Good news if you bought an iPad: It’s set to dominate the tablet market by almost three to one until 2012.
Its first real competition, namely PC-based tablets and slates debuting in 2011, will still only account for less than 30 percent of the market, and will be dwarfed by the Apple device, according to the research firm iSuppli.
iSuppli is banking on the iPad's history to mirror that of Apple's iPhone, when it took other smartphones about three years before they were "in the ballpark" with the iPhone, said Rhoda Alexander, iSuppli's director of monitor research.
She said prototypes by HP, Dell, and Lenovo will appear--but none except from HP, set to appear in 2011, has the potential to take away some of the iPad's market share. This includes the rumored Research in Motion "BlackPad" and Google Chrome OS tablet. About 3.3 million iPads were sold between March and June of this year worldwide.
While many who aren't iPad diehards may find this projection tough to swallow, let's look at who is trying to take on the iPad.
1. Asustek Computer
Asustek has come up with two versions of a tablet, the Eee Pad EP121 and Eee Pad EP101TC. The EP121 has a 12-inch touchscreen, Windows 7 Home Premium OS, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and it can be converted into a laptop. The EP101T has a 10-inch screen, uses Windows Embedded Compact 7 software, weighs a mere 675 grams, has Nvidia Tegra chips, and will cost around $450 when it is released in early 2011. The EP121's price hasn't been set, but it's also set to debut in 2011.
2. Cisco Cius
This 1.5-pound, handheld tablet with a 7-inch display also sports a front-facing 720p video camera and 5MP camera in the back. It also comes with an Intel Atom 1.6Ghz processor, the Android platform, eight hours of battery life, videoconferencing and a virtual desktop client for cloud computing. Cisco said the price tag will be just under $1000 when it's available in early 2011.
3. Foxconn Technology N928-1
The manufacturer of the iPad, the Hon Hai Precision Industry also known as Foxconn Technology, is now coming out with its own iPad competitor, a 10.1-inch touchscreen Android tablet using a Nvidia Tegra chipset displayed at the Computex electronics show in Taipei earlier this year. It will have both 3-D and high-definition screens but so far, few details have been released.
With Enterprise Server 5 software's mobile management tools, the rumored Research in Motion BlackPad could separate business and personal information, a boon for an IT manager who can change company data but leave personal information or apps intact. It also allegedly has a 9.7-inch touchscreen and the QNX operating system, the result of RIM's recent purchase of QNX Software Systems. Of course, there have been no official statement, price, or specs released.
5. Chrome OS Tablet
Rumored to hit the stores in November, the Chrome OS Tablet is supposed to be a 1280-by-720 touch display, 22GB solid state drive with 2GB of memory. It also incorporates Google Chrome, which gives users geolocation and can sync information and autofill data across different machines and devices. So far there's been no official word on the alleged tablet from Google.
6. HP "PalmPad"
So far this rumored tablet from HP has garnered the most buzz as the iPad killer. It will be HP's first tablet featuring the Palm WebOS, and is considered to have many of the advantages of the iPad, but with a front-facing camera and expandable memory. The tablet will likely be available next year, but so far no specs or other official information has been released.
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