In 2009, it was predicted that 2010 will be the year of the tablet just like what Netbooks did some years earlier. Indeed it was with the explosive popularity of Apple’s iPad and a rush of Android tablet PCs out in the market. Now, experts are predicting that 2011 is still the year of the tablet as iPads sales are still on a roll while other big names in the mobile device and PC manufacture market are extending their development efforts in the tablet PC arena.
The following provides a brief overview of how tablet PCs entered the personal and mobile computing arena and how the iPad and Android turned tablets from geeky to sleek and sexy and literally catapulted these devices into the top of the hi tech gadgets market and into people’s hands.
A Brief History of the Tablet PC
Some people may not know it, but tablet PCs did not start with the iPad but actually came into existence way back in 1989 in the form of the GripPAD tablet. This early version was still running on DOS and was using an inductive pen as an input device. It basically has the same size as an iPad but weighs over 10 lbs.
The Palm Pilot is another early version but this time it weighs only 160 grams or 5.6 ounces and already features a touchpad but requires a stylus or a sharp point for input. From these two early versions of the tablets that later versions that people enjoy now eventually emerged. However, there were several user issues with these early versions as these gadgets were only functioning satisfactory in one area of mobile computing but failed miserably in others. This did not work well with the public.
The emergence of the iPad however changed the publics’ perception of the tablet device and reinvigorated the tablet PC market and changed the way people communicate with each other and with the world. Android tablets have taken this development even one step further by offering features and functionalities that compensated for what iPads lack. These tablets catered to the growing need of people for mobile computing applications: internet access, video on demand, social networks, instant messages, video chat, and email in a sleek but very convenient package – everything they ever need in a mobile computing device.
iPads and Android Tablet Devices in the Market
Apple’s iPad dominated the tablet market when it was launched, accounting for over 19.5 million tablets sold in the year 2010. Several OEM manufacturers wanted a piece of the tablet pie and introduced their own versions of the tablet, majority of which make use of the Android operating system. Some of these emerging marquee products include:
*Fusion Garage JooJoo
*Augen GenTouch78 Android Tablet
*Samsung Galaxy Tab Android Tablet
*Toshiba Folio 100
*LG Optimus Pad
*ViewSonic ViewPad 100
*Dell Looking Glass
*Cisco Cius tablet
*Best Buy Rocketfish
*MSI Android Tablet
The popularity of tablets exploded across the globe much further with the entry of Chinese wholesale brands and manufacturers presenting their own versions of the iPad but instead of using an Apple OS, these tablets make use of the Android operating system.
One of the more prominent samples that created quite a buzz in the tablet market is the P88 from the Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial Co. which looks like an iPad clone except for the USB ports that iPads lack. The manufacturers of the P88 claimed that their device was released three months before Apple’s iPad was released and accused Apple of copying its multi-touch tablet design. Aside from the P88, other Android-based Chinese tablets emerged in the market and are slowly making their way across the globe through various online stores and dropship resellers. Some of these Chinese tablets include:
*Epad Tablet PC
*Eken M005 Tablet PC
*Apad iRobot Telechip TCC8902 Android 2.1 Tablet PC
*Utopia Apad iMX515 Android 2.2 Tablet
*Haipad M701-R Apad HDMI Telechip Android Tablet
*Wopad Capacitive Touch Screen CT7001 RK2818 Android 2.1 Apad Android Tablet
*Gome Flytouch Apad Android 2.1 Tablet
*Malata Zpad T2 2.2 Capacitive Tablet
*Zenithink ZT-180 10″ A105 Android 2.1 Tablet
*Gpad 9.7″ Capacitive Multi-Touch Screen Android 2.2
*Witstech A81-E 7″ Android 2.2 Tablet with Removable Battery Free Case
*C901 WiFi 7.0 Inch Touch Screen MP4 Player with Android, MID, & E-Book Reader
*iMito iM7 7″ Touch Screen MID & E-Book Reader Tablet PC Telechips Android 2.1
*SmartQ T7 and SmartQ T7-3G Android 2.1 tablets
*Opad A1 7 Inches Android 2.1 Tablet PC
*Flytouch Epad Ep07 7″ Google Android 1.6 EPad Tablet Slate
*Moonse E7001 7″ Aluminum Edition Android 1.5 Tablet MID Slate Device
Future Trends in the Tablet Devices Market
Experts in the mobile computing industry are synonymous in stating that the manufacture and sales of tablets in the next 12 months would continue to grow atmospherically now that more and more manufacturers from across the globe are jumping in the tablet bandwagon. Android will continue to gain popularity as more features such as video calling are being added to flagship devices. Apple iPads will continue to see strong sales and experts are expecting new versions and some updates to their devices this year.