2011: Clash of the Tablets

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2011 is already showing its promise for the tablet market, setting up what could be a heated battle ground. Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show paved the way for tablets with some of the industries biggest companies showcasing their versions of the mobile computing devices. With the iPad taking the lead in 2010, contenders have stepped up to rally the iOS device, bringing some healthy competition and a projected drop in prices for 2011.

Forrester Research recently issued a report projecting double the consumer tablet sales from 10.3 units to 24.1 million units, citing iPad as the leader of the pack. Even with CES and the debut of “would-be competitors,” the iPad still promises to be king through 2012.

At the forefront of the competition are Toshiba and Asus, who, at CES, assured tablets that will feature Honeycomb, Google’s very own Android OS for larger-screened devices. According to Google’s blog on the OS, Honeycomb comes with “better app switching, browser tabs, video chat, dynamic app shortcuts and new versions of Google's Android applications that take advantage of the bigger screen.”

Sarah Rotmann Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research, told PC World "Until now these tablets have basically been big smartphones and for the first time this spring we'll start to see tablets like the Motorola Xoom that run on a version of Android that is really much better suited for that screen size.”

Even with the promise of more tablet devices, Apple is already behind the scenes working on the iPad 2, which is rumored to have updated features such as the coveted front-facing camera. It is slated for a 2011 release.

With the furor of gadgets being promised, one thing is for certain: the bevy of offerings are expected to cause a decrease in prices as the competition starts increasing.

"Later in the year I think we're going to see lower prices, so if you want, wait and let these guys battle it out and keep undercutting each other on price," said Bob O’Donnell, vice president at IDC.

The one variable missing in all of the tablet action? Microsoft. The software giant moved away from the tablet market earlier in the decade due to marginal success, giving Apple the lead while no one was looking. Microsoft did showoff a Windows 7 tablet at CES, but the excitement is not expected to be on par with its competitors.

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Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 Contributor. She has years of experience in business and marketing. Previously, she worked in broadcast journalism and as an editor abroad in London, England for a privately owned magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

TechZone360 Contributor

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