When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 he talked about 2011 being the Year of the iPad, and also the Year of the copycats. Looking at the iPad rivals that have come out so far, I think maybe that second one should be the Year of the Clueless.
This is certainly the year where competition for the iPad is supposed to increase dramatically – with dozens of new tablets hitting the market. A number have already been released and so far the new wave of supposed iPad rivals is proving pretty lame and pretty clueless. Here are just a few examples of this:
— Many rival tablets run either versions of Android not designed at all for tablet devices, a version of Android that was supposed to be the one for tablets but that Google has pulled back because it’s not ready for prime time, or versions of Windows 7 – which is a million miles away from being a tablet operating system. Score one for user experience here eh?
— One big-name tablet came out alongside trash-talking marketing campaigns touting the ‘first professional grade tablet’ and then forgot to include a native email, contacts, or calendar app.
— Another came out promising 4G network capability, and then admitted that’s coming months from now and will require sending the device back to the manufacturer to have it upgraded.
— My favorite recent entry in the Clueless category is the HTC Flyer tablet. This one offers a stylus as a major selling point. Oh, and the stylus is not included with the device but instead is purchased separately at a handy price of $80. Seriously.
So far, the vast majority of iPad rivals offer vaporware (with basic or unique features promised somewhere down the road), lots of trash talk before they’ve even proved they can walk in the tablet market (cough, Blackberry PlayBook, cough), and lots of excuses about being ‘rushed to market’ a year or more after the original iPad was released.
I’d say 2011 is the Year of Clueless so far for iPad rivals.