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The Hot Tablet Landscape by Platform, Summer 2011 Version


									                                                                                                             Wednesday, 27 July 2011 02:00

                The Hot Tablet Landscape by Platform,
                Summer 2011 Version

                    The Hot Tablet Landscape by Platform,                         than the original kept customers buying the iPad
                            Summer 2011 Version                                   2 by the millions. Apple’s latest figures show it has
                                                                                  sold over 9 million iPads, making it clear the iPad
                Since the arrival of the iPad on the scene, tablets               has dominated the tablet landscape. The iPad 2 will
                have been a common topic for discussion. The                      get even better with the release of iOS 5 later this
                conversation goes far beyond the tablet from Apple                year which improves the platform for both the iPad
                as competitors are busy trying to get a competing                 and iPhone.
                product to share the wealth. The race to produce a
                hot tablet that competes with the iPad has not had                                 Android Honeycomb
                a winner yet, and it is worth a look at the tablet ta-
                bleau by platform to see where things currently fall.

                                        iOS/ iPad

                                                                                  Google’s Android OS has only been in existence for
                                                                                  a short period but has dominated the smartphone
                                                                                  space for a lot of that time. The company’s latest
                                                                                  figures show that 550,000 Android devices are ac-
                Apple set the tech world on its ear with the release              tivated daily, and 130 million of them have been
                of the original iPad, not only because it was so thin             activated to date. The rapid rise of the Android
                and light, but because it was much cheaper at $499                smartphone coupled with the good customer reac-
                than anyone was prepared for. This entry level pri-               tion to the iPad led Google to produce Honeycomb,
                cing was brilliant in that it virtually guaranteed it             the version ofAndroid designed strictly for tablets.
                would be a success given how good a product it was.

                                                                                  The first Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola XOOM,
                That was followed up this year with the iPad 2, an                was released early this year to mixed reviews. Ho-
                improved model that quickly sold faster than Apple                neycomb 3.0 was buggy and didn’t do Google any
                could produce them. The addition of a rear camera,                favors for the platform. Since the shaky release,
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                along with a new form even thinner and lighter                    two updates have been produced addressing the


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                                                                                                                   Wednesday, 27 July 2011

                The Hot Tablet Landscape by Platform, Summer 2011 Version

                majority of Honeycomb’s problems. The first of these             dock available that turns the tablet into a netbook
                updates Honeycomb 3.1 is now shipping on a lot of                alternative. The rash of tablets becoming available
                the Android tablets available currently. Honeycomb               make this a mobile segment to watch, as companies
                3.2 is rumored to be even more stable than 3.1, but it           are fighting with different hardware components
                is not yet available on many of the shipping tablets.            and price. If prices drop low enough Android tablets
                                                                                 may start selling in numbers worth tracking.
                This fragmentation issue that has plagued Android
                on the smartphone side is already a factor on the                PC giant Lenovo is preparing to enter the Honey-
                tablet side. Buyers of Android Honeycomb tablets                 comb tablet race with acouple of models. One of
                have no guarantee that updates will be released                  those is a ThinkPad Tablet aimed at professional
                by the OEM and the carrier (for those tablets sold               workers, and it has features not found on existing
                by them). This situation means prospective buyers                tablets. The ThinkPad will bring a pen to the slate, al-
                shopping for a Honeycomb tablet are often unclear                lowing full interaction with the screen by pen along
                on which version of the OS a particular model is                 with handwriting on the screen that is converted
                shipping with. This is significant on Android tablets            to text as desired.
                given how bad Honeycomb was at release (3.0) and
                the uncertain nature of Android updates. If you buy              There is no clear indication how many Android ta-
                a tablet shipping with version 3.1 of Honeycomb, you             blets are selling nor how many have sold to date, but
                have no guarantee of getting the already released                it is almost certain far fewer are selling than iPads.
                3.2 which further fixes bugs.                                    Those of us keeping an eye out for tablets in public
                                                                                 rarely see an Android tablet in use, but iPads are
                In addition to having the very buggy Honeycomb                   literally everywhere. Android is the number one
                3.0, the Motorola XOOM was rushed to market with                 competitor to the iPad, so we need to see these things
                hardware components that didn’t work, and big                    start appearing in public to prove they are moving
                promises that the model sold by Verizon would re-                in significant numbers. Google’s own figures aren’t
                ceive an LTE upgrade shortly. XOOM owners are still              telling a compelling story for Honeycomb tablets.
                waiting the availability of that LTE upgrade, and are
                understandably upset that the just released Sam-
                sung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available for purchase
                in just a few days with LTE integration. Early adop-
                ters (XOOM buyers) will not get the first Honeycomb
                tablet capable of blazing LTE speeds.

                Samsung has become one of the top sellers of An-
                droid phones, and it jumped on the tablet space with
                the original Galaxy Tab last year. The new Galaxy
                Tab 10.1 is the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet in
                existence, having beaten the iPad in these key areas.

                Other OEMs have been releasing Honeycomb ta-
                blets, with models by ASUS and Acer among those
                currently shipping. There are innovative offerings
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                like the Transformer by ASUS which has a keyboard


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                                                                                                                   Wednesday, 27 July 2011

                The Hot Tablet Landscape by Platform, Summer 2011 Version

                                BlackBerry PlayBook                                              HP webOS (TouchPad)

                Beleaguered BlackBerry maker RIM was counting                    HP paid $1.2 billion to acquire Palm to get possession
                on the PlayBook tablet released early this year to               of the webOS platform. The recently released Tou-
                help turn the company around. Even though the                    chPad is the first webOS tablet produced out of that
                hardware on the PlayBook was viewed as quite good,               acquisition, and while it shows promise the shaky
                reviewers of the tablet were surprised to find that              release hasn’t done HP any favors.
                core tablet capabilities were missing. Releasing
                the PlayBook without native email, contact mana-                 Reviews of the TouchPad were uniformly bad at
                gement and calendar functions, all features the                  release, due to bugs and performance issues. HP
                BlackBerry smartphone has been famous for, was                   immediately responded that an update was already
                viewed as a major faux pas by RIM.                               being prepared to address those issues, and it is ex-
                                                                                 pected in just a few days. Inside information tells us
                Sales of the 7-inch PlayBook have been so poor that              this does address the performance of the TouchPad,
                RIM is rumored to have cancelled work on the 10-                 along with adding some new features.
                inch PlayBook that was expected later this year.
                The company’s recent announcement of layoffs and                 The TouchPad with webOS is a compelling tablet due
                executive shuffling don’t paint a good picture for               to the ability of HP to do something with the product.
                the PlayBook’s future.                                           The company is throwing a lot of engineering and
                                                                                 resources into both webOS and the TouchPad, and
                                                                                 the potential is there for a good run at the iPad.
                                                                                 The combination of technical ability, production
                                                                                 capabilities and large distribution system make the
                                                                                 HP TouchPad a product line to watch.

                                                                                 HP is going to produce a second TouchPad, a 7-inch
                                                                                 version, later this year. The webOS platform as it
                                                                                 has evolved on the tablet is a nice alternative to
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                The Hot Tablet Landscape by Platform, Summer 2011 Version

                the iPad and Android, and with HP’s backing has a
                decent shot at getting into the enterprise.

                Other Business News:
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