Pick the winner(s)
The challenge for the consumer who wants a tablet right now is to look at the units available and determine which companies will be the survivors, because consolidation will occur.
Unlike netbooks, with their early media frenzy and consumer enthusiasm because of the low cost and notebook "look," the tablet market will have staying power.
The problem was, the netbook was an anorexic notebook, which most people quickly found had severe work processing shortcomings.
Initial media tablet buyers will encounter similar issues. If you are going to use it to:
- carry and show presentations, photos and videos – it's a great device
- take it to meetings for notes – works well
- web surfing – good
- reading books anywhere/everywhere – fair but you're better off with an eReader like a Kindle (easier reading, relatively cheap)
There will be a world of apps – free and paid – that can be downloaded. The challenge will be to locate the specific apps you need. The media tablet will not replace your smartphone, even if the tablet has a phone capability designed into it – dumb idea to hold something that large up to your ear, but go for it!
The media tablet will not replace your notebook for real work – producing presentations, video post production, work processing, holding large volumes of materials for business, school. Kool-Aid drinkers swear the touch screen can be used for typing and work processing, but it gets smudged very quickly and for long typing periods it is awkward at best.
"Experts" agree the ideal media tablet should sport the following specs:
- 10-inch screen
- ARM processor for low power consumption
- 32/64/128GB internal storage
- 2-4 USB ports to add storage capacity or backup to external drive
- SSD slot for photos and other content
- WiFi and wireless – use the WiFi whenever possible because wireless will be expensive; some units are available without carrier wireless plans, which we think is the best approach for the user.
At CES, we talked at length with industry analysts, company executives and retail executives about the devices, market potential and here's what we found out.
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