Is there a tablet or an iPad market?
Is there really a tablet market out there?
Obviously this question doesn't apply to Apple's wildy successful iPad. Yes, the numbers speak for themselves - there is a huge market, with almost every quantitative statistic on iPad sales being calibrated in the millions.
Interestingly enough, Apple was not the first to develop and market a tablet computer.
However, the success of the iPad has predictably spurred other PC makers into trying their hand at various tablet form factors.
The competition has thus far have been rather lackluster: unimpressive at best and disastrous at worst.
Microsoft’s dabbling with slate PCs is virtually DOA, with logic dictating Redmond may want to watch from the sidelines for a while before trying its hand again.
Then there is the Android Galaxy Tab - probably one of the most anticipated and talked about tablet PC after the iPad and to rival the iPad. After getting off the blocks at a blistering pace and chalking up a million sales in no time, the Galaxy’s sales have more or less leveled out. Market exhaustion? Unclear.
Motorolla’s Xoom, running on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, is not selling as well as initially anticipated. Another usual suspect - RIM - has not been spared. The Blackberry PlayBook has been a punching bag for tablet reviewers.
Yes, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer may have sold out on BestBuy.com, but that is probably due to a (severe) lack of stock more than anything else.
HP's TouchPad fhas not arrived in the market yet. But with the number of casualties from other tech companies piling up fast, the TouchPad will need to fare a lot better if it is to make any impact worth talking about.
As if things were not bad enough for the competition, Apple has gone for the jugular of what is its closest competitor - Samsung.
Apple’s charge that Samsung's Galaxy "borrowed" a tad too much from the iPad will not make developers of future tablets any less nervous - because it is difficult to develop a tablet PC that does not at least have at least some semblance to the iPad.
Clearly, the iPad has been a resounding success and the competition has barely managed to keep its head above water – at least so far.
As such, the iPad has become the de facto market standard, with competitors struggling to answer a single question: why would anyone want to buy a non-Apple tablet?
Unless Apple makes a huge blunder, the question will likely remain unanswered for the forseeable future.