Thursday, November 18, 2010

Honeycomb and BB Playbook - tablets for 2011

The more I dig, the more reasons I come up with for not rushing into buying a tablet right away. If Notion Ink's soon to be released Adam tablet does not convince you to wait, check out the news that Samsung has downsized their production of the Galaxy Tab based on poor sales - looks like the company will not be hitting the 1 million sales mark that they had forecast when they released the tablet.

Android 2.2 is optimised for mobile screens, not for the larger 10 inch screens of tablets. Mashable reports that the next release of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) will possibly not address this issue either. Of course, the manufacturer can tweak the operating system as Samsung has done.

Android 3 (Honeycomb) is tipped to be the full fledged tablet-ready version of Android. According to GigaOm, both LG and Lenovo have delayed their Android tablet launch to 2011 to wait for Honeycomb.And this post on Phandroid  suggests that Honeycomb may be out as early as February 2011.

And all the buzz is not just around Android tablets. Check out the BlackBerry PlayBook, dues for release in Q1 2011. This dark horse from RIM might actually be the real iPad killer. The specs include 1 GB RAM, 1 GHz dual core processor, 7 inch screen and a brand new QNX OS which is apparently light years ahead of the BB OS 6. It will offer the BB advantage of sync with BB Enterprise Server for your corporate mail. And Blackberry has announced that at least one model (probably a base level 8 GB) will be available under $500, which is a very competitive price. Frankly, for me, this is one tablet that truly offers a competitive advantage over the iPad (Android is not a competitive advantage, it is merely a choice!)

(image from Gizmodo)
And don't forget that Apple will debut it's next gen iPad next year - probably in July - and will definitely look to create a better product in order to retain their 95% market share in the category. Probably they will include the front facing cam for videoconferencing, a USB port and of course, a processor/ RAM upgrade. It is likely that dual core processor and higher RAM will become a default in tablets next year.

What I am keen to see in tablets however, is stronger functionality. Whether it  is gaming, hybrid e-book reader, or an artists' canvas, the tablet needs to define itself as something more than just a bigger touchscreen.  The more strong functionalities are added, the faster the category will grow.