A Forrester Research survey of about 4,000 consumers reports that 14% plan to buy a tablet computer within the next twelve months—ahead of the 13% who plan to buy a laptop or 11% to buy an e-book reader, PC World reports. Forrester thinks that this is encouraging news not just for Apple, but for its competitors in the tablet form factor as well. (Found via Gadgetell.)
But that tablet probably won’t be a Dell Streak. The LA News Monitor notes that reviews of the $300 cell contract-bound 5” tablet are largely negative. Even though the device is “also a phone”, it suffers from a bulky size that makes it difficult to carry in one’s pocket. Worse, it only runs Android 1.6, not the 2.2 that comes standard with most new Android devices these days—meaning that the device can’t run a number of newer applications.
And meanwhile, Daily Tech reports that Apple has severed ties with engineering design firm SurfaceInk, a company that has been doing design work for Apple for almost ten years. Though it’s no secret that it has also worked for Palm and Hewlett-Packard during that time, apparently Apple was upset enough by a 12.1” tablet prototype that SurfaceInk demonstrated at a trade show to end the relationship.
Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Tab tablet (pictured above) is set to be formally unveiled at IFA on Thursday, but leaked details have been showing up revealing a 7” 1024×600 screen, a “CDMA” label that suggests it’s launching in the US, and a number of iPad-like accessories. It is unclear how well it will be able to compete with the iPad given that rumor has put Samsung’s production capability at only 100,000 units per month—well under the iPad’s throughput. (Found via Gadgetell.)
No matter what those 14% of consumers buy in the coming year, unless it’s an iPad they probably won’t buy it during in the rest of this calendar year. John Biggs at TechCrunch reports on a Shanzai analysis that notes Apple is in no real danger of tablet competition this year.
Why? Because no one will have product in pipeline for the holidays and thus the only things selling in the slate form factor will be the Kindle, Nook, and iPad, in that order, and you’ll note that two of those items aren’t tablets.
Biggs is also concerned that, once products do start to ship, it could lead to balkanization of the tablet market as everyone produces tablets that run on different operating systems or with different requirements. If Apple is a walled garden, at least you know that if you buy an app it will run on their tablet.