Tablets haven’t gotten this much press since Moses came down from the mountain. And a year ago the only tablet most business users worried about was the tablet of aspirin for a headache. But then Apple went out and announced that it was going to roll out a tablet PC, which of course arrived as the iPad and went on to be a big seller.
But Apple wasn’t the only tablet maker in town, and HP, Microsoft and Dell were just a few household names that were mentioned as having the iPad killer even before that device landed on store shelves. In the months since it arrived, the iPad has made news for being banned in Israel (a ban that has since been lifted), and for its Wi-Fi problems, which have been mostly resolved according to Apple. There has also been the release of the Apple iPad 3G, which runs with mobile support from AT&T. And notably there has been the war of words over the lack of Flash support on the iPad, and various exchanges from Apple and Adobe – the latter the developer of the Flash technology.
But this week’s news could be really big, and could be a true game changer. This week The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon Wireless is working with Google to create a tablet to take on the iPad. Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Lowell McAdam was quoted as saying that tablets are part of the “next big wave.”
For business users this is noteworthy if you’re looking to use a tablet but don’t want the iPad. It also means that the tablet market will see some serious competition. Already, HP is among the companies set to release a tablet that will feature Windows 7 Slate – the PC operating system developed specifically for tablets – as well as WebOS-based product. This latter device, which is codenamed “hurricane” is likely to arrive in the fall, and shouldn’t be a surprise. HP bought Palm just weeks ago, likely to get the Palm WebOS. And while the company had announced at CES the Windows 7 Slate device, it seems that HP is hedging its bets. Business users will thus have some choice when it comes to deciding on which tablet to take.
There could even be multiple makers of a Verizon/Google Tablet. HTC was the creator of the first Google Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1. More recently Motorola has achieved some success with the Google-powered Droid. Either, or more likely both, could be likely candidates to make the tablet, as well as other companies including Dell and Archos.
What isn’t exactly known is whether the tablet will run the Android OS, which is Google’s mobile platform, or the Google ChromeOS, which is the desktop OS. However, it wouldn’t be inconceivable to see an entirely new OS. Any of these scenarios is possible, but it is worth noting that Google’s Android has overtaken the iPhone in the smartphone market, only trailing Research in Motion’s BlackBerry platform. This all means that Apple is probably facing a greater fight than it originally expected, and against former partners such as Google.