The HTC Flyer, Samsung's 10.1" Tab, LG's Optimus Pad, the Xoom and More!
Two weeks ago, prior to one whirlwind week in Barcelona, I listed the six most exciting products of MWC 2011. Now that I've had ample opportunity to play with all of them, and a few days to mull things over in my head, I present the follow-up. Here's the final skinny on the most-hyped slates of the show.
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1. The MeeGo Tablet:
What We Expected: A real product, with a retail name and either a launch date or (at the worst) a launch month.
What We Got: A few scattered (unimpressive) looks at a pre-production tablet and Intel's word that it will launch this year. At some point. We may also see an ARM-based slate, although I was unable to confirm that with the chipmaker themselves.
My Prediction: MeeGo- as a mobile OS- is dead-on-arrival.
2. Acer's Iconia Series:
What We Expected: Pretty, aluminum unibody tablets being demoed at a distance by reps from Acer.
What We Got: Three new slates, two of which seem mere inches away from production. The 7" and 10" Android Iconia slates look magnificent and were both working well enough to handle extensive floor demos. Acer didn't restrict access to any of their tablets- including the (less-polished) Windows 7 Iconia.
My Prediction: Acer hit it out of the park, in terms of design. If the Iconia doesn't pull in a sizeable niche, I'll be very surprised. But wild, netbook-like commercial success seems unlikely right off the bet. The Iconia ramp-up has been far more subdued than the furor around the Xoom, PlayBook, et al. Acer risks being lost in the crowd if they don't start driving some buzz.
3. The 3D LG Optimus Tab.
What We Expected: A gimmicky Android tablet focused around the ability to shoot and display 3D.
What We Got: A gimmicky Android tablet focused around 3D with a seriously ingenious design..
My Prediction: This is a hard one to gauge. 3D draws a lot of interest, but it hasn't pushed sales in the TV realm yet. A convenient multimedia tablet with 3D support may be just what the market ordered. The ultra-convenient one-handed typing design won't hurt LG's bottom line. Consumers want a tablet they can read with comfortable, and the narrow Optimus Pad fits that bill well.
4. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1"
What We Expected: A 10.1" Galaxy Tab with a better processor and cameras.
What We Got: That.
My Prediction: Samsung (along with maybe RIM) is the company best-placed to take the iPad on straight-away. They have buzz, they have a recent history of wild successes and they've also got an established tablet brand out on the market. If any Android slate can be called an iPad-competitor, it is the Tab 10.1.
5. Motorola's Xoom.
What We Expected: The Xoom, with Honeycomb actually working.
My Prediction: The Xoom could make inroads as a moderately successful high-end tablet, competing with the 3G and higher-capacity versions of the iPad 2. Its $800 price tag makes it very unlikely to be a real volume competitor to anything Apple launches. Moto may have priced themselves out of a larger market on this one.
6. The HTC Flyer.
What We Expected: Some sort of HTC tablet, designed to look very much like the Desire HD.
What We Got: A 7" tablet with a seamless design ala the iPad and a high-tech pen for highlighting and handwriting recognition.
My Prediction: HTC will realize the same thing Samsung did. 7" tablets don't really sell like the industry had hoped they would.