I’m not sure the author of this article fully grasps just how many Android Tablets are available to date – even though most are just being sold in Asia.
If a tablet falls in the market and nobody notices, did it make a sound?
See, the tablet space is apt to be much more crowded this fall than you might think. The iPad is just the first tablet on the market that’s powered by a truly mobile set of hardware and software, and there are lots more coming from every corner.
Maybe you forgot about Google? The Android operating system could easily show up on a range of tablets before you know it, providing an experience similar to what Apple and this newfangled HP/Palm gadget can do.
But that’s not all from Big G: Chrome OS hasn’t made many waves lately, but Google has said that “netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.” Hardware partners include HP, Toshiba, Acer, and Lenovo, so we’re likely to see multiple vendors offering Chrome OS tablets soon enough. Yes, HP could be hedging its bets here. And if Android and its rivals were built for smartphones, Chrome OS simply puts the Web on a tablet, glued to a touchscreen and a battery. Simpler may be better when it comes to stretching battery life and creating a clear user experience.
Fellow Fool Tim Beyers feels that Google made a mistake by committing to two separate mobile platforms, but I’m not so sure. Yes, Android and Chrome OS overlap to some degree, but they are ultimately aimed at very different and clearly defined market segments. If all you need is a portable Web browser, Chrome OS is your thing. For the full application-infused mobile computing experience, there’s Android.
This is shaping up to become a bloodbath. Consumers will be swift to vote with their wallets, and the pretenders will quickly fall away from the true winners. The iPad got a head start and caters to a crowd of raving fans, which adds up to a leadership position. One or both of the Google-approved platforms should make a serious dent in the market. Windows Phone is running late, and the rest are mere mirages at this point; seeing them in the real world will be a pleasant surprise.