Just as the iPhone prompted a wave of new smart phones, the iPad‚Äôs success is provoking other companies to respond.
It‚Äôs been well-known for some time that Google and Hewlett-Packard are committed to coming out with their own tablet devices. Now word is that cellphone manufacturer Nokia is looking at entering the e-book market with their own tablet/reader.
These companies are surely feeling pressure from the iPad‚Äôs success. Apple claims they sold more than 450,000 iPads in the first few days. Just like Apple they no doubt want to broaden their market, a strategy that is usually a ‚Äòwin‚Äô for consumers.
Microsoft has been the biggest champion of tablet computers, but they‚Äôve never quite broken through. In part because the software never seemed flexible enough. Now there is more software and hardware available to build cheaper, faster hand-held devices, from phones to the new wave of tablets on the horizon.
Criticism has been sharp in some quarters for the iPad and it‚Äôs shortcomings i hardware and software, leaving a big niche yet to fill.
H.P.‚Äôs tablet is expected by mid-year, it will have a camera and ports or add-on devices, something the iPad lacks.
Google is also looking to build it‚Äôs own tablet device, an e-reader that works like a computer. It also hopes to build it‚Äôs own app marketplace for tablet devices.
In fact H.P. is working on a slate that runs the Android system, nicknamed ‚Äúthe half-pint,‚Äù because it measures about six inches diagonally, smaller than the iPad.
Microsoft is generating buzz on blogs with leaked video its prototype, the Courier. Said to be about as big as an ordinary paperback, it folds out to reveal two screens. Users can take notes on the device with a pen, and drag and share content between the screens.
Nokia, meanwhile, is working on an e-reader, with the hope of making the company dominant in the digital books and apps marketplace with a ‚Äòconverged‚Äô device.
We look to be in for a battle of the tablets, one that will hopefully lead to better product and cheaper prices for consumers.