Everyone in the Tablet Business Is Trying to Be Different From Apple
The tablet processor battle continues, as well. Nvidias Tegra 3 quad-core processor is showing up virtually everywhere, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the HTC One smartphone, the LG Optimus 4X and a new device from Fujitsu that may be a tablet or a super phone. (Fujitsu is apparently also introducing a waterproof tablet thats not Tegra-based.) Theres also a new Tegra-based tablet from Acer, and the Asus tablets are using this processor, as well.There are, of course, plenty of plain ol 10-inch tablets showing up at MWC, but even those have something that Apple isnt doing, even if its selling tablets at a lower price. And the number of 7-inch tablets being introduced defies counting.But the one constant is that just about everyone in the tablet business is trying to be as much not like the iPad as possible. Partly this might be due to the protracted legal battles between Apple and Samsung about whether you can patent the appearance of a tablet. But the biggest reason is the sheer marketing power of Apple and the iPad. When the iPad 3 is announced March 7, the floodgates will open, and the tide will suck buyers away from anything that resembles an iPad and into Apples camp. The scramble to be different is based on this gotta have an iPad mindset among consumers, and necessarily so. Fighting Apple is basically a nonstarter if all youre trying to be is another tablet just like the iPad, but running Android. As a number of vendors, notably Samsung, have found out, this doesnt work. People buy tablets for a lot of different reasons, but if that reason involves having an iPad, thats all that will work. Fortunately, this competition creates a sort of tablet evolution. By having to be different to survive, tablet makers have to come up with ideas that improve the breed as it were. Who would have thought, for example, that the stylus would make a comeback? Who would have imagined that the long, much missed Palm Pilot would reappear, but as the Galaxy Note? While its wise not to be caught up in the hype thats already surrounding the mobile device introductions at MWC, it pays to know whats out there that your company can use, and what is just one more piece of derivative technology. This means that it probably makes no sense to buy a wannabe iPad. But it could make a lot of sense to look at something that transcends the iPad and brings your company real value.