The iPad has a huge impact and will force chip makers, computer hardware and consumer electronics makers, software developers, and wireless carriers to announce plans for tablets.
The mobile operating system for Android launched by Google on tablet PCs has entered the smart phone, but even the latest version of Android 2.3 (also known as Gingerbread) that has landed on the Nexus S is not a tablet-oriented operating system.
Samsung was partially successful in marketing the Galaxy Tab running the Android 2.2 operating system, but most reviews pointed out that the 7-inch tablet is more like an oversized smartphone than a real tablet.
In 2011, Honeycom, the first operating system for tablets, came out. At the Dive into Mobile conference earlier this month, Googleâ€™s Andy Rubin demonstrated a Motorola tablet with an Nvidia dual-core processor running Honeycomb.
The software store Android Market has a good momentum of development, but once Honeycomb is released, it remains to be seen how Google will differentiate between smart phone and tablet applications.
Apple iPhone and iPad use their own design chip A4, but Android is open to all, Samsung, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Freescale, Marvell and all other ARM-based chip design companies targeting Android smartphones all offer tablet processors. The Galaxy Tab uses a Samsung processor with a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 core.
Broadcom, Nvidia, and MediaTek are also promoting their tablet PC chip plans. It is said that Nvidia's Tegra 2 is a "reference platform" used by Honeycomb developers.
In addition to Motorola Tablet PCs, Tegra will also be used in tablet PCs from Acer, Asus, MSI, Samsung and Toshiba. Intel also expressed support for Android, and claimed that Asus, Cisco and Lenovo are all developing Android tablets based on Atom processors.
It is currently known that Acer plans to release 7-inch and 10-inch Android tablets in April 2011. It has not yet been named; Asustek will release 7-inch and 10.1-inch Android tablets in March and April 2011 - Easy Pad, using Nvidia Or Qualcomm chips.
Earlier this year, LG canceled Android 2.2 Optimus Pad plan, decided to wait for Honeycomb release; Motorola has released a video preview tablet; MSI plans to release 10.1 inches WindPad early next year.
Samsung has not disclosed more details since its release of the Galaxy Tab, but it is no doubt that the company will release new Honeycomb tablets in March and April; the Toshiba plan is not yet clear, and its early product Folio 100 has not been successful, but there are rumors that Toshiba will come back at the CES show to launch several new tablet PCs, including 10.1-inch Android tablets.
RIM pushes PlayBook
RIM will launch a new operating system for the PlayBook released in the first quarter of 2011, using a dual-core processor for 7-inch tablets. PlayBook does not use the BlackBerry operating system, but to develop a QNX-based operating system. RIM acquired QNX Software in April 2010.
PlayBook does not run existing BlackBerry applications, but will support Adobe AIR. RIM sees Flash support as the biggest difference between itself and the Apple iPad. RIM needs a new operating system, but its drawback is that RIM needs to distribute independent applications through its own application store.
Recently RIM did manage to attract different audiences. RIM uses PlayBook to make BlackBerry a de facto corporate e-mail service standard, and perhaps more companies will also use PlayBook tablets.
WebOS Returns Since the acquisition of Palm, Hewlett-Packard has upgraded webOS to version 2.0, releasing new software developer tools and launching the Palm Pre 2. Hewlett-Packard said that at the beginning of 2011, more plans will be launched for webOS, including tablet computers. Despite rumors that the PalmPad will be available soon, HP has been tight-lipped about webOS tablets.
The webOS operating system has a lot of advanced features, including true multi-tasking support, but Palm cannot convince developers to develop applications for this smartphone platform, and no one wants to buy a Palm Pre or Pixi smartphone. In order to make webOS successful in the field of tablet PCs and smart phones, HP needs to solve the aforementioned problems of Palm.
What is the outlook for Windows?
It is reported that Microsoft plans to announce a Windows tablet based on ARM architecture at CES. Windows 7 includes touch input support, but Microsoft has not yet customized the interface or developed an application that can run on a tablet.
In addition, although Windows 8 can better support tablet computers, but Microsoft has said it will not release a temporary version of Windows for tablet computers, the new WP7 seems to be out of touch with the Tablet PC. It is estimated that Microsoft's new version of Windows CE will support tablet computers.
However, computer makers have announced the pace of adoption of Atom processors and running Windows 7 tablets. The target customers of the limited Slate 500 Tablet PC issued by Hewlett-Packard earlier this year are corporate customers. Next year, Intel plans to release the upgraded Oak Trail, an Atom platform for tablets and netbooks. Oak Trail will provide better battery life, but still can not compare with ARM architecture chip 10-hour battery life.
A large number of companies, including Asustek, Dell, Lenovo, MSI, and Toshiba, will develop Windows tablets using Oak Trail chips. Asustek plans to release a 10.1-inch Easy Pad in March next year and release a 12-inch EP121 Easy Slate video - an enterprise-class tablet computer powered by a Core i5 processor. It is an ultra-portable tablet without a keyboard and is expected to be available next year. Listed in January.
A MSI executive recently said that it will launch the first 10.1-inch Oak Trail tablet in the market; there are also rumors that Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba will be released at the 2011 CES with the appearance of the same size tablet.
MeeGo Outlook MeeGo is a Linux-based operating system that was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in February 2010. It is a combination of Intel Moblin and Nokia Maemo. Intel began developing Moblin several years ago because Microsoft had not yet developed a Windows version for mobile and embedded Atom devices.
In February 2010, Intel teamed up with Nokia to launch MeeGo 1.1, which supports netbooks, smart phones and on-board devices. The MeeGo 1.1 operating system for tablets is MIA. At present, several small companies are developing MeeGo tablet PCs. Among the mainstream companies, only Acer is committed to developing MeeGo tablets.
In June 2010, Acer said at Computex in Taipei that it would launch a tablet and netbook running MeeGo, but no further information was disclosed. Nokia plans to launch MeeGo smart phones next year, but the role of MeeGo in tablet PCs has not yet been demonstrated.
This leads to the following conclusions: First, the tablet PC market will become more and more abundant; secondly, there will be different operating platforms and application stores available for users to choose. The smart phone market is developing well with more choices, and the tablet market should be similar.
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