In this corner the Apple iPad current reigning champion in the tablet arena..in the other corner dozens of contenders.
If you believe all the leaks and pre-announcements we are about to see a deluge of tablets contending for the iPad’s championship belt. The big fight probably won’t get underway until next year but a few major contenders are already flexing their muscles.
First out of the box will be the Samsung Galaxy Tab. This 7″ Android tablet looks to be a contender. Well built with Samsung’s usual flair for design the Galaxy Tab features a really good browser which supports Flash which the iPad does not. It falls short in the apps area though. While there lots of apps for Androiid smartphones precious few have been optimized for the 7″ screen of the Galaxy Tab. That could be a handicap in the early rounds at least. The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be available in November from Rogers and Bell. No information on data plans or device pricing yet but I expect it to sell for around $450..The pricing for the data plans will be the clincher here.
HP quietly released it’s Slate 500 last week. Heavy and expensive the $800USD device runs Windows 7 and is aimed at business users. There are no specific apps for it but any Windows 7 applications should run on it. While I expect HP to be a contender this Slate will not do it. I expect it to be a larger player when it’s WebOS tablets are ready for market next year.
The 800 pound gorilla in the room is the yet to be released or priced BlackBerry PlauBook from RIM. With the QNX operating system the 7″ tablet will feature a fast dual core processer that in RIM controlled demonstrations belw the doors of the competition. Developers are already developing apps for the PlayBook so, while RIM says this device is aimed at the business market if it priced low ebough it could be a real contender in the consumer marketplace. We can’t ignore the huge base of BlackBerry users who might favour a BlackBerry product when they go looking for a tablet.
I expect the Samsung Galaxy Tab to do reasonably well this Christmas season but it will not even scratch iPad. The big battle will start next Spring when Apple releases it’s next generation iPad and dozens of Android based tablets hit the market. It is going to be a real bare knuckle barfight.