If 2010 was the year of anything in the technology industry, it was tablets.
Apple's iPad ushered in a new craze in the marketplace that will stay on the minds of consumers and enterprise customers around the world for the foreseeable future. Its influence was bolstered by competing devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak that appealed to customers in their own way.
Considering the importance of tablets in 2010, most believe that they will be even more prominent in 2011. Multiple vendors plan on getting into the market with the majority of those companies putting their efforts behind Google's Android platform. They seem convinced that, as in the smartphone market, Android will find a way to overcome iOS to lead the way.
But even with the onslaught of Android tablets coming out next year, Apple's iPad will overcome the fresh competition and enjoy an even better 2011.
1. Verizon's help
There is a very good chance that Apple will be offering both an AT&T 3G and WiFi option, as well as a Verizon 3G and WiFi option to customers with the launch of the iPad 2. That's a significant development. Although current Verizon customers can use the MiFi 2200 hotspot to access the company's 3G network from the iPad, it's a less desirable experience. It could be pushing some customers away. With the next iPad, that will be worked out-and Apple will enjoy stronger sales.
2. Buyers are sold on iPad
When the iPad first launched, the market wasn't sure what to make of it. Some consumers believed that it was going to be the next big thing, while others decided to take a wait-and-see approach. Still others determined that waiting a year for Apple to work all the kinks out would be the best move. With those factors in mind and considering the update that the iPad2 will be, it's likely that all most of the hesitation will fade away in 2011.
3. Enterprise help
The corporate world has historically been the last to adopt a new technology. Companies around the world are worried about productivity, security and other aspects that aren't necessarily improved by jumping to a new technology so quickly. But now that the enterprise has been able to examine the iPad throughout the year, it's quite likely that it will jump on it in a big way next year.
4. Android isn't a guarantee
Android is enjoying substantial attention in the mobile marketplace because of its success in the smartphone space. But that doesn't mean that it will be a success in the tablet market. Android 2.2 running on the Samsung Galaxy Tab leaves much to be desired. It's hard to see how it can match the iPad's iOS platform. Simply put, Android might make gains in 2011, but it won't do enough to stop the iPad.