January starts off 2010 with much excitement and anticipation. January 7th is the start of the Computer Electronics Show (CES). This is where vendors like Nikon will present their products like the CoolPix S1000pj. January 26th Apple will be making a significant product announcement. It has been greatly speculated that Jobs will be announcing the long anticipated Apple "iSlate." Lastly, it has just been reported by ComputerWorld that on January 5th, Google will be holding an Android, invitation-only, event at the Googleplex in Mountain View. The event will consist of a press conference, presentations and question and answer sessions.
Although January starts off the new year with much fan-fare -- it's 2010 that the industry will be watching very closely. The speculation is that 2010 will be the year of the tablet. We seem to have more speculation than facts these days. The rumor mill is producing four distinct tablet stories. We are looking at the Microsoft Courier, the Apple "iSlate," HP might be in tablet development and it was just reported in Gizmodo that Google and HTC are supposedly working on a tablet.
Some in the industry are speculating if Schmidt is purposely holding the Google conference right before CES. This is a similar move to what Jobs did in 2007 -- when he announced the iPhone right before CES. In essence, the iPhone became all the talk at CES 2007. I think that Schmidt is a smart man. This very well calculated move worked for Jobs and Schmidt is hoping it will do the same for Google.
In a post first reported by David Richards of Smarthouse, he confirms that HTC has a product that will compete with the Apple tablet. It appears that Schmidt is going to pull a "one more thing" on January 5th.
HTC, who has been working closely with Google for the past 18 months have several working models of a touch tablet including one model, is based on the new Google Chrome Operating System say sources. An Android based device which is set to be shown privately to core HTC customers at the CES Show is set to incorporate new Qualcomm processors, touch technology and new software from Adobe.
Although the competitive landscape of the tablet is young it would appear that Apple and Google have a significant lead. Of the two, I do believe that Apple has the advantage. Leaving technology behind for a moment. The tablets will succeed based on two factors -- price point and content.
Apple is rumored to be coming in between $700 - $900. The price is rather steep and may keep many from buying the iSlate. The high price maybe justified since the iSlate is apparently content rich. Apart from what is already offered in iTunes the story is that CBS and Disney are very interested in providing TV subscription services. Additionally, Apple has been rumored to be speaking with publishers, broadcasters and movie studios to bring subscription based services to iTunes. These services may come in the form of news papers, text books, magazines all updated in real time, living stories and Internet TV -- all operating on a 3G or 4G network; even white-space is a strong possibility. This makes the iSlate sound more like a media tablet, than a big iPhone.
As far as the Google - HTC tablet, I have not heard of price or content packages. According to PCWorld the Google Chrome OS-based netbook "will come pre-installed with Google apps such as Google Map, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calender, and Google Search by Voice." I am making the assumption that the tablet would at bare minimum have this set of applications -- since it's running the Google Chrome OS.
With all these speculations and some facts, there is still a level of uncertainty on what Google will be presenting on January 5th. The speculation runs their entire portfolio. Whatever happens on the 5th one thing is certain -- it will be all the talk at CES 2010.