Step one is actually launching a damn product.
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MWC was filled with tablets- like the Xoom and Acer's Iconia. Every one of them was laser-focused on beating the iPad, or at least on surviving its inevitable onslaught. Here are five things Apple's rivals are counting on to keep them solvent.
1. Multitasking. When I went in for my briefing on the Xoom, the first thing Moto's rep showed me was the new Honeycomb multitasking pane. While the current iPad has a limp 256 MB of RAM and the iPad 2 is expected to pack 512 MB, the high-end Android slates all weigh in at about 1 GB. Apple has all-but-ceded multitasking to their competitors. Android and webOS are both great multitaskers, and we can expect to see any "iPad-killer" focus heavily on productivity.
Apple makes devices that are very focused towards a certain user experience. True multitasking is troublesome for this. It either bogs down everything and diminishes the experience, or it necessitates a beefy processor and lots of RAM. Which has a tendency to muck with the...
2. Battery Life. Talk to any iPad owner and ask them what they love about their tablet. Odds are, none of them will go very long without mentioning that ten hour battery. While a full laptop usually won't go more than 4-5 hours, the iPad can top ten while in-use. You can use it for a full work day without running dry, or use it as a coffee table book of sorts for days on end.
I noticed that Samsung's 10.1" Tab was rather thicker than I'd expected- and I'm hoping that bulk is due to a seriously giant battery. Every rep I talked to was coy about giving me actual battery lifenumbers. Acer, Moto, HTC, the most anyone would say is "comparable to the iPad". Which could mean anything.
3. Media Consumption: Thanks to iTunes and the App Store, Apple will have a lock on this one for a while yet. But the Android app store's continued growth, and Apple's recent changes in app policy will have ever more content providers looking Android's way.
HD gaming and the ability to watch (or stream) HD video were all touted features of MWC tablets. The HP TouchPad features Beats Audio, sound quality being a traditional downside of mobile devices. LG is betting that 3D will be a big winner, so they've focused the Optimus Pad almost entirely around that.
The iPad weighs about 1.5 pounds. The Xoom, the Iconia, the TouchPad, every other 10.1" slate you'll find is in that same ballpark. One of the few benefits to the 7" form factor of the original tab and HTC's Flyer is that the lessened weight makes one-handed reading way more comfortable. iPad owners don't seem to mind their sore forearms though, and we can expect the iPad 2 to drop a few grams from its predecessor. Which might leave the competition feling a little heavy.
5. Slick, Shiny Space-Age Metal. The iPad feels like the future, all smooth metal and almost entirely seamless. The Flyer is also trying to match the iPad's port-free design. While the 10.1" Android slates are loaded with SD slots and USB ports, most of them (Iconia) try to match that feeling of polished metal. Some (the Xoom, Toshiba's tablet) have opted for a more "industrial" feel. These devices tend to grip better than the iPad. That look has worked well for Android devices to date, so those who stray from the Apple line here may find themselves rewarded.