It was all about tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, the biggest event in the industry.

Almost 80 new tablets were announced after, a new market sprung up from nowhere with the Apple iPad. Apple sold almost 15 million iPads and it seems like companies think it’s the iPhone syndrome all over again, with more magnitude maybe. Android based tablets were the majority, almost 90% while there were some others like Windows and RIM (surprisingly not Blackberry OS but QNX)!

CES2011

There was the Motorola Xoom which sported the first and only Honeycomb, Android operating system 3.0. This version of Android is optimized for tablets with UI features that take up all the space of the 10 inch screen and has full screen user panels side by side, no physical buttons at all. But operating system wise the RIM Playbook running on QNX was also quite good, smooth slick intuitive. There were tablets with docks and tablets with sliding keyboards like the Asus Eee Pad Slider. There were also tablets in various screen sizes 7 inch, 8 inch, 9 inch and 10 inch.

If there are 20 manufacturers with 80 products the tablet market will have to be at least 80 million which is more than 400% growth compared to last year. Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Tablets are interesting but there still is a learning curve required and it’s a lot more than product type. Microsoft and Samsung had been experimenting with Windows several years ago on a portable PC concept and it ended up with the netbook. Now that the netbook seems to be running for its life after the iPad has been introduced, everyone is thinking about tablets.

But these new devices or this new iPad isn’t about hardware at all. The UI, O/S and applications will have to be ready for the market to take off and any manufacturer that doesn’t have all of these will probably end up scraping its prototype by the end of this year.

From the looks of it none of the tablets at CES seem to have these ready but who knows it might be in the works. We’ll have to wait until then for the year of the tablet to really come.

 

Jan 13, 2011

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