Is the tablet war over?

Warning, the writer uses Apple products, I have a MacBook, iPhone, iPad and an iPod. I do not work for Apple or any reseller. I also use Windows and Linux when needed. This article represents my observations on the evolution of mobile products.

18 months ago, Apple introduced the famous iPad. Witch had a huge success. Since then, many competitors are trying to copy and surpass the famous fruit company tablet.

There were the spectacular failures of RIM with the playbook tablet, a product that was lacking maturity and functionality that was launched too early. RIM believed that current customers base would get the playbook as a complement to their BlackBerry. HP announced the end of sale of all WebOs based mobile products including the Touchpad launched a few months ago.

Much hope was placed on the famous ExoPC, a Quebec product that unfortunately was brought to market too late to compete with the other Android based tablet.

Finally there are the Android base tablet that each manufacturer announces as the IPad Killer, but I am still waiting to see them in use in the public transit system while commuting to work or in the conferences I attend.

But why the iPhone and iPad are so popular? There are so many limitations like no adobe flash support, no replaceable battery, no flash card slots and limited multitasking all apps must be approve and found worthy by Apple.

The answer is very simple. No it’s not the easy to use and intuitive interface, all mobile OS are. It is the application ecosystem that is approved and free (well hopefully) of all malware, viruses and other. These apps are easily accessible via the App store. It’s also the ease of upgrading the IOS.

A few years ago during the golden age of Palm Pilot, the amount of available application on this platform was phenomenal. A doctor friend was using his Palm to write prescriptions for his patients, it still uses the Palm but will replace it with an iPhone or iPad simply because the medical applications are available. I used a Palm Pilot for my contacts, calendar and notes; I loved the handwriting recognition that was based on simplified tracing for each letter. It was quick and easy to learn.

Android on it’s side has it all, open source, support adobe flash, multitasking, a full app store. A wide base of manufacturer with a wide variety of equipment for every budget.

But being open source OS, manufacturers can customize it and make the OS updates more hazardous especially when the manufacturer do not supply the update.

Do not think I’m an Apple Fan boy, Google has developed a good OS and by making it open source, it has been adopted by many manufacturers as well as many developer confirming the stability and viability of the platform.

What about H.P. WebOs? Which is in the opinion of several experts the best OS for mobile phones and tablets. HP will continue to develop and make it available to manufacturers via licencing as does Microsoft and Google. Does it have a future? I do not think so; Android mobile platform seems to be the most popular with phone manufacturers. But we will have to see what will be the impact of the acquisition of Motorola by Google.

For Microsoft Windows Mobile 7, it is too little too late. Good OS but the market had already chosen.

What happen to Research In Motion, who created the smart phone? Did they lack vision? Relied on their business customer base thinking that the iPhone and other toys were for teenagers? Or just forget that when you’re the first place, all the others want to catch you and you have to redouble efforts.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, I am a user of the iPhone and iPad, my next phone will be an iPhone, and my next tablet will most likely be an iPad even with its limitations. Simply because these two devices meet my needs.

Who won the war of the tablet? There are two remaining competitors, Apple and Google, which will be the last one standing, I can’t say but I think Apple has a head start.


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