What Will the Tablet PC Market Look Like in 2011?
The tablet sector is poised to get a lot more crowded as vendors rush in to try and grab market share away from Apple's iPad. In early 2011, we'll see a slew of new tablet PCs, many powered by Google's open source mobile OS Android. Columnist Mike Elgan provides a glimpse at the iPad competitors and offers insight on what mobile IT can expect in the tablet space as the market shakes out in coming year. It's no secret that Apple enjoys an unprecedented lead in the touch tablet market. The last major accounting put Apple at an incredible 95 percent market share. Until the iPad's first real competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which shipped late in the year, Apple pretty much had 2010 all to itself. Next year will be different.
In fact, the tablet market is about to get very crowded -- and very weird. It all starts January 6. On that day, CES 2011 begins. The show will be a tablet-fest unlike anything we've ever seen. The generally expected outcome for the market is that the coming flood of tablets will usher in a new range of choice for tablet buyers, and Apple will be forced to share the market with competitors who offer pretty much the same functionality at a lower price, or more and better features at pretty much the same price.
The market should settle, with Apple's share declining to a low, two-digit number with the "open" and cheaper alternatives, especially Google Android devices, taking the lion's share.
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