It’s three months since the launch of the iPad, and the much-heralded “Android iPad killers” are somewhat thin on the ground.
HTC, probably the best Android hardware company around, isn’t making one. Neofonie’s WePad isn’t just missing in action – its site has vanished is still around, although the WePad has metamorphosed into the WeTab and still hasn’t been released. MSI hasn’t released its 10in Tegra-based tablet. Dell, of course, has brought out the Dell Streak, but that’s not really in the same league as the iPad. And LG has announced… something. For the fourth quarter of this year.
Of course, Microsoft is still claiming that it will have tablets which will make the iPad look second-rate, despite the quiet demise of the HP slate that Steve Ballmer showed off earlier this year. Whether these slates will actually have what it takes to be a success is moot: certainly, so far, Windows-based slates haven’t proved popular.
The only company to make a successful business out of them has been Motion Computing, which wisely focused on the kinds of vertical markets which need both Windows compatibility and a well-built slate format.
Mary-Jo Foley, one of the most astute observers of Microsoft around, puts it thus:
“All that said, there’s more to a slate than just the physical form factor. If there isn’t longer battery life, instant on/off and some kind of app store with not just the usual business apps, but also consumer-focused apps and games, I’m not so sure users are going to bite…”
Amen to that.