As pointed out by this article on Slashdot.org a good number of Linux based tablets are also on their way and set to compete with Apple’s iPad. Of the mentioned tablets I think Android based ones hold the most potential simply because Android was designed from the ground up around the idea of touch input.
The other interesting thing, as always, are the comments on the Slashdot post. I just can’t help but feel the majority of tech savvy people simply don’t understand what the iPad is and why it will be a success. According to a large number of the tech savvy, people want a device they can tinker with, install whatever they choose on and is open. Anything else is evil and you’re dumb if you don’t agree. What they tend to forget is there is a large market of people who just don’t care about openness. They just want a device that works without the need to tinker.
My wife isn’t someone who wants to tinker. She wants results. As a tech savvy person myself, it took me a number of years before I fully understood why turning on the TV, stereo, selecting the right input, turning on the DVD player and selecting the right remote for each device in order to watch a movie simply wasn’t acceptable to her. It had to be simpler. The entire setup was so simple in my mind and I had complete control over the system, it all seemed perfect to me. Getting everything turned on so we could watch a movie together seemed like a small accomplishment each and every time. To her it was a complete chore. The answer, in the end, was a Logitech Harmony remote. One button turns on the needed equipment, automatically selects the correct input and the one remote then correctly controls each device without further work. Turning it all off is equally easy. Today I’d never give up that remote because of how it simplified the entire process.
My point is that eventually, getting things done becomes more important than openness or the ability to tinker. I’m more than willing to give some of that up for a more pleasurable experience. I think Android based devices, including phones and tablets, will be successful, but in the area of tablets the iPad will lead because it provides solutions with the least amount of resistance.