More news on the tablet PC front this week, and some of it could be a major game changer. While Americans have snapped up the iPad in huge numbers, Apple has actually delayed the international release of the new tablet computer. Because of strong sales in the United States, Apple announced that those in the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland will have to wait just a little bit longer.
According to a statement from the maker, “Faced with this surprisingly strong U.S. demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of the iPad by one month, until the end of May.” The iPad has already surpassed sales of 500,000 in the United States, which is in excess of expectations. International customers can start making pre-orders on May 10, a push back from the original April 24 release date.
Google Goes to the Tablet
Meanwhile if you can wait a while longer there might just be another option for would-be tablet users. This week The New York Times noted that Google is going on another offensive against Apple, and is said to be working on its own tablet.
This is notable because earlier this year Google CEO Eric Schmidt took aim at the Apple iPad, stating that there wasn’t really a difference between a large phone (iPhone) and a tablet. But given that the war between Apple and Google has heated up, it is safe to say that Google isn’t going to let the tablet market slip away without a fight.
A lot of what is circulating is still just rumors, and likely speculation (which is like a rumor but more guessing than fact), but some of it is very interesting. Here is what is what we know and what we think about it:
- It will run the Google Android or Chrome OS – This isn’t surprising, and honestly I speculate that the latter is the more likely option. Google wants to break into the desktop space and the tablet is half way there.
- It will take advantage of the cloud – If it is running Chrome then it is no surprise that cloud computing will be a big part of the equation.
- It won’t be the only Google powered tablet – It is widely believed that HP is working on a tablet that will run Android, and Dell’s Mini 5 Tablet is also running Android.
The final question is whether this will all push tablets in the business market. Personally, I’m still not convinced. Tablets are going to be a segment of the portable computer market, but likely they’ll remain just that, a segment. There will be the usual segments such as desktop replacement, thin and light, ultra compact, netbook and now tablet. But tablets are going to have to go a ways further to fully replace the laptop/notebook/netbook market. It is however interesting to see that Google could be giving Apple a run for the money.
This is notable because Apple has usually come into a category and shown how it can change it, and even dominate it. This was true of portable music players, and for a while Apple’s iPhone was the handset du jour. Unlike with the portable music space, the phone makers fought back, and the iPhone is facing competition on many fronts. But this time Apple’s offensive is being met with resistance before it is even moving forward. Just another reason why the Apple-Google War is going to be worth watching very closely.
Apple iPad in the Living Room
This week The Diffusion Group (TDG) weighed in on why the iPad and its ilk (meaning other tablets) could mean for the home computing. This commentary from the research firm brings up some excellent points, notably on how the tablet is one that grandma could use, and how it can serve as a portable TV for the whole family.