After the iPad was released, many thought that tablet fever would ensue, but in reality there are very few consumer-friendly tablets currently on the market.
Every major computer company is said to have prototype tablets in the works, but that doesn’t mean consumers will get their hands on them any time soon. While there will likely be dozens of different tablets on the market by the end of the year, did Apple really catch everyone off guard again?
All the major companies are frantically playing catch-up to produce a tablet that has the same sort of functionality as the iPad. But companies have known about the rumoured tablet for years, and they’re still scrambling to put together a tablet that can actually compete with the iPad.
While not as unexpected as the introduction of the iPhone in 2001, it still seems like the major players should have been anticipating Apple’s tablet by readying competing devices for the market.
Apple has a huge head start, and consumers who want a tablet really only have two choices: they can buy an iPad or they can wait until other tablets hit the market. But who knows how long that will take? The HP Slate, which is expected to be a major iPad competitor, has no official launch date and is thought to be available in the US in June.
And the Microsoft Courier, a dual-screen tablet, had garnered a lot of hype on the internet, but Gizmodo recently discovered that the device has been axed by the company and will not go into production.
And though many analysts have dubbed 2010 “the year of the tablet”, many of the devices that have received so much buzz aren’t actually available on the market yet, with even the iPad not yet officially available in international markets.
Companies have a long way to go before they can realistically compete with the iPad, and it’s fair to say that until most of the major players start selling tablets, the devices will remain a niche product.