iPad, Android, Samsung: 10 Reasons Why the Tablet Market Is Competitive

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-09-07

iPad, Android, Samsung: 10 Reasons Why the Tablet Market Is Competitive

The tablet market is an interesting space. It gets all kinds of attention, but the vast majority of folks have yet to buy one of the devices. Over time, that's expected to change as the Apple iPad and its competitors, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, start attracting more and more consumers. But for now, it's a small, nascent market that has a long way to go before it has a major impact on the industry as a whole.

Because of that, the tablet market isn't even close to being decided. There are still far too many companies that have yet to reveal their strategies for anyone to crown Apple or any other firm the winner in that space.

Here, eWEEK takes take a look at why the tablet market isn't dominated by any company just yet.

1. Apple's iPad isn't dominant-yet

Apple's iPad is performing extremely well in stores. In fact, Apple has sold more than 3 million iPads since the device launched earlier this year. But that doesn't mean that the tablet is dominating the market. All that means is that the iPad is the first success in the tablet space. And going forward, another, more-capable device could supplant it.

2. The Android juggernaut

Android OS is slowly making its way to the tablet market. So far, it hasn't done much to beat the iPad. In fact, the Dell Streak, which runs an outdated version of Android, is arguably the most significant release thus far. And so far, it has performed poorly compared with Apple's device. But in the coming months, a slew of Android-based products are coming. When that happens, expect a major battle between the firms.

3. Samsung is a concern

Samsung announced recently that it plans to release a tablet to compete with Apple's iPad. The Galaxy Tab will boast a 7-inch display, run Android 2.2 and take on Apple's iPad directly. When the device launches at some point in the future, Apple will need to worry. Samsung is successful in the mobile market. And with a viable touch-screen tablet coming, it could give Apple a run for its money.

4. It's still in its infancy

It might be easy to crown Apple's iPad the winner of the tablet market now, but let's not forget that the space is very much in its infancy. And in the coming months and years, things will change. As they do, expect companies to make drastic decisions. Meanwhile, the market as it's known today will be jolted by new ideas and changing consumer desire.

Cisco, Chrome, Smartphones Will Have a Say


5. The iPad isn't ideal

The iPad is an outstanding device that delivers an experience that few other products in today's marketplace can muster. But it's not ideal. For example, the device lacks multitasking. And according to Apple, an update bringing that functionality to the device won't be coming until November. That's not good for consumers, and it's bad news for Apple itself. Going forward, the iPad will need to offer a better value proposition if it is to dominate the tablet space.

6. The mainstream isn't there yet

Customers are buying tablets at a rapid rate, and the chances of that slowing down anytime soon seem slim. But the mainstream market that will help determine which company wins and which company loses has yet to fully make its way to the space just yet. Over time, it undoubtedly will. But until the mainstream starts buying tens of millions of tablets each month, it's hard to say which firm will come out on top.

7. The enterprise is undecided

The enterprise is an interesting space. It's typically the market where vendors can make boatloads of cash, but it's also the segment that hates change. Realizing that, tablets have yet to make their way into many offices around the world. Recent reports suggest that's changing, but it's taking awhile. Until the corporate world determines what's next for it, there is no way to predict the tablet's future.

8. Cisco could change everything

Cisco Systems is planning to release an Android-based tablet, called the Cius, in the coming months. When that tablet hits store shelves, it will cater to enterprise customers that want to get more from their existing Cisco technologies. Exactly how the Cius will perform is anyone's guess. But if it's successful, it could bring the enterprise into the tablet market in droves. And when that happens, all bets are off.

9. The Chrome OS wild card

Google's Chrome OS promises to be a fine platform for netbooks. But speculation abounds over the possibility of the search giant offering its Web-based operating system on tablets. If (or perhaps when) that happens, the effect could be noticeable on both Android OS and the tablet market as a whole. After all, if people choose the Web-based option, just about all of the devices available now will be obsolete.

10. Smartphones can change everything

The wild card in the tablet space is the smartphone. Apple's iPhone, as well as the multitude of Android-based devices on the market, could stunt the tablet's growth. Although Apple and its competitors have said that smartphones and tablets are two distinct markets, that might not be true. After all, they both deliver mobility, the same operating systems and equal productivity. Plus, with limited budgets both in the consumer market and the enterprise guiding buying decisions, it's possible that some might choose the cheaper smartphone offering rather than a tablet. If that happens, the future is very much in doubt for the iPad and its competition.

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