On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… (a LOAD of new tablets)

It’s almost christmas and while all over the western world, people are hunting down presents, computer companies are already preparing for next year.


It’s already been ‘leaked’ that 2011 will see a host of new products hitting the market, especially in the hotting up tablet isles of PC World. Apple, Microsoft, HP and a host of other hardware manufacturers have announced upcoming tablets to add to the filling store shelves and to the cool kid’s canvas bags which are flying around.

As usual the most exciting leak comes from Apple who have suggested that their iPad mk. 2 could begin shipping as soon as April of next year. Its already been rumoured to be packing a host of new features; front-facing camera, expanded memory and battery life, sleeker and lighter design as well as the usual speculations from people who still believe Apple will put USB ports on their portables.


Of course, this won’t happen, given the money which the Cupertino firm makes from selling wired adapters for products across the board thanks to their stubbornness. They make so much money from these sales in fact, Apple could almost be considered an accessories company rather than a hardware or software firm.


It has been seen as long overdue for companies like HP to bring out their own answers to the iPad, however what’s most interesting is that Microsoft have tried again. Failing to be put off by the failure of the last tablet launch, Microsoft are set to announce a new range of windows-powered tablet machines.

HP Slate and iPad

HP Slate side by side with the good old iPad

From what’s already been sent out, it appears that windows slates will be powered by windows 7, the software behemoths latest operating system. While in landscape mode the interface will retain the traditional windows layout and input methods, while in portrait a specially designed skin will take over making the traditional interface more friendly to being used in a small restrictive manner.


From what we’ve heard already, the Windows tablets can already be written off as failures, the company which was king for so long is still failing to grasp the 21st century principle of portable computing; simplicity is key.


Apple set the trend with what is now iOS, and Android followed suit with it’s own versions and to be fair has done rather well. Both operate systems are simple to use, sleek and watered down compared to their desktop and laptop cousins with a lower RAM count to balance everything out, resulting in snappy and easy to use operating systems, maximising portability and simple usability. Windows however, keeps loading these big operating systems onto tight touch screens, attempting to pack as many desktop features into the tight space, failing to realise what tablets really are; go betweens, computers for those who don’t want, or need the full features of a windows or apple desktop.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Samsung Galaxy Tab, Android's answer to the iPad.

As far as Android is concerned, its managed on very well. Sales of the Samsung Galaxy tab are beginning to pick up, with over one million sold in two months. While this is slower than the iPad to shift, it does represent a significant threat to the iPad dominance (at least for now).


It must be noted that while Apple does retain dominance over the portables (iPhone and iPad) its not for the software, the manufacturer has nailed just what people want in their tablets and smart phones, a blank slate to do with what you will.


Each iPad and iPhone is identical to the last, but the idea of getting a blank slate to fill with your own apps, and a pad which allows you to use it for whatever you like, rather than being pigeonholed by a single advanced feature (brilliant camera, or music focus) the iPad/iPhone instead gives no preference and as a result never creates a niche and never gives potential buyers the feeling that they must use the advanced camera (Nokia N8) or that they must use the fantastic music player (Sony Ericsson). Its only when hardware makers begin to realise this that Apple might be toppled, and android installed as the next king of the operating system



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