2010 was the year of the iPad. And this is the year the competition starts to get serious. Nearly every company that makes a PC or phone is releasing a tablet to take a bite out of Apple’s dominant market share. Their mission: to give consumers an alternative device for surfing the web, playing games and videos, reading eBooks, enjoying apps, and—yes—getting real work done.
How big is this market? IDC forecasts nearly 45 million shipments of media tablets (as opposed to old-school tablet PCs) in 2011. That’s a pretty big jump from 17 million units shipped last year. Now you see why everyone wants a piece of the action.
The question facing tablet shoppers is whether to get Apple’s sleeker and faster iPad 2 or something else. After months of Apple having the tablet world all to itself, there are finally viable alternatives either hitting shelves now or on the way soon. We expect dozens of Android devices alone, which run a new version of Google’s software designed for tablets. Other high-profile competitors include the BlackBerry PlayBook and HP’s TouchPad.
As they say, choice is good, but picking an OS is only one part of the equation. Here are the factors you need to consider before you buy a tablet.