At some point in Q2, Intel will launch a slew of new Atom processors, including a new low-power dual-core model. The ICD Gemini may launch around August, Dell's Looking Glass is due in November. Notion Ink's Adam will be hitting around the end of summer, just after the HP Slate.
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Delays may hit several or all of these products, but the vast majority of them will still be out by October. November will see the Looking Glass hit, along with (quite possibly) the first generation of tablets that take advantage of Intel's dual-core Atom chip. And, of course, Chrome tablets will start to hit in Q3 2010-just in time for the holidays.
The iPad is about to ride into a perfect storm of competition. This is something the company hasn't had to deal with for a while. The iPhone had around a year to establish itself as the king of the smartphones before any viable competitors started to emerge. The iPad is about to go into its first seasonal shopping frenzy against a stable full of willing, ready competition.
Almost as one, these upcoming tablets have more features and faster processors than the iPad. At least one of them, the Adam, has a battery life edge, while the others at least pack webcams and USB slots and all the other bells and whistles. Manufacturers-a LOT of them, have invested billions into the idea that customers want a more versatile tablet.
Which way mainstream America will go is anyone's guess. But I am feeling cocky enough to make one prediction; winter 2010 is going to be brutal. By the time New Year's rolls around, several promising product lines will be broken, and well on their way to collapse. A few will survive to take the fight to Apple in 2011.
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Post your bets in the comments section. I'm giving 20:1 odds on the JooJoo.