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Tablet Frenzy Turning Into Tablet Questioning

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Holy cow. I would have thought that after we’d seen HP’s announcement of the PalmPad and folks starting reviewing the Motorola Xoom we’d have a real Tablet war on our hands. Well, we kinda do and we kinda don’t. But then if you read this post you probably know I didn’t expect that Tablet War to begin with.

Sumocat linked to Om Malik’s post and shared some of his thoughts on the follow the leader rat race that the Tablet-scape has been since the release of the iPad. Kevin Tofel and others are saying the Xoom feels a bit rushed. Goodness knows what the pundits would be saying if all of the other followers could afford to put review units in the hands of the tech press and bloggers. Well, actually they’d probably say not up to snuff in most instances. (They have in a few cases already.)

While Om is correct and Sumocat is as well the real point is this. Slapping together a Tablet to have something in the market is a long step from competing seriously in the space. Price points, battery life, UI, Apps, ecosystem etc… all matter and no one has proven YET that they really understand how to weave it all together in the way Apple is attempting to. In other words its called a vision and in my view the vision of most of the followers is simple, try to make some money by doing something like Apple.

Say what you want about Apple and its closed system but there is a vision there if you choose to buy into it. I’m not saying that Motorola, Google, HP, and the others don’t have a vision, but I am saying that they are so far not articulating one that resonates. And early impressions of things being rushed, as well as all the other issues, don’t help anybody’s competitive stance. Everybody always talks a good game in product releases (well, some not so much), but when it comes to delivering the goods, or should I say vision, that’s another story.

I keep reminding myself that what we’re seeing today is the planting of seeds that many hope lead to some pretty delicious fruit in a year or so down the road. The only problem with that is that the neighbor on the hill has already harvested last year’s crop and is going to have one, if not two more crops to take to market before we see the benefits from any of these other seedlings.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    02/25/2011 at 7:36 pm

    Well said post. exactly. and Apple is expanding its “vision” – hardware, software, and soon “cloud” – to all its integrated product lines, often with leading technology to boot (look at the recent MacBook Air and new MacBook Pros). Everyone else has to mix/match and depend on Windows for the desktop, Google for the cloud and portable, and a gaggle of OEM’s for the hardware.

    So Apple’s “vision” advantage is obvious. and they clearly know how to “execute” too. put those together and …

  2. sfwrtr

    02/25/2011 at 7:45 pm

    Whereas I think the Android tablets will sell, I think they will sell about as much or a bit more than the previous generation of tablet PCs. I best guess is that a year down the line, HP, Palm, etc., will have a big loss on their hands and Apple’s iPad will keep going and going. You are absolutely right. It is the package that people are wanting and buying, not the tablet.

  3. Quentin Dewolf

    02/25/2011 at 10:24 pm

    nobody is asking “what are people doing with tablets?” and then optimizing for that. Apple releases and pushes what it wants and lives off the flash. the real world companies must make something that people need and will use long term. we have not fully established what consumers want with tablets (are they big phones? do they replace laptops?, are they a new thing?). Why tie these units to phone carriers if they do not make calls?
    I would love to see 7inch tablets that take calls (bluetooth headset). just to see if they replace phones. next how about 7-10 inch fully functional windows tablets to see if they can truly replace laptops (bluetooth keyboards for long form content creation).

  4. GoodThings2Life

    02/25/2011 at 10:35 pm

    Just as Windows took over the desktop market, and just as Android is taking over in the smartphone market, so too will the more open platforms take over against the iPad. Maybe not as swiftly as Microsoft did on the desktop, but I believe more and more that it will happen. Eventually, more people want flexibility and diversity than they do tight control.

  5. Cuhulin

    02/25/2011 at 10:51 pm

    I believe HP is articulating a vision as well, built around WebOS integrated with Windows and with easy data transfer. The question for HP, though, is whether they are too late to get much into the market.

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