Toshiba has confirmed plans to release an iPad-alike tablet later this year powered by Google's Android OS. The manufacturer is also planning a Windows 7 version with two screens, Toshiba's US digital product chief, Jeff Barney, told news agency Reuters last night. The Android tablet will have a 10.1in display, he added, but …
Strange, there is a market
Now st jobs has created one...
There always was a market
The market for "toys" with no immediately obvious purpose in life that cost $500 is a bit hard to pin down. If the iPad had to survive purely on the number of people who know exactly what they want it for, and know that it's worth $500 for that purpose, it might never have seen the light of day either. But the whole i(Pod-Phone-Tunes-Pad) ecosystem has created something of a virtuous circle that allows Apple to build the hardware knowing that it will probably become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. No matter what you think of Apple (and I'm not a fan), you have to admit that they've developed an ecosystem that most other company's would love to have.
Now that Apple has proven that it is possible, in it's universe, to sell such a device for between $500 and $800 and make it a success, it remains to be seen whether an Android tablet for $250 will undercut the iPad because of it's price, or not be taken seriously because "it can't possibly be any good of it's only half the price". An Android pad at $400 just won't sell to anyone outside the technorati (you might as well go the extra 20% and get a "real" iPad). And any device will need to sell far beyond the technorati if it's to get the sort of critical mass that will make it a credible alternative.
Unfortunately, Amazon might be the only vendor with the transaction infrastructure in place to compete with iTunes for an app marketplace, and that's the key piece of the ecosystem that is needed to compete with the iPad. But Amazon probably doesn't want to compete with the Kindle, so it won't build an app store. I don't think eBay has the reputation anymore to make a go of the task, Google doesn't seem to have it's heart in it, and Facebook might have the reach, but it doesn't have a "money" relationship with it's users.
At this point, I don't think anyone but Apple is going to be able to exploit the market for this type of device, and it's not exploiting it because of a great device, but because this type of device expands the Apple ecosystem.
I wasn't the least bit intrested in tablets until i read this. Toshiba has always the best portable brand for me. While their netbooks have been uninteresting, this could be different. Now lets see a price.