To be clear, I didn’t go to CES this year, but I spent several hours tracking down all the announcements to try to get a clearer picture of the tablet market.
Regardless of what you think of Apple, they knocked it out of the park with the iPad. That is THE "technology to beat", that is the standard. Now, just like with the iPhone, Android has been creeping up on their market share. In fact today it was tweeted that Android overtook iPhone in mobile phone users. But Android is no silver bullet either. That fundamental philosophy of Linux/GNU/etc of having "lots of choices" are turning out to be pretty incompatible with the commercial marketplace – see this interesting write-up on that.
Anyhow, where is Microsoft amidst all this? They totally missed the mark with any social networking efforts, and the Windows Mobile platform was a bust – and now with Windows Phone 7, is it too little, too late? Everyone seems to give WIndows Phone 7 high marks, but they came in after Apple and Google/Android already had momentum. Think Microsoft continues to blast it out of the park with their development platform (.NET, Silverlight, TFS, etc) – but when it comes to consumer electronics, I just don’t get why they fail so hard?
ANYHOW, my point is that I was very hopeful that this CES show would include the launch of some "iPad Killers", and ideally some of those might be Windows-based. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I don’t think there are any. There are LOTS of new tablets though, on all platforms – but just nothing that stands out. Below are notable announcements by the various vendors for new tablets. Some have some pretty compelling prices, others have great features (like native 4G), but not any one that stood out. In no particular order:
Blackberry Playbook (no price announced – available in Q1):
Samsung Series 7 Sliding PC ($699)
Fujitsu Windows Slate Tablet (somewhere under $1,000 – available in Q1):
ASUS Eee Slate ($999 – available in Q1):
Lenovo IdeaPad (no price announced – only available in China, currently):
Viliv S5 (runs Windows XP though – $647):
Viliv S10 Blade (Win7 – $899):
Onkyo Tablet ($779):
Tegatech Tega V2 (no price announced):
http://www.tegatech.com.au/TEGA/v2/ (good comparison between it and the iPad on that screen)
Netbook Navigator Slate ($774):
HP Slate 500 ($809):
Dell Inspiron Duo ($549):
Samsung Galaxy ($499 with a contract – Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and AT&T)
Viewsonic Viewpad 7 ($579)
Archos 101 ($299):
Dell Streak (no price announced):
I guess time will tell if any of these spike out into successful products. In the meantime, I continue to wait for Microsoft to get off their butt, get with a hardware vendor and just create an iPad killer – is it really that difficult?!