One of the conclusions from a new study of computer use says that “[i]n the next five years, tablets will displace notebook-style computers to become the dominant personal computing platform.”

I wonder if the word “displace” shouldn’t be replaced with the word “supplement”?

Based on my personal, very not-research-based experience, the functionality of my iPad has developed grown over two years so that these days my laptop usually remains on my desk while the tablet goes with me for most daily activities.  I still have a desktop machine at home (an old Mac Mini) but it now exists only to store and serve media and files. I expect that once the capabilities and reliability of all those many clouds improve, that unit will become unnecessary.

So, for me at least, the laptop has become the desktop and the tablet is the portable device, pulling into the same relationship the laptop and desktop had a few years ago. For a while, the convenience of the laptop was nice but it didn’t have all the power and features needed for some tasks. That changed over time and my laptop is now a complete desktop replacement.

The same will happen with tablets and whatever lightweight, portable communications devices are coming (Google glasses anyone?).

As part of this evolving world of portable devices, the research company speculates about something they call “frames” which would act like wireless docking stations.

Frames will be large, stationary displays that a person can use to wirelessly show video, documents and any other tablet-based content. They’ll be laden with sensors, so people can interact with them through touch, voice and gestures (via motion sensors similar to those in Microsoft’s Kinect).

Forrester envisions frames as fixtures in homes, offices, hotel rooms, coffee shops and conferences. Forrester analysts expect them to reach the mass market in 2015, when they will spark an acceleration in the displacement of laptops.

Conference centers and offices maybe but I really don’t want to show the whole coffee shop what I’m working on.

Anyway, I sometimes use a bluetooth keyboard with my iPad but I’m not sure I see the point of having a whole setup like this in a fixed location. If these frames are coming I certainly hope they are better than the physical docking stations for current laptops. For a while, everyone in our offices wanted one, until they discovered just how badly they worked, not to mention being incompatible with the next model computer they received.

In the end these predictions sounds like a report for IT managers in businesses, not a reflection of how most people seem to want to use portable devices. It certainly doesn’t sound like my experience, but then I’m probably not reflective of the audience the research company is trying to reach.