Itâ€™s the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week,Â the annual showcase of the latest and greatest developments in consumer technology.Â CES is known to provide a snapshot of the yearâ€™s major industry trends and a preview of the products weâ€™ll be snatching off the shelves soon. Thereâ€™s no doubt, this year the major IT hardware manufacturers are placing their bets on â€“ tablet computers in a variety of shapes and sizes.
This surge of tablets comes of course in the wake of the phenomenally successful Apple iPad, which has both created and dominated the category in less than 12 months.Â Thereâ€™s over 100 tablet devices hitting the floor at CES 2011, with pretty much every major tech hardware manufacturerâ€”Research in Motion, Motorola, HTC, Asus, HP and Microsoft, to name a fewâ€”hoping to have found a winning formula to challenge Appleâ€™s iPad.
Expectations are certainly high. The tablet market is predicted to go mainstream in 2011 with some analysts predicting shipments in excess of 50 million units.Â The question is, can these new tablets match the user experience offered by the current iPadâ€”or the iPad 2, widely predicted to arrive in the first half of 2011?
From a technical perspective, the answer is yes.Â The hi-res screens, cameras and processing power offered by many of the new products are, on paper, more than a match for Appleâ€™s device.Â However, it remains to be seen whether theseâ€”mostly Android-basedâ€”challengers can provide comparable usability, battery life and access to content. Steve Jobs thinks not, predicting most to be â€˜Dead on Arrivalâ€™, although would you expect him to say anythingÂ different?
Â It will most likely come down to price, with Android tablets offering a cheaper entry point to the world of tablet computing. And with so many new entrants, there surely will be price erosion.Â Â Although one thing is sure, with their in-built GPS receivers, crystal clear hi-res screens and access to Android Market, the new slew of tablets offer some fantastic GPS navigation hardware devices.Â And if prices come under pressure, itâ€™s not inconceivable that a tablet equipped with CoPilot Live will become less expensive than dedicated navigation systemâ€” leaving many consumers wondering why they would every need a dedicated, single purpose device.
Â As weâ€™ve already discovered with CoPilot Live HD for iPad and our Android version running on the Samsung Galaxy Tab (below), the appetite for large screen GPS navigation is already here. Weâ€™re looking forward to getting our hands on as many of the new tablets as we can!Â
What about you?Â Are you planning to purchase a tablet computer this year?Â Will it be the good old iPad or one of the new challengers?