Where Have All the Tablets Gone?
As we sit here patiently awaiting for the release of any one of the many tablet computers that has been announced over the last 10 months or so, we can’t help but wonder when these folks will just put up or shut up.
We’ve been hearing about the wonders of these various tablet computers for some time now, and we have yet to see anything truly come around to compete with the iPad. There was the GalaxyTab, but at seven inches, even that was considered by many to be just a larger Android phone. Looking back, at least Samsung has given it a shot. Where are the other guys?
Meet the iPad
With the release of Apple’s iPad tablet computer almost one year ago, came a trend in technology that we don’t even think Apple saw coming. As with any trend, when an item becomes a hit, there will be a slew of ‘Me too’ products. Sometimes, a superior product will come a long; other times, the original remains at the top. In the case of the iPad, it’s not a case of the other products not being superior, it’s about these other products not being released at all.
Meet the Competition
Now there are various tablet computers on the horizon, but the big players right now look to be Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry PlayBook, the Motorola Xoom and the HP TouchPad. Right now, they are all talk and no product, unlike the iPad. We’ve seen their full-on browsing experiences and heard about how amazing they will be, but we haven’t heard release dates for these products aside from leaks or launch windows. What’s going on?
Did you catch something there? With the other products, it just felt necessary to name the manufacturer, but when it game to the iPad, we didn’t call it the Apple iPad. It’s a silly little difference, but it just goes to show the name power associated with the device. That’s what comes with an established piece of hardware.
This is one of many Android tablet computers on the horizon. Companies like Motorola have been hyping their tablet for a while, by creating cute videos and Super Bowl ads subtly calling everyone who owns an iPad a mindless sheep with referneces to the old 1984 commercial by Apple. Trouble is, they have yet to release anything or even give us a launch date. We hear rumors, but rumors and speculation aren’t a release date. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve heard great things about the tablet, but you can only keep people waiting for so long before they lose interest. Besides, we doubt the general population knows much about the Xoom, and tablets are often aimed for the casual consumer who wants to check their email or FaceBook and watch movies on Netflix streaming.
The PlayBook is another cool looking device. It’s a tablet with its own operating system, and based on the videos we’ve seen, it looks to be a beautiful, fully-functional device. Unfortunately, that’s based on the videos we’ve seen, not hands-on time with the product. We have seen RIM do some great things with their smartphones, and before iOS and Android came around, BlackBerry was the guy to beat. Still, we’d like to see something sooner than later.
Perhaps most promising of all is the HP TouchPad. HP made sure we knew how it worked by sitting everyone down for their doozy of a press conference. Regardless, it was awesome to see the tablet at work, especially next to their Palm handsets. The integration and the idea of webOS coming to PCs as well makes for amazing possiblities. Combine that with the stability of Palm’s operating system and you have a winner. The problem? They haven’t announced a release date. At least we know its coming this summer, but that’s a three month window, and it’s only for the wifi model. We don’t have a price yet, and the 3G and 4G models are expected, “later.”
When is the iPad 2 Coming Out of Hiding?
iPad 2 rumors are aplenty, and we’ve seen enough evidence to be sure that it’s in development by Apple; not only through applications found within developer builds of iOS, but through manufacturers and other sources who have spewed information. Strangely enough, the iPad 2 is a popular device, and it doesn’t even exist yet.
In Defense of the Other Tablet Makers
Maybe it’s a bit unfair to completely place the blame on these other tablet makers. We recently learned from a Digitimes report that Apple secures 60 percent of the global touch panal capacity. Holy crap. 60 percent! That means that the other tablet makers are left with the remaining 40 between all of them. Perhaps Apple’s demand is cutting supply for the other companies. It’s a tough business.
Which Tablet Will You Choose?
Based on rumors and on the first iPad, we can all guess that the iPad 2 will launch in April. Of course nothing has been confirmed yet, and Apple is keeping their lips sealed. For the sake of argument, let’s say that they do that in order to keep with their current release schedule. We aren’t sure when the other devices are coming, we’ve heard that the Xoom is due shortly, but have no confirmed date. Other than that, tablets are due way later this year. Will you wait for a non-Apple tablet? Will you get an iPad? Or will you give it until the Summer and weigh your options when we have more choices?