We agree on a lot of points. A medium-screen (3" to 4") GPS will live in the car. Using your phone for a second power-hungry function like a GPS receiver is a non-starter. My Garmin iQue3600 PDA/GPS was a reasonable combination for auto navigation and PDA but it's much bigger than I would want to carry as a phone (assuming it had cell capability added).
The other niche for standalone GPS units is in the field. When I'm hiking or backpacking, I need a GPS that will run all day and has replaceable (not rechargeable) batteries so on a multi-day trip, I can carry a handful of AA Lithium primary cells to keep the GPS going. (The newer field GPSs have the ability to load and use street/road maps and give turn-by-turn navigation as well, so that will kill my iQue soon.)
I agree that a tablet PC may supplant a dedicated ebook reader IF (big if) the battery life can be comparable. Ebook readers with passive (e-paper) monochrome displays will outlast any active/backlit PC display hands down. That's a technological limitation that will be overcome someday.
Tablet PCs are fine for pure graphical interaction but typing on a touchscreen keyboard simulacrum is a pain in the anatomy. Netbooks are a better lightweight alternative. (I agree that netbooks and notebooks occupy only slightly different levels in the same food chain.)
Finally, to everyone who builds a camera into a GPS, media player, netbook or cell phone, who cares? If I want a camera, I'm going to carry a REAL camera (Nikon D200 DSLR in my case). The camera in my cell phone never gets used and just adds to the cost, power drain and complexity of my phone. I literally couldn't get one WITHOUT a camera but it's the most useless appendage I can think of.
Interesting article, and you had me until you mentioned Tablets will exist between Smart Phones and Laptops. I think you have fallen into the hype of the iPad and are not listening to your own reasoning. Also, I am not sure why you think E-Readers will go away. No one is going to read a book on a Smart Phone and Laptops exist today yet E-Readers are doing really well. If you are going to replace something like a book, it is not going to be a do-all (yet nothing well) gadget like a Tablet. I think E-Readers will just get better leaving even less room for something like a Tablet.
What are the engineering and design challenges in creating successful IoT devices? These devices are usually small, resource-constrained electronics designed to sense, collect, send, and/or interpret data. Some of the devices need to be smart enough to act upon data in real time, 24/7. Are the design challenges the same as with embedded systems, but with a little developer- and IT-skills added in? What do engineers need to know? Rick Merritt talks with two experts about the tools and best options for designing IoT devices in 2016. Specifically the guests will discuss sensors, security, and lessons from IoT deployments.