Call this a companion post to this one from last night. The difference is I have a sister. Two of them as a matter of fact, and contrary to the headline of this post, they both know what a Tablet is. Unlike the situation with everybody else who is rushing to beat Apple with a Tablet of their own. Yes, we’re going to see a lot of things called Tablets at CES2010, and yes, we’re going to be hearing Tablet this and Tablet that for quite some time.
The rush is on to beat Apple, especially with the latest rumors saying Apple will announce in early January. Once Apple does announce its plans, the oxygen will be sucked out of the air when it comes to coverage so everybody wants to get skin in the game as soon as they can, in hopes of finding some breathing room. Then the task shifts to trying to take advantage of the market Apple is hoping to create.
Any number of manufacturers both well known and new to the game (ever heard of Amzapec) are planning Tablets, and then of course there is the JooJoo (does anyone know anyone who pre-ordered one of those things?). Of course most will be focused on media consumption. But the real trick and what Tablet hungry consumers need to pay attention to is the OS.
Windows 7 provides very good touch and pen options. But as we’ve seen with the Archos 9 Internet Tablet, if the OEMs ship with Windows 7 Starter Edition, they probably should not have bothered in the first place as it doesn’t turn on the necessary bits to take advantage of those features. This is a pricing issue of course as OEMs try to market these devices at the lowest cost possible. But to my mind, it makes for a complete FAIL to tout these devices as Tablets if you don’t provide the rich experience that is available, or rely on the user to spend an extra $80 bucks to take advantage of the upgrade path.
I’m not trying to be down on this by any means. Obviously I’m a Tablet fan and on many levels, the more Tablet-like devices we have the better. But I think inÂ the rush to come we’re going to see some disappointing results brought about by no real clear delineation of benefits for the consumer. Many still question whether or not there is a market for these devices. I’ve said over and over again that Apple will use its marketing savvy to create that market. Everybody else will let Apple spend the dough and do so and then hope to ride on those coat tails. But I think that ride has the potential to be very bumpy if the OEMs don’t provide something beyond a screen to poke at.