“Apple may be at the forefront of a renewed effort to bring back the tablet. Electronics manufacturers across the tech landscape are hard at work on their own versions of these flat-screen computers that let users input information via touchscreen rather than keyboard,” Olga Kharif reports for BusinessWeek.
“‘There’s no hotter topic [than tablets] in Asia right now,’ says Richard Doherty, a director at market researcher Envisioneering Group, who says Apple has developed prototypes of two different tablet machines—one that resembles a large-sized iPod and boasts a 6-inch screen, and another that features a larger display. Apple may launch one or both devices as early as September, Doherty says. A decision on whether and when Apple takes the tablet plunge lies with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Doherty says,” Kharif reports.
“Regardless of what Jobs decides, tablets are in the works elsewhere, including at Nokia, the world’s largest maker of cell phones, and TechCrunch, a popular tech blog and information provider,” Kharif reports.
MacDailyNews Take: That TechCrunch tablet thing (CrunchPad) is just plain weird (unless it’s a publicity stunt, in which case it’s genius). If it’s real, the weirdness lies not the actual tablet so much (which, last we heard, sounds too heavy, among other things, to fly), but the maker(s). We’re not sure the comfort level is there for prospective buyers. We’d launch our own tablet, but, alas, we’re cursed with too much sense.
Kharif continues, “Electronics makers Archos and Asus began selling new tablets earlier this year. And industry analysts say other makers of PCs, cell phones, and consumer electronics are quietly designing tablets aimed at mainstream consumers.”
“All these tablet hopefuls hope to succeed in an area where many tech titans have stumbled. Tablets have taken off in narrow niches, such as construction and nursing,” Kharif reports. “But several other tech stalwarts, including Microsoft have failed to generate widespread enthusiasm for tablets. Sony and Fujitsu released tablets in years past, only to phase them out later. In some cases, the devices were too expensive; in others they were awkward to handle. “Price was part of the story, and it wasn’t quite so elegantly done,” says Roger Kay, founder of consultant Endpoint Technologies Associates. Last year, U.S. tablet sales fell by 15% to 711,000 units amid the global recession, according to consultant IDC. They began to recover in the second quarter of 2009, thanks to an influx of federal stimulus money going into industries such as health care, where tablets are used.”
Kharif reports, “So what’s different this time around? Price, for starters. Apple’s tablet may cost as little as $679, Doherty says. Then there’s the Apple software mystique. ‘Apple has a real opportunity to take the magic of the iPhone interface and give that more real estate to do the tasks,’ Kay says. ‘It’s an iPhone, but bigger. It’s something that you know, but bigger.’ The device may be able to wirelessly access iTunes and Apple’s App Store, which offers more than 65,000 apps such as games, e-books, and calendars.”
Kharif reports, “One of Apple’s prototype devices is able to run all Mac applications, and allows for video and audio editing and graphic animation, Doherty says.”
MacDailyNews Take: Which backs up our source.
Kharif continues, “Another, which looks like a larger iPod, lends itself to watching videos, playing games, and reading e-books.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]