Monday, March 22, 2010

Attack of the Android Tablets!!

On March 12th I pre-ordered the iPad and must confess I absolutely can't wait for it to arrive! But it won't be in my grubby little hands until late April because I picked a 32 GB model with WiFi and 3G (I know...wah, wah, wah). Why? Well, my train commute is over three hours a day and I want to stay connected at all times so I can do things like read the New York Times and Wired, watch streaming video, and check email. And maybe there are a few things Apple fans like myself had wished the iPad included, like a webcam or a USB port, but no matter, I'm an early adopter, Apple fanboy, and not overly concerned about the lack of such features and look forward to writing about what I expect to be a groundbreaking device here.

But while most consumers are probably waiting to see how the tablet wars play out, companies like Dell, Archos, Haleron, NEC, Viewsonic, Asus, HTC, and several others from around the globe are reportedly getting ready to battle Apple in the hopes of winning over customers by releasing tablets of their own in the months ahead. And all will offer at least one that will use Android, the Google Operating System, to drive it. This is a smart and necessary move by these brands, because although some are pretty well known, most of them have no platform to sell products well or a history of delivering a good user experience. By using Android, these devices will have a more stable O/S and benefit from Google's knack for creating the great products we've all become accustomed to using everyday. There are informed guestimates by those in the know predicting at least 50 such tablets of varying shapes and sizes will be available for purchase throughout the year.

The BIG question mark is how, if at all, these devices influence people's book reading habits since they'll be able to access the web, run applications, and present content in vibrant color. To illustrate this invasion of Android tablets, I figure it's best to link directly to some videos that demonstrate the array of nifty features each will be offering.

So, here's a look at just a few:

Dell Mini 5

Entrourage Edge

Archos 7 Tablet (You gotta love this guy's enthusiasm)

Hott MD500

SmaKit S7

And many, many more are listed here at Engadget.

In a previous Blog post I wrote about the upcoming launch of Google Editions and how books will be easily purchased and read on just about any handheld device with a web browser. With all of the above tablets accessing the Internet, it isn't hard to envision how this would be so. Soon a world of information and entertainment will be available with the touch of a finger and way before the F.T.C. complete's its review of the Google Buzz malaise, we just might see the launch of a Google Editions App within the Android Marketplace designed to compete with Apple's iBookstore, as well as Amazon's Kindle App. And as glad as I'll be to read my library on the iPad, it's great to see so many choices on the horizon opening new sales opportunities in both domestic and international markets for publishers and authors alike.

Plus there are a number of non-Android tablets coming from the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Fusion Garage, and Microsoft, so things are about to get real interesting, real soon!

If you're thinking about buying a tablet this year, will it be the iPad or are you waiting to see what else is coming down the pike?

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