Once again, it looks like Apple have a winner on their hands with the iPad. I say that not based on the huge worldwide sales (because there aren’t any outside the US just yet), but based on the fact that so many of the competition, like HP and Dell are leaking information on their own iPad competitors. In a world where imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this can only be a good thing for the original iPad, even if the iPad does not do half of what the competitors do.
The iPad has known limitations right now such as the lack of Flash support, lack of USB or SD card readers, lack of any webcam facilities, and lack of ability to multitask. The competitors seem to be drawing on those weaknesses to create something one step better than the iPad and therefore hopefully more functional. The HP offering is called the Slate and is targeted for release later this year. The Dell offering is called the Streak comes in two flavours, 7” and 10” display and will be a staggered release later this year also.
What remains to be seen however is how well these devices will solve business problems vs being just some cool new gadget that needs to be supported and have software installed on it and so on. I’ll be holding off buying one myself however as I want to wait for the new Windows 7 Mobile phones also due for release later this year. I want to see how well it will satisfy my requirements first before investing in yet another toy.
What do you think? Do you think that these tablet/slate style devices offer something that is a real business tool or is it more of a gadget for geeks and executives to consume productive time?