In my previous Blog, we discussed how back in the early 1990s, Apple released the Newton Message Pad in a dark time when the ousted Steve Jobs was not guiding the Apple franchise. With almost twenty years of technological innovations since the release of the Newton, it now seems apparent to all that Apple got it right with the iPad. The natural extension of the super successful iPhone helped bust open sales of the iPad beyond early projections. According to financial analysts at Bernstein Research, Apple's iPad is the most quickly adopted non-phone electronic device ever - beating out adoption rates of the less magical DVD player.
Can Apple maintain its lead and edge in this space? After CES this year, it has become very apparent that the tablet marketplace will see dozens of new competitors. Here is a breakdown of what is coming down the pike, and more interestingly, what these tablets are going to run on. From a developer's perspective, this really spreads out the field, since we are often challenged to duplicate an application across multiple OS’s. Here is what we have our radar pinned on in the near future…
Motorola Xoom – Android Honeycomb OS
Motorola Xoom leads the way after CES (it won Best of Show) and will be running on the highly anticipated Android Honeycomb OS (designed for tablets), which it is the first to offer exclusively. The development community has high hopes for this OS and what it could mean for future application development. The device itself is loaded with a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 10.1 inch widescreen HD display, and both front- and back-facing cameras, all in a package that is roughly the same size as the iPad. Amazingly, it supports 1080p HD video and HDMI output, and is 4G-compatible. It will have Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support and feature a built-in gyroscope, barometer, eCompass, accelerometer and adaptive lighting sensors.
RIM ‘s Blackberry Playbook – QNX OS
RIM has had the specs for the BlackBerry PlayBook available to the general public on the BlackBerry website for a while now, as we discussed in my last blog entry. However, they did recently announce at CES that the PlayBook will be a 4G device. The PlayBook will run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS, which uses QNX and supports multi-tasking. Developing for the numerous BB devices as well as older OS's has been a major challenge for ISBX, but we have met and overcome this challenge. We are excited to hear about these improvements and will be building applications for this device in the coming months. Pricing and availability of the Playbook have not been announced yet, but the target release time is early 2011.
HP/Palm Topaz - webOS
HP is most likely going to make a tablet announcement during their upcoming event on February 9th, but as of this week (1/17/11) the web is abuzz with a leak of what apparently is currently in development. The images that were leaked show some interesting elements that this device will feature, such as a front-facing camera, a micro USB port, and no buttons on the face of the device. It seems that HP's developers are taking their time on this one, but HP's acquisition of Palm creates a potential real player in the ongoing “Tablet Wars”. Who out there can say they did not own a Palm at some point? I myself have a drawer of them. If they end up making the better mousetrap, I for one will come!