Whether or not you believe that the iPad will be an effective tablet computer for personal or enterprise use, there is no question that it has set the bar by which all competitors will be measured. “Competitors?” you say! Why yes, a slew of devices similar in concept to the iPad are on the horizon. Here’s a quick rundown.
Dell Looking Glass
It looks like Dell’s tablet offering, the Looking Glass will come in 7 and 10 inch varieties. These appear to be larger versions of their 5″ device, the Streak (and you thought the iPad was a bad name). Evidently, these may run on Google’s Android platform which could provide a boost from app developers interested in retreating from the iron fist of Apple’s latest developer agreement. Other than that, it’s still a Dell, so chances of being blown away by its innovative design or quality are low.
HP’s tablet offering will come equipped with a camera, USB port and be able to run Flash—all features noticeably lacking from the iPad. The Slate appears to be a Windows 7 device which means it could act as a full featured PC with a touch interface while meeting the standards of many enterprise IT departments. Also… a cool name. Look for the Slate to hit stores some time this summer.
UPDATE (4/29/2010): According to TechCrunch, “HP is not satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system and has terminated the project.”
Microsoft Courier Digital Journal
Has Microsoft finally outdone Apple at its own game? If the Courier can live up to the prototype images and videos currently circulating online, I would say yes.
Moleskine fans (like me) should love the concept of the Courier; it’s like an interactive Moleskine on steroids. Reports state that the digital journal is built on “Tegra 2 and runs on the same OS as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 Series.” Zune? Alas, maybe this is too good to be true.
UPDATE (4/29/2010): Gizmodo breaks my heart; Courier was too good to be true: “Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported.”
Google Android Tablet
While—like Bigfoot—eye-witness reports are scarce, there are credible reports that an Android-based Google tablet is in our near future. It’s hard to speculate about the particular pros and cons of this hardware, but it is very likely to offer a more open app development environment. This app eco-system could be the advantage that Google needs to supplant the iPad, and gain a foothold in the tablet market.
Why should I care?
While tablets are not likely to completely replace full-powered laptop and desktop work stations, they are soon to become a daily accessory for millions. Tablets provide content, entertainment, companionship and the marketing opportunities that compliment those activities.
Are your digital marketing initiatives location-aware, built for mobile devices and optimized for a touchscreen interface? Are you taking advantage of mobile application platforms—delivering valuable content and functionality to internal & external audiences? As the technology landscape evolves, it’s time to consider your position in the mobile marketing landscape.