iPad Rivals | Android vs. Microsoft vs. Apple

The competition is heating up amongst Apple iPad rivals.  Microsoft, Android, and Apple appear to be heading into a summer battle.

Get ready iPad. I feel a brewing tablet war coming on. In the past few days there have been multiple announcements about potential iPad rivals due to hit the marketplace soon. The news is literally streaming from all over the Internet regarding potential iPad replacements, challengers, etc. Within the last few days, here is what I have learned:

  • iPad RivalsFrom the Digits Live show  we saw the unveiling of the Asus Eee Pad which will run on Windows 7 software, support Adobe Flash, and will retail for around $400.
  • Over at the Computex show, Intel talked up “Oak Trail” which is an Atom platform aimed directly at the tablet PC space.  Intel is making this chipset to work with several iPad competitors, namely the Google Android OS, the MeeGo operating system (developed jointly by Intel and Nokia), and Windows 7.
  • Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s OEM VP, responded to reports to the threat of the Android, saying that the Android on tablets is “an experiment”.
  • In one of the most interesting stories of the day, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, speaking at Computex said that “Windows is too big and it’s too full featured for smartbooks and tablets.”  He went on to say that Android is instead a better Operating System to unite behind.  Huang admits that Android may not be ready for prime time yet but it will evolve.
  • And last but not least the announcement from Microsoft about their Windows Embedded Compact 7  system.  This was unveiled at the Computex show and was running on several slates/handhelds.  Microsoft had a gigantic display showing off the embedded OS on quite a few “tablet” computers.

All in all, I feel that there is definitely a tablet war coming on with the iPad stuck somewhere in the middle of it all. Right now, it’s the only official tablet being sold but we know that will change soon.  The 4.0 version of the iPad OS will hopefully be out in the Fall just in time to battle the other tablets but one thing that keeps standing out in my mind is the intention of the iPad itself.

Perhaps the iPad was never meant to be a replacement for a netbook or a laptop. If you look back at the original keynote it says that it’s “a new way to experience email, the web, and photos.” Well, it certainly does achieve this.  I don’t recall an announcement that it’s a platform for full computing.

As I’ve watched the stories roll by, they all mention the iPad as if it was trying to be a netbook killer but I still feel that there was never any intent there.  Everyone is trying to topple Apple and justifiably so since the reports over the weekend show that by the year 2015 the app market alone will be well over $8 billion and the total units shipped for tablet devices will be well over 120 million.

So is there really a battle or is the media hyping this up to be a tablet war and picking on the iPad because it’s the only game in town right now?  Time will tell but this could be a very interesting summer/fall.

One thing is for sure. Competition yeilds great results for us all when everyone naturally tries to leapfrog the other.  We all benefit with new innovation and the iPad rivals are no exception.

So what are your thoughts?


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