2011: The Year of the Tablet
After the huge success of the iPad, with over 4 million units sold since its introduction, all major hardware vendors of PCs and mobile devices are coming out with new tablets in the next few months, including Apple with a smaller version of the popular product. Analysts estimate the market for tablet devices (over 6” screen size) to be around 25 million units for 2011.
There are some Android tablets in the market now, mostly small devices from Asian manufacturers trying to get a piece of the cake before the big guys get in, but I would wait until the serious names release their products.
Samsung has already introduced their Galaxy tablet, based on the popular Android OS and a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, begging to ship before the holidays.
There is serious buzz in the market about RIM (makers of the BlackBerry phones) coming out with a tablet based in their own OS. This could be what the business users are waiting for to carry in their cases for a short trip or to take home instead of their laptops.
HP is coming out with an Android and a webOS tablet early next year, and they are talking about a Windows tablet too. I believe the webOS tablet could be the real deal for a different OS with a lot of possibilities that the previous Palm devices did not exploit.
Here is my take of a few interesting models coming our way, all the specs are based on serious speculation, except for the Samsung Galaxy:
RIM tablet (BlackPad)
Blackberry users would like to see a tablet coming soon, and RIM is working on it. They will likely announce it next week at the RIM's developer conference. It will not be based on the new RIM OS Blackberry 6, but on a new OS developed by QNX Software, which RIM acquired recently.
The tablet will not have cellular radio: it can connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi, or by tethering to a BlackBerry phone. The unit will probably come with two cameras, a seven inch display and will be targeting the business users.
HP could be planning to introduce several tablets based on different operating systems in the coming months, but the webOS tablet could be the real competition to Apple and Samsung.