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Staying on Top of the Emerging Tablet Device Market

By Hannah Johnson

The tablet market just grew recently. Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the HP Slate will go on sale this year to compete with the iPad and the upcoming RIM Blackberry Playbook (coming out sometime next year). Of all the tablet PCs, the HP Slate is the most computer-like. It runs Windows 7 and ships with 64GB of storage space.

But will the Slate suffer the same fate as the netbook category? After all, it is basically a less powerful computer without a keyboard, mouse, or dvd drive. And despite the touchscreen, it doesn’t have any of the advantages that other tablet devices have like GPS, an app store or longer battery life. And at a whopping $799 retail price, consumers might opt for a plain old laptop instead.

Statistics on how many people read how many books on their iPads vary, depending on who is reporting these numbers. However, it is safe to say that tablet devices are changing the way consumer think about reading, whether they are reading books, newspapers, magazines or blogs.

Earlier this week, Berlin-based textunes reported that sales of enhanced e-books have overtaken sales of e-books in their store. Content like this cannot be consumed on a dedicated e-reading device, which makes the tablet segment that much more important for for publishers.

While the iPad is the current forerunner in the tablet market, this could change quickly as more device makers create tablets with extra bells and whistles to attract consumers. In the smartphone market, sales of Android devices overtook iPhone sales this year, and many companies scrambled to bring out Android versions of their mobile apps to keep up. As providers of LOTS of content, book publishers are well positioned to push their books out to the tablet market, and most successfully if they keep up with the latest developments in this arena.

PC World has a great comparison chart for the tablet devices that are (or will be) on the market.

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