The Kudzu vine originates in Japan and southeast China, but it wasn't content to stay there for long. This voracious plant is spreading like wildfire right now across the southeast United States. "The vine that ate the south" grows at a rate of 150,000 acres every year, strangling native plant life under the crushing roll of its unstoppable bulk.
We're seeing the same problem now with the iPad / iPad 2. Put simply, Apple is sucking up all the touchscreens. Which is one big reason we haven't seen much in the way of competition yet. Look at the Xoom launch. Most stores only got four or five units on launch day.
Right now, Apple buys up 60% of the touchscreens available in the world. Large 9-10" touchscreen displays are hard to find right now. Manufacturers like Motorola are hard-pressed to pry enough away from Apple to make a successful launch. And the iPad 2 will only make things worse.
The original iPad sold 15 million units despite lacking two cameras and a processor capable of competing with a modern netbook. The iPad 2 won't have that problem, and it is thinner and lighter to boot. Some estimates place 2011 sales of the iPad at 40 million. How can any other manufacturer hope to ship their products in sufficient volume to compete?
RIM may be at an advantage here, relative to their Android competition. They've chosen a smaller, 7" touchscreen that may be easier to buy in bulk. Samsung is also relatively safe, since they make an enormous amount of the world's touchscreens and may have the ability to give priority to the Galaxy S 10.1. But we're looking at a very constrained world supply of touchscreens, going up against a rapidly rising demand.
Which means that those of you waiting for a viable, mass-user iPad rival may have to wait until production capacity catches up. Forget the Year of the iPad. We may be heading into several Years of the iPad.