Phone & tablet wars continue

My latest Slaw post:

Apple fans will already know that Apple has scheduled an event for next Wednesday. While Apple did not specifically mention the iPhone 5, it is rather obvious from the invitation.

Rumour has it that the iPhone 5 will be available September 21.

This comes on the heels of the jury decision in the US that awarded Apple a billion (yes, that’s a “b”) dollars in damages against Samsung for violating Apple patents. No word yet on whether it will be appealed, but given the amount of the damage award, and what the decision could mean for the future of Android phones, it would be surprising if it is not.

No matter how that shakes out, though, Android phones will survive and thrive.

The phone and tablet market is not just an Apple v Android race. Microsoft’s new Surface / Windows 8 products will be a compelling choice, especially for business use. Windows 8 hardware will blur the line between tablets and notebooks. Microsoft’s goal is to bring a similar look, feel, and experience accross all devices, whether it be a phone, tablet, notebook, or desktop. Windows 8 products are coming to market in late October.

The good news for consumers and business is that competition in this market is alive and well, and the technology keeps improving. Each has its fans and detractors, and each has pros and cons for different situations – but none of these are bad choices.

Tablet wars continue

That’s the title of my Slaw post for today.  It reads as follows.

Several of us on Slaw are convinced that tablet computers are game changers.

Apple clearly has the lead with the iPad – with sales of the first version of around 15 million in the first year. While the iPad is the device that is setting the bar, and that all others are compared to, it is not perfect. Critics point, for example, to its lack of flash support and lack of usb connectivity. Others are scrambling trying to get into the market. As an indication of just how competitive the field is, consider the following recent developments.

The Blackberry Playbook is now available – but has not wowed buyers so far. Early reviews suggest that it is fundamentally well designed, but is still a work in progress.

Another competitor is anything running Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. The first was the Motorola Xoom. It has been described as better than the iPad in some ways, but still a work in progress. Some expect that upcoming Honeycomb models such as the Samsung Galaxy versions arriving June 8 will be a serous contender.

Adobe has just announced a development that may bring flash to Apple products.

And Apple just launched a lawsuit against Samsung claiming that its Android tablets violate various patent, design patent, trade-dress, and other IP rights of Apple. It is noteworthy that Samsung is a major component supplier to Apple. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The bottom line is that we are in the early days of tablets, and it will take some time before the winners and losers are sorted out.

ipad2 or Motorola Xoom?

That’s the title of my Slaw post for today.  It reads as follows:

I’m wondering what readers think about ipad2 vs Android tablet.

Lets assume for the sake of argument that one wants a tablet now, rather than waiting for another year to see how the market shakes out. And assume that the choice is between the iPad2 and the Motorola Xoom.

Lets also assume that the intended use is a combination of work and personal.

While this is not an exhaustive list, some things to consider are:

ipad2 pros:

existing user base of 15,000,000 units for ipad1.

huge number of apps

thinner and lighter

ipad2 cons:

no flash support

must use itunes to get content

Motorola Xoom pros:

flash support

direct usb connection instead of itunes

potential sd card slot for additional memory

widescreen format

Motorola Xoom cons:

fewer apps

possibly higher price

Android phones are holding their own against iPhones in the marketplace, so will the same happen with Android tablets?

Will the app advantage close over time? Is the app advantage overblown given the proportion of apps that are mere novelties or variations?

Will apps that matter always be developed first and perhaps only for the ipad given its cachet in the market?

In the long run are the relative advantages / disadvantages distinctions without a difference?