How come the ipad has garnered such great attention? I guess it’s great to be Apple. They are touting this as a whole new market for possible business apps and other various needs and the greatest thing since sliced bread. The fact is this is not new technology. It just took Apple to popularize it.
The AIDC market featuring handheld data collection devices has had a long history of having tablet PC’s and tablets while designed for manufacturing and rugged environments have been around for a while. The drawback was these devices were always pricey thus limiting the adoption, but they did exist. Vendors such as Symbol now Motorola, Unitech, HP, Panasonic, Handheld Products, Intermec have had some form of industrial tablet available as far back as I can remember. When telnet sessions were the way to connect to your network via RF you always used handheld devices and some were actually tablets for the heavier applications and industrial applications where a lager display was needed. Even the handheld devices with laser and CCD scanners were prevalent in the pre-iPad supposedly newly created market for these products. Even RF devices that did not have scanning capabilities built-in were tethered capable thus allowing the scanning capabilities.
The buzz that the iPad has created has made the industrial applications and ruggedized tablets seems nonexistent. The reality is that these vendors of handheld AIDC devices created this market long before the iPad. Apple has taken the tablet idea and made it available for more widespread applications and front office capabilities which has put it into the spotlight and with Apple’s marketing prowess and power behind it many consumers that were unfamiliar with the AIDC industrial market and its existence. Since the introduction of the iPad other vendors have jumped on the bandwagon such as Samsung, Dell, Blackberry, HP, Asus and others. There is even talk about a $35 tablet for India. How will this affect the tablet market will prices drop ? Will this lead to more customer options ? it seems that at least the Samsung tablet is rumoured to have Android as the OS, which may further separate the iOS from Android and market erosion as now Android phones have now surpassed iPhones. Will the Blackberry tablet be geared towards more a business user than the iPad and what more capabilities will RIM introduce. One such rumour is the wifi capabilities of the Blackberry devices a real step up from other tablets.
So we will see where the market goes and which OS will reign supreme. Hopefully with the amount of increased players in this space should also drive down prices. If you have to absolutely have to have a tablet there will be many available soon. Will the introduction of these tablets cannibalize the netbook market? Like anything else in technology prices will decrease as more players enter the market and the product matures towards a greater acceptance.