When Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad back in January this year, we sort of expected it would become the year of the tablet. Since then vast amounts of articles have been written, devices sold and apps released, and it is clear that the ‘magical’ device has helped create a mass market for an entirely new category of device – the tablet.
To be honest, iPad was far from being the first to market with a tablet computer. Companies such as HP and Toshiba launched tablet PCs years ago, and touch screen Personal Media Players from the likes of Archos are well established. But the iPad does appear to have made the all important breakthrough into widespread consumer adoption, with over 3 million reportedly sold already.
It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery, and if that is the case, Apple should feel very flattered indeed. Over a dozen new tablets have been announced over the past few months of varying shapes and sizes, most notably from Dell with the Streak. Even BlackBerry is reported to be getting in on the act with the rumored ‘Blackpad’. However at least one of these contenders is shaping-up to offer a very credible alternative to the iPad: Samsung and their newly announced Android-based Galaxy Tab.
2010 has also been all about the rise of the Android Operating System, which when it comes to smartphones, is currently offering the strongest competition to Apple’s iPhone, thanks to devices like HTC’s Evo and Samsung’s Galaxy S.
The Galaxy Tab certainly appears to be the equal of the iPad in terms of design, and in several ways has advantages compared with Apple’s tablet. For example it offers support for Flash web sites, has cameras for video conferencing and is both thinner and lighter. Of course it does not support iTunes or Apple’s enviable iOS4 user interface, but it does include the latest version of Android: 2.2 and access to the rapidly-growing Android Market.
For us, the Galaxy Tab is yet another great GPS-enabled mobile device that should be able to run CoPilot Live. With it’s hi-res screen it potentially offers a truly fantastic in-car guidance experience, and you’d imagine would be slightly easier to mount in-car than iPad thanks to it’s smaller size. It is apparently the first in a series of tablet devices for Samsung, of which the company has said it expects to sell 10 million in the next year. If the reaction of the tech press is anything to go by it certainly has a fighting chance of achieving that target. In the meantime, we will be working to optimize CoPilot Live for this first Galaxy Tab and it’s large 7” screen.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Tab! Are you interested in buying one when they come to the U.S.? Do you think it stands a chance aganist the iPad?