After a few false starts it looks almost assured now that the dawn of the tablet generation is just about upon us. Major manufacturers are turning to tablet devices as the new “must have” gadget for next summer – Apple and Kindle may have shown the way, and JooJoo is causing a minor wave, but others are catching up (and on) fast.
The technology rumour and whisper mill is going into over drive – a recent report from DigiTimes Systems told us “Toshiba will launch its first tablet PC model featuring Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor, Android operating system and a 10-inch screen in September-October 2010…”, which probably followed their experiments with the JournE tablet at the back end of last year, whilst PCWorld reported that Lenovo are planning their own tabled, dubbed “LePad”, as they said “The device will be called the "LePad" and will use the Android mobile operating system, according to recent comments made by Liu Jun, senior vice president and president at Lenovo’s Consumer Business Group…”.
HP already announced, following the acquisition of Palm that a webOS based tablet (or Slate) is on the books, in their words “Palm will be responsible for webOS software development and webOS based hardware products, from a robust smartphone roadmap to future slate PCs and netbook.” whilst GigaOM rumoured of a possible BlackBerry based tablet, from Research In Motion, “Some type of tablet is a safe bet now that RIM has gained control of the BlackPad.com domain.” and behind the scenes Apple are most likely beavering away on their iPad 2 which, if the iPhone is anything to go by, is likely to have a higher resolution, more memory, and a more compact (and possibly thinner) form factor.
Amazon are continually refining their Kindle, with the latest iteration smaller and lighter, and you can bet a colour version is sitting in a lab somewhere, USA Today, during an interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezon, asked about a potential colour Kindle and the response was “If you could add color without compromising readability, great. But color is not ready for prime time.” . We already know that both Acer and Asustek are working on their own interpretations of Android based tablet (or pads) whilst Google is launching a Chrome OS based tablet, according to AOL News, “Yes, our source tells us that Google is building a Chrome OS tablet. It’s real, and it’s being built by HTC”.
Microsoft is about the only technology bucking the trend with its about turn on the Courier, although its Hardware team has been teasing its Twitter followers recently with fragments of images of new device it is launching shortly, as it said on Twitter “Like a wallet or a cell phone, you won’t want to leave home without it: http://twitpic.com/2fni7y”.