Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tablet Wars

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Since Apple released its first iPad in April of 2010, there is not doubt that it has been a run away success. In the last quarter of 2011, Apple sold over 15 million units. It has change corporate society and the classroom with executives and students using it for a document retrieval and note-taking. It has also started other computer manufacturers marketing their own version of tablet technology. Some of these competitors have been successful like Samsung and ASUS while others like RIM and HP have failed to penetrate the market.

Some say that there is really not a tablet market, instead, there is the iPad and then there is everyone else. Similar to the early days of the personal computer wars when there was Apples and the so-called, "PC-compatibles", the market found a place for both types of devices and the smaller manufacturers were weeded out like Radio Shack, Atari and Xerox. What is evident is that the tablet wars is based on the diversity of app available. Smaller manufacturers seem to be resting their laurels on the strength of their stand-alone product but what the consumers want is a devices that can be multi-purpose and can easily morph from a play thing and a work device. The power and the breadth of apps available on the iTunes and the Android Play stores are hard to beat.

The weakness of tablets is that they are not productivity tools. It is hard to type on them with the on-screen keyboard and the productivity software tools have not caught up to the richness of the tools available for personal computers. This is not a bad thing. It just means that buyers must understand what they are buying and salespeople must guide them to the appropriate tool. A colleague recently bought a tablet and quickly discovered that it was not appropriate for doing his doctoral paper-writing.

As I said in an earlier post, I had not intention of buying an iPad but the tablet technology is hard to resist. I found one that suits my personal and business productivity quite well and seem to bridge the gap between a table and a laptop. As I am not an Apple person, never having owned an Apple productivity product, and being a Google user, I decided to purchase an ASUS Transformer, The Android Play store, although not at extensive as iTunes, has more than certainly met my needs for apps. The attached keyboard is a great bonus, allowing me to use the full tablet screen for productivity and adding the power of an additional battery.

It will be very interesting to see where all this technology is headed. The desk-top computer is fast becoming old technology, laptops seemed to be divided into notebooks and larger screen models, and the tablet market is splitting into two definite directions and fast evolving to produce newer, faster and more full-featured models. Just as cell phones changed the way society works and plays, the introduction of tablets into the marketplace will be a milestone in the way we interact with technology.
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