Some people called 2010 the year of the tablet – but they were wrong. 2010 was the year of the iPad – the device that launched the tablet. 2011 will be the year of tablet, as computer and phone makers jump into the growing market.
The iPad dominated the tablet market in 2010, selling nearly 20 million. It was a device that many, unwisely, shrugged off. Some manufacturers tried to get into the market after the iPad took off in April, but only Samsung was able to bring a credible product to market (the Galaxy Tab sold about 1 million units in 2010).
As the iPad has taken the lead in the tablet marketplace, other companies have been scrambling to introduce their own tablets. Manufacturers know that there will be a market – just as there has been a market for smartphones other than the iPhone. All this will make 2011 truly the Year of the Tablet.
Watch for new tablet devices from the following:
- Microsoft – after last year’s tablet flop as CES, Microsoft will try again. What OS the Microsoft tablet run will be the big question. Windows 7? Something new?
- Hewlett-Packard – After acquiring Palm in 2010, HP will use the WebOS platform to make a new tablet. Last year, HP had planned on a device – the Slate – to compete with the iPad, but the Windows-based tablet was delayed, and eventually released to middling results, as HP began planning a new WebOS-based tablet.
- Motorola – the ‘Olympus’ tablet will run Honeycomb, the optimized Android OS for tablets.
- RIM’s Playbook – watch for it in March of this year.
- NEC – will launch a dual screen tablet running Android.
- Samsung – will update its Galaxy Tab.
- Vizio – will offer a tablet running Android.
- Toshiba – like Vizio and NEC, they will launch a tablet running on Android.
And there will be loads of cheap tablets from companies no one has heard of.
Google’s Android will be the OS for many tablets, and Google has been working on an optimized version of Android to help with production.
Many of these devices will get their baptism at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.
Finally, we would be remiss if we don’t mention the elephant in the room – the iPad. The iPad 2 will likely come out this spring.