverage, but this smart bit of home tech moves the online experience on to very surface that you lean on, effectively turning the entire table top into one massive tablet screen.
This might sound like something you'd find in the Batcave, or at the very least an episode of MTV Cribs. In fact, the impressive bit of kit can become the centrepiece of your living room for $6,450 – just over £4000. Pricey for for a coffee table, we'll admit, but how many have you seen that let you blog, tweet, email, play Candy Crush and control smart devices around your home without even taking your phone out your pocket?
You don't even have to worry about spilling your tea. The megagadget is waterproofed and strengthened to resist any everyday accidents, so can be used in all the ways you'd use a normal table. In terms of operating systems, the Platform ships with either Windows 7, 8 or Android 4.4 Kitkat OS readily installed, giving access to virtually any Windows or Android app. It comes in 32-inch or 46-inch – to help you visualise that, the larger table is equivalent in size to of five iPads placed side by side.
Even if you're not willing to part with four grand to have one of Ideum's decadent devices in your home, it's exciting to consider how the technology might be used in other spaces. Cafes, hotels, classrooms, offices and more could all benefit from installing a smart table. And with the potential to install similar touch screens in other everyday objects, perhaps the 'smarthome' isn't too far off either.