The Tablet Race

Google Tablet?2010 sees the Tablet Race well and truly heat up, however unlike the Space Race there can be only one winner and it will be, without a doubt, the Americans. So to make it exciting we’re going to look at the major players in the American market that are taking the functionality of computers and convenience of smart phones and combining the two for enhanced usability for consumers.

Now, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking; what race? The iPad was released in the U.S on the 3rd of April this year and went on to sell 1 million units in its first month. However there was life before the iPad and due to the success it has enjoyed Apple’s competitors are sure to want a slice of the action.

Companies like Microsoft and Archos have been developing and releasing tablet PC’s for a number of years. Microsoft developed an innovative two-screen tablet, code named “Courier” that folded like a book. Although the project was shelved to focus on the launch of Windows 7, Microsoft Communications Vice President Frank Shaw has said in response to questions from Gizmodo that the technology used while developing the Courier Tablet PC will most likely be used in future projects.

In 2008 Archos released the highly anticipated Archos 7 Tablet PC which featured an unparalleled internet experience with two memory options, 160GB or 320GB. The larger memory option could hold up to 300 full length movies, more than any other hand held device at the time. This was followed by the Archos 9, released on the 22nd of October 2009. The new tablet featured the Windows 7 operating system, nine inch resistive screen and virtual keyboard.

Their latest offering however, the Archos 8 is the one they hope will rival the iPad. According to Silicon Republic the Archos 8 will run on Google’s Android operating system and is designed for surfing the internet, displaying images and video, and has a built-in web cam for video chat. The tablet will be released in the second half of 2010 in UK and Ireland.

As much as the Courier Tablet PC might have promised and the Archos 8 still does, not to mention the offerings from other manufacturers such as HP, these pale in comparison to what is being heralded as the iPad Killer. According to Mashable Google have teamed up with Verizon Wireless (America’s biggest mobile phone operator) to develop a tablet PC. At this point very few specifics are known about the joint venture but Verizon’s CEO was quoted as saying “we’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience”.

This news further intensifies the rivalry between Google and Apple particularly as Google recently announced it is due to launch its own e-book store called Google Editions as early June of this. Google Editions has the huge advantage of being a web based application which means that it is not tied to an individual device like Apples iBookstore or the Amazon Kindle store.

So ahead of the iPad’s Irish release on the 28th of July I thought you might be interested to know what else was out there before you commit. As always we’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment, they are all welcome.

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