2011, the announced tablet mess

2011 will be a total mess for Tablets. It will look like the computer industry before Microsoft standardization int the 80s. Just have a look at this nice slide coming from Intel presentation at Barclays Capital Global Technology Conference :

2011 tablets with Intel Chip

2011 tablets with Intel Chip

Manufacturers will offer Meego, Android and Windows 7 based on an Intel chip, and other will offer Meego, Android on an Arm designed chip. But in some cases the same manufacturer will offer an Arm and an Intel tablet with different OSs at the same time!

Toshiba and Dell will have both an Intel/ W7 and an Arm/Android tablet. Lenovo will have an Intel / W7 and an Intel / android tablet.

What is really missing, is Windows 7 running on an Arm chip. That would be the signal of a real shuffle of the cards in the PC industry. Anyway 2011 is going to be fun!

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Millions of tablets

According to Mobile Today, Samsung is hoping to meet the million sales mark by the end of this year for its Gaxay Tab tablet. Samsung is said to investigate other sizes and kind of tablets.

Apple is reported to move around 1M tablet a month.

For sure Samsung, along with Apple, seems to be the guy to watch in the tablet space.

2011: the Tablet wars

Next year will see the Tablet wars. Every manufacturer or OS vendor is preparing its Tablet for 2011. Apple, Dell, Archos, Toshiba, Samsung have launched their first device and are working on the next. LG, RIM, HP, … are polishing their “iPad killer”.

There are 2 main battlefields as of today:

  • the 5-9 inches with embedded 3G
  • the 9+ inches

As the fight will rage next year some small and smart competitors will start to search for niche markets. The most probable niches to surface will be:

  • tablet embedded into a sound system
  • tablet embedded into a fixed phone

Here are two pictures to foster your imagination:

pure soundsystem

Pure Sensia

OpenPeak

OpenPeak ProFrame

What will be the OS ? I think Android has some very serious chances as it is free, well known, has a lot of apps, and manufacturers can find a lot of technical ressources.I won’t bet on Windows, whatever flavour, as manufacturers will most probably prefer to keep their margin than giving # $20 to Microsoft.

Dell Inspiron Mini 5, another Android Tablet?

I had the chance last week to attend the 5plus forum in Paris where various companies were showing off their innovations.

A guy from DELL showed some very interesting products apparently running android according to the keys. It was displayed as the Inspiron mini 5:

Dell inspiron 5 tablet

Dell inspiron 5 tablet

Sorry for the blurry picture. It looks like a 5” tablet and the guy announced an Inspiron Mini 7 … He didn’t disclose much more.

The android device range from DELL seems to be mushrooming.

Android threatening WinCE

2 years ago I was working on tablet device (MID) projects for Toshiba. These projects have been dropped as we have preferred to focus on TG01 which was a phone with MID features (big screen, real browser).

At that time were when you had to develop a portable device without voice, you had only 2 viable choices, WinCE (Windows Consumer Electronics) or Linux.
Linux wasn’t a realistic option if you wanted some 3rd parties application to run on the device. So at the end Microsoft always won.
This is no longer the case. All the MID / Tablet that have been launched during the last 6 months are all Android Powered:

  • Archos 5 and Archos 8 run android
  • Dell Streak
  • Eee Pad from Asus
  • Acer to launch an Android or Chrome OS tablet

So beyond the fight Windows Mobile vs. Android, the flexibility of Android is damaging WinCE, one of the core products of Microsoft portfolio. All Taiwanese and Chinese ODMs are now in favour of the Android platform as it is:

  • flexible
  • royalty free
  • easy to customize

I won’t been amazed if an Android Powered PND shows off one of these days.

Android is slowly but surely damaging one of Microsoft milk cow in Consumer Electronics.