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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tablet Wars; Finally More Fight Than Hype?

For all of you, including me, who are weary of the vaunted competition to the iPad for tablet supremacy jumping into the ring only to roll back out under the ropes with an "Oops, wasn't quite ready... MULLIGAN!" I'm hoping I have good news.

Now I caveat that with "hoping" because I've been disapointed a few times before, and even had a bit of egg on my face with early announcements of products that sizzled before they popped.

With that power introduction, let me share a bit of what I've seen happening.  Full disclosure here: I'm an iPad business user, and I think it's a great business tool that meets *almost* all of my end-user and functional requirements.

The Blackberry Playbook has snuck into our office, and exchanged hands a few times and I've gotten some pretty straightforward reviews of it as a business tool. In a nutshell, great toy.  Yes, it plays flash. Saw that on the TV commercial. What it doesn't do is calendar or email (Exchange based for us, like most businesses) without a Blackberry tethered to it. Wow, really? That's lame. Also, that teeny form factor is somewhere between over-sized PDA and undersized tablet. Sorry, but if it's going to replace a pad of paper, it's got to be the size of a pad of paper. Granted, I'm old & old-fashioned, but so are most of your business executive user base.

I've received word that HP has decided to try again with their tablet. Much lauded in advance of its intended release this time last year, we waited with anticipation for, well, not much. The HP Slate 500 is the current marketplace offering and reviews continue to come in mixed. I found it an interesting side note that last December I posted in my blog about how HP was promoting, on the main stage event at Software Universe EMEA, their IT management applications on the iOS platforms; demoing live the iPad & iPhone managing business services. Rumour is HP is putting the squish on iOS now, I'm interested to find out why... For any of you going to HP Discover in Vegas, try and find an iOS device in possession of an HP staffer at or near the showfloor - and then exclaim - GOTCHA!

So my last note is on a competing device a colleague has just purchased, and I'll see in person when I get back from HP Discover (if you're going to be there, look me up at the Vivit Worldwide booth).  He bought the Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101. Not an Autobot or Decepticon from what I can tell so far, but who knows?

So, it looks like there's some heating up in the tablet wars (finally!) and I sure hope to learn more about HP's upping the ante at Discover 2011 in Vegas.