Steve Jobs predicted at the launch of the iPad 2 early last year that 2011 would be the Year of the Copycats in the tablet arena. That proved to be not too far off the mark, as a slew of poor imitations of the iPad were released. At the beginning of last year it was thought 2011 would be the year that competition for the iPad really heated up, with a number of potential serious rivals announced at CES.
A recent article at The Atlantic offers a nice overview of how the large group of tablets announced at CES 2011 have fared. The gist is that their impact has been minimal:
We broke down the trajectories of 17 tablets from CES 2011. In the final tally, I think you could say one is a qualified success (the Asus Eee Pad Transformer), one did OK (the Motorola XOOM), and several flopped (Dell Streak, RIM Playbook) or made no impact (Coby Kyrus, Cydle M7 Multipad, Naxa NID-7001). Nine never were heard from again.
Two tablets that were not announced at CES 2011 but drew a lot of attention by the end of the year are the HP TouchPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The TouchPad, sadly, was killed off very soon after it hit the market. I’ve owned one for sometime now and think it’s quite a nice tablet in a lot of ways, and that it’s a real shame HP killed it so very quickly. The Kindle Fire is proving a big consumer hit, as Amazon’s ‘ecosystem’ and stellar reputation are powerful advantages for it – though it should be mentioned it is not an iPad rival at all in terms of capabilities.
Hopefully this year we’ll see better competition for the iPad. There’s certainly no shortage of companies with ambitious plans for rival tablets – lets hope some of them live up to the hype in 2012.