Saturday, January 22, 2011

Will you buy a tablet in 2011?

According to IDC estimates, 17 million tablets were sold in 2010. Nearly 15 million of these were iPads, reports techcrunch and around a million were Samsung Galaxy Tab. IDC projects that approximately 44 million tablets will be sold in 2011 and judging by the number of tablets showcased at CES this year, we should see Apple's dominant market share challenged with a lot of competition from Android-based devices.

These are looking like the top devices of 2011 but of course, it's a dynamic world and several more may come in;

1) Motorola Xoom (which won the Best Gadget Award at CES) 2011) is launching in the US in mid-February, priced at $800. If that's steep compared to the iPad, consider that it's the first tablet out there running Android Honeycomb. It has a 10 inch screen, dual core NVidia Tegra processor and 1 GB RAM and it looks quite gorgeous.

(image from fonearena)


2) At under $500, Notion Ink's Adam tablet represents serious competition for the Xoom, as it takes it head on in terms of feature set. Notion Ink runs an OS called Eden which is a customised version of Android. A head-on comparison of the Xoom and the Adam is available on the IB Times - there is really not a lot to choose between the two. Adam is shipping this month and should start reaching customers' anytime soon, so we will get to hear how it really stacks up very soon. I can't wait. Adam is the only tablet which has seriously tempted me. I really dig the hardware that Notion Ink has put together, particularly the PixelQi screen.



3) Then finally, there is the iPAd 2. Specs have been leaking out regularly especially since the last month. TechRadar has published a very useful summary of all the rumors so far. It seems that the iPad will correct some of the issues that irked people last time round - iPad 2 will have an SD Card slot, front and rear facing camera, a faster processor and more RAM and possibly a better display (Retina display like the iPhone, claim some). Definitely worth waiting for!

What I would love to see is a tablet from Nokia running Maemo Linux, taking off from the N900, but I don't know if that will happen this year. Apple has demonstrated that there is money and demand in the tablet space, even when it is nascent. But I don't know where Nokia intends to play any more - smartphones, affordable phones, handhelds or what. I just think that they have a huge potential to build a stable, useable tablet OS and interface. I wish they would!


This is the year when most of us may actually spring for a tablet even if we did not see a need last year. I might, if the price is right and the hardware excites me. And I have a bit of a choice this year. What about you? Will you buy a tablet this year?