Apple’s iPad is off to a solid start.
But lurking just beyond this success is a threat from a number of competitors — a whole bunch of tech companies building tablets.
That’s why during Apple’s earnings call, COO Tim Cook said, “We think the market size for the iPad is very large and we want to capitalise on our first mover advantage.”
Unlike with the iPhone, Apple’s iPad competitors should be able to bring a credible rival tablet to market within the next year.
A Google tablet is coming. Eric Schmidt told friends at a party that Google is building its own tablet computer, the NYT reports.
Despite Google's limited experience in hardware, it's one company we think that could give Apple a serious challenge. A good tablet should have a light, but strong, OS, which Google will have with Android. (Or Chrome OS.) A good tablet should play well with web-based applications, which Google excels at -- Google Docs, GMail, etc.
As an added bonus, it appears Google's tablets will support Adobe's Flash, which means more web video will be available for the Google tablet.
There's still many reasons to be weary of a Google tablet. The iPhone OS is better than Android. (And Chrome OS isn't out yet.) Google and its partners have yet to produce a phone that's better than the iPhone. Apple still has a better application selection and a much fuller multimedia ecosystem.
Do you think Dell will make a tablet better than Apple? We're sceptical, but you never know. Engadget landed these leaked images of the Streak. We've seen a tweet from MTV digital head Greg Clayman saying it's awesome. Other than that, we don't have a lot to go on.
Dell is still figuring out the mobile world, so we're very sceptical about its chances to make a nice tablet.
Microsoft's Courier is the tablet that got gadget geeks talking last fall. Is it real or vaporware? Or a mix? We don't know. When we first saw the Courier we thought it would be amazing. After playing with the iPad, we're not so sure. We don't want a stylus, which the Courier might have. We don't want a black bar breaking up with middle of our screen, which the Courier appears to have. We're still interested in seeing this thing in real life, but we're not as crazy about it as we were on first blush.
Tech analyst Ashok Kumar told Reuters that Nokia is preparing its own tablet for release in the fourth quarter. It's aiming to land in time for the holiday season. The funny thing about this is that Nokia has been doing tablets for a while now, so it's not exactly breaking news.
Nokia's previous tablets didn't set the world aflame, so we see no reason to think any new tablets would change that.
We first saw this during CES. It's supposed to come out this summer. The screen detaches and becomes a tablet running on its own. When plugged into the backing, it runs as a laptop. The tablet only version runs on its own operating system, while the laptop runs on Windows. On paper, it's the perfect solution. But in reality, gadgets that are half and half rarely work out.
Also, we have no clue how much something like this is going to cost. With the iPad being so cheap, relatively speaking, it might cost the same to buy a cheap laptop and an iPad. In which case, you have basically the same thing as this, except better.
HTC is said to be working on its own tablet. HTC is very close with Google, having built the Nexus One and many other Android based phones. If any company understands Android as well as Google, it's HTC.
HTC has shown itself to be competent at making Android-based phones. If Apple can take an iPod touch and make it bigger, we think HTC could take a Nexus One or Incredible and make it bigger too.
Amazon isn't going to sit back and take Apple's iPad. We think it's going to come back with a revamped Kindle.
What can it do to make the Kindle more attractive? For one it can stop calling the browser 'experimental' and make a fully functioning browser. That might add cost for Amazon, because Amazon pays AT&T for its wireless minutes. If it adds WiFi in addition to 3G connection, it might help lower costs, since people could use WiFi instead of 3G.
Another advantage for Amazon -- price. It could probably easily reduce the price of the existing Kindle to $200. For a nice e-reader, that's a good deal.
Really, the tablet that's going to kill the iPad will be iPad 2.0. When will that come out?
If Apple sticks to its iPhone and iPod touch scripts, we can expect a new iPad sometime in the Spring of 2011.
What will it have? Maybe a front facing camera for video chats. Maybe an even faster processor. Maybe a camera on the back. Maybe a lower price tag.
Whatever the case may be, we think there's a 100% chance Apple doesn't plan on releasing an inferior product as its second tablet offering.
Before Apple released the iPad, we highlighted all the tablets through history that have flopped. Click here to read it.
So far, it looks like Apple is bucking the trend. But if all these companies think they can just port an OS to to a flattened smartphone, they should take a look at this >
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