We Highlight Notable Products as Global Market Gears Up for 100 Million Sales
With the curtains now closed on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012, I’m taking stock of what it means for the tablet market in 2012. We counted at least 200 tablets on display across the many halls and stands at the exhibition. Of these, more than 70 were newly announced at CES.
Clearly the tablet market continues to attract huge interest from companies across the consumer electronics and mobile telecoms industries. As in 2011, this year’s CES was marked by the entry of several companies to the tablet market. They add to the dozens already struggling to find a profitable niche in what promises to be a market of over 100 million units globally in 2012.
As in the smartphone market, Android’s dominance of devices beyond the iPad isn’t helping manufacturers’ efforts to set their devices apart from the herd. So I expect the price of Android tablets to take a battering over the next 12 months.
However, unlike smartphones, the tablet market will soon see a bit more choice thanks to Intel’s increasingly relevant processors and the impending arrival of Windows 8. At CES 2012, Lenovo showed off its K2110 Atom-based Android tablet, and I saw several demos of Windows 8 tablets at the show.
CES 2012 saw renewed interest in seven-inch tablets. Some manufacturers combined resistive screens with lower-cost processors to target the sub-$100 market; at the other end of the spectrum, Asus and ZTE showcased seven-inch models running quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processors, with the Asus Eee Pad Memo expected to retail at $249.
The show marked the arrival of the first tablets with 1080p displays, a greater choice of connectivity and more connectors (like USB, micro USB and HDMI) on tablets than before. And all this is being achieved on thinner and lighter tablets.
For me, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF700T stood out as one of the best tablets at CES. It’s the company’s third Transformer product and builds on the design of last year’s Transformer TF101 and the quad-core Tegra 3 of the Transformer Prime, launched in December. Notable mentions should also go to Lenovo’s Qualcomm-based S2110, which has a very similar design to the Asus Transformer, and Lenovo’s K2110 tablet.
Finally, there are strong indications that the tablet market in 2012 may become more geographically diverse. Already the Aakash tablet, co-developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan, has received over 1 million pre-orders in India, while the XO 3.0 tablet, developed by the One Laptop Per Child project, will hopefully help bring tablet computing to other emerging markets.
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