Motorola, RIM, Toshiba, Samsung, Dell, Microsoft and a handful of carriers like Verizon helped turn CES 2011 into a show for tablets.
2011 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show seemed to have one collective obsession:
tablets. From manufacturers unveiling the latest touch-screens, to smaller
companies using iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs as booth props, tablets seemed as
ubiquitous as casino chips.
success of the Apple iPad in 2010, and the solid sales of Android-based
competitors, such as the Galaxy Tab, meant other companies inevitably would try
to seize their own piece of the pie. That being said, the obsession at CES 2010
was e-reader devices, with any number of companies debuting their own version
of a Kindle killer-virtually none of which managed to succeed in the
marketplace, if they even made it beyond the prototype stage. History,
therefore, sounds a note of caution; whether the generalized tablet hype here
at the show translates into real-world success remains to be seen.
stopped the hype machine, however. Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha took to the
keynote stage Jan. 6 to show off the Xoom
, an Android 3.0 tablet coming
from his company and Verizon Wireless in February. Powered by the Nvidia Tegra
2 dual-core processor for extra speed, and optimized for tablet-size applications
and widgets, the 10.1-inch device could prove a hit.
also planning to build a version of the Galaxy Tab that runs on Verizon
Wireless' 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network.
The same day,
Dell and T-Mobile joined the tablet fray with the Streak 7 tablet
, specifically designed for
T-Mobile's 4G network. That device features a 7-inch WVGA multi-touch screen
fronted with ultra-tough Gorilla Glass, and runs Android 2.2 on a dual-core
1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. In what is rapidly becoming standard for new
tablet devices hitting the market, the Streak 7 integrates front- and
rear-facing cameras for video conferencing.
Streak 7's Android 2.2 operating system puts it at odds with many of the
upcoming tablets shown at CES, which largely seem to use Android 3.0. Toshiba
also has an Android 3.0 tablet in the works for release later in 2011.
and Toshiba all find themselves locked in competition with Research In Motion's
upcoming PlayBook, a 7-inch tablet running a specially developed proprietary
operating system. RIM hopes that the device will appeal not only to the
enterprise users who helped build its BlackBerry franchise, but also consumers
who may want something a little different from Google Android and Apple iOS
expected Microsoft to make a high-profile Windows tablet announcement at CES,
the company remained notably muted in that area. Microsoft's booth on the show
floor displayed a handful of tablets running Windows 7, but most seemed
intended for parts of the Asian market. Those devices featured 10- and 12-inch
screens, as opposed to the 7-inch tablets embraced by players such as Samsung
In place of an
"iPad killer," Microsoft and its manufacturing partners spent much of CES
pushing laptops with ultra-slim form-factors and touch screens. Samsung's booth
featured the Series 7, a laptop whose keyboard slides underneath to convert the
device into a tablet. Acer also had a notebook with a second touch-screen in
place of a keyboard. Microsoft also worked with Samsung to create Surface 2,
the next generation of its table-sized tablet.
In any case,
tablets seemed the main story at CES, even more so than the 3-D televisions or
laptops running Intel's "Sandy Bridge" chip architecture. But how many of these
devices making their debut this week will still be around come CES 2012?