CES 2012 has come to a close. The annual gadget fest is usually a good pointer of what we can expect in the year ahead when it comes to tech trends, although its influence has undoubtedly waned as the biggest players prefer to unveil new products and services under their own steam.
But a crystal-clear trend this year is that certain iPad rivals are once again going to be big on bleeding-edge specs, but lacking any kind of decent ecosystem to properly challenge Apple.
That may seem harsh, but the slates with the best chance of taking on the iPad in 2012 are the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 and Google’s much-hyped budget tablet.
Neither of these were on show this week and with good reason: neither Amazon or the Big G wants to have their tabs lumped in the slew of smart-looking, but sure-to-be low-selling tablets that dominated the show floor in Las Vegas.
Take a look at Toshiba’s Excite X10, for example. On paper, it’s a stunner. 1200x800 screen and snappy 1.2GHz processor, a weight of just over 0.5kg and measuring just 7.6mm, with Android Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.
Tosh says it’s the thinnest and lightest tablet yet. Which is all well and good, but consumers don’t just want the fanciest specs.
Apple has always understood this and while the latest tech is important, usability and content have always been king.
Toshiba can’t control this like Apple can, but there needs to be a greater awareness on Android tablet-makers’ part that devices should have content at the fore, not specs.
The same goes for the Lenovo Ideapad S2. It looks great when it comes to the specs, but just doesn’t have that certain something that could give the iPad and the Kindle Fire the edge in the tablet race.
It’s hard not to feel like all these tablets are simply me-too products, desperately playing catch-up.
They look smart-as-hell, but if you want a breezy, seamless tablet experience, they’re never going to be first choice. These tablets will do nothing to trouble Apple’s bottom line.
Talk this week has suggested the iPad 3 or iPad 2S won’t come chock full of new, killer tech.
Simply put, it doesn’t need to.
iOS and the current hardware are still light years ahead of the competition, and no superslim, extra light, spec heavy Android ICS will change that in 2012.