Apple announced their "iPad" earlier this year.
With a revolutionary device such as the iPhone already under their belt, can Apple hope to dominate the tablet computer market in the same way that they have crushed the smart phone market in recent years? Initial signs point to no. Sure, there is going to be that collective of die hard Mac users that flock to the latest shiny product Apple releases and buy the iPad the day it releases, however consider the following about the iPad:
- Like iAnything, the iPad is going to have a locked amount of internal storage
- It lacks USB ports, meaning you can't really connect anything useful to it
- It lacks flash support. Meaning a large portion of the web will not function on it
- I could go on...
With the iPad apparently set to fail to satisfy our touch-technology needs from the start: Where is one to turn when looking for a tablet computer in 2010? There is of course long term contender in the tablet PC market the touch screen laptop. At this point such devices, while functional, are far from being anything "special" or "revolutionary".
Slightly more recent is the hybrid of last year's craze the netbook and what is bound to be a theme for this year the tablet computer found in Asus's EEE T91.
Next: Enter the latest addition to the touchscreen devices set to da-beau in 2010: MeeGo. In a joint effort between the Intel and Nokia companies. MeeGo, a Linux based operating system, is going to be targeted at both ARM and x86 based devices (despite the former of the two not being made by Intel). While MeeGo is still in the very preliminary stages of development, other Linux-based touchscreen-orientated operating systems, such as Android and Maemo, have shown us that the Linux platform is more than capable of functioning on such devices in an elegant manner. With backing from such large companies MeeGo is going to be hard-pressed to not get at least some publicity.
Speaking of Android - the Notion Ink ADAM contains some of the most impressive tablet computer specs we have seen thus far. If the initial announcements are held true over the course of development, then this little tablet computer might just be that "revolutionary"tablet the world is looking for. The first set of tech specs boast:
- HDMI Output
- 3 USB Ports
- 16 hours video playback
- Adobe Flash (thank god)
- And More
While it isn't official which operating system will be shipping with the device when it finally goes to market - there is a tech demo video of the device, found here, running what is said to be "a wrapper around Android". Other mentioned operating systems that might be possible to run on the device include Google's Chrome OS and Ubuntu ARM.
Finally I would like to mention the product I think should end up being the clear winner in the "tablet-orientated" marketplace in 2010:
Now with the hype have I just given the ADAM you might be thinking "What makes the U1 so special/interesting/unique?" Simple:
The U1 is two computers in one.
In addition to being a fully functional 11.6 inch touchscreen laptop sporting an Intel Core 2 processor, two gigs of RAM, and a 128gig SDD the U1's touchscreen is detachable. When detached from the computer the tablet-screen contains it's own 1ghz snapdragon ARM processor, RAM, and 16gig SSD. When in "laptop" mode the system by default runs Windows 7 and when the screen is detached the tablet-screen runs Lenovo's Skylight Linux. Both computers contain their own batteries (which are each rated at five hours duration), and each of the computers are fully functional without the other (if you hook the laptop base up to an external monitor of course, because naturally while tablet-screen is detached the laptop is missing it's screen).
Needless to say there is not going to be any lack of tablet computers on the market in 2010. Another point I feel worth noting is that a majority of the devices listed here are running various forms of Linux (Just like many of the smart phones being released recently). So while 2010 might not end up being the year of "desktop" Linux, with the flood of penguin-powered touch screen devices it may still be the year Linux makes it's way into countless homes.
I have just highlighted some of the top competitors for upcoming tablet computers I have come across/researched thus far. Know of any other upcoming tablet computer releases (or perhaps one that is already released)? Drop a comment to let me know about it.