Everyone in the Tablet Business Is Trying to Be Different From Apple

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-02-29 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

The tablet processor battle continues, as well.

Nvidia€™s 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 that€™s not Tegra-based.) There€™s 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 isn€™t doing, even if it€™s 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 Apple€™s camp.

The scramble to be different is based on this €œgotta have an iPad€ mindset among consumers, and necessarily so. Fighting Apple is basically a nonstarter if all you€™re trying to be is another tablet just like the iPad, but running Android. As a number of vendors, notably Samsung, have found out, this doesn€™t work. People buy tablets for a lot of different reasons, but if that reason involves having an iPad, that€™s 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 it€™s wise not to be caught up in the hype that€™s already surrounding the mobile device introductions at MWC, it pays to know what€™s 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.




 
 
 
 
Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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