Mobile and Wireless: iPad Mini Faces No Shortage of Small, Light or Cheap Competitors

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-08-20 Print this article Print
Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung predicted the time was right for the 5-inch form factor and has found a surprisingly large audience for its Galaxy Note. The device combines a 5.3-inch high-definition Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) display with a dual-core processor and a reimagining of the stylus.
As the analysts promised, the tablet market is changing and growing and will soon be joined by a smaller, lighter iPad—which even in rumor form has seemingly played as large a role in shaping these changes as Apple's third-generation iPad. While Apple was once firmly against the 7-inch form factor—Steve Jobs, during a 2010 earnings call, famously called the size "dead on arrival"—times have changed. Dell's 2010 launch of the 5-inch Streak was a failure, with analysts criticizing its not-quite-a-phone, not-quite-a-tablet physique. Two years later, consumers and enterprise users in particular jumped at the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, and in a matter of months, Samsung sold more than 10 million of them. Consumers, now comfortable with the tablet form factor and well-acquainted with paperback-sized e-readers, are ready for a smaller, lighter, less-expensive iPad, and by all accounts but Apple's, they'll soon get one. Jefferies analysts reported Aug. 17 that while their current tablet estimates are for between 16 million and 18 million units, their checks show build plans for 25 to 30 million tablets during the third and fourth quarters—the discrepancy being the iPad Mini. The analysts expect the device to launch during the fourth quarter, helping Apple—which during the second quarter increased its share of the tablet market to nearly 70 percent—collect the majority of the economic benefits of the three largest multi-year trends: smartphones, tablets and 4G. Here, eWEEK brings together the markets' newest entrants and those likely to put up the best fight when the iPad Mini joins the fray.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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