Published on May 16, 2013 | by Talal Alhumaid

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Tablet Storm

5 different tablets on display

With so many models to choose from, the tablet market is becoming increasingly diverse. [flickr: gaymer1]

WhenApple revealed the iPad back in 2010, nobody expected the massive impact that it would have on the global technology market. Many reacted negatively to the device’s announcement, wondering why anyone would want to fork out £429 for an oversized iPod Touch. People expected it to be a failure. However, when Apple sold one million devices in its first month, it became clear that there was a massive demand for an easy to use touch screen tablet.

The market expands

Shortly after, many different tech giants dived into the tablet market and, soon enough, the iPad had quite a number of competitors. Fast forward to 2013 and the tablet market has grown massively. With models such as the Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, consumers now have a huge selection to choose from. Microsoft has also recently joined the Tablet world with the introduction of their Surface tablet line-up, bundled with the Windows 8 OS.

Apple’s dominance wanes

Following the growth of Windows and Android tablets, Apple’s tablet market share dropped to 48 per cent, down from 63 per cent in 2012. With Android commanding 43 per cent of the market share, the iPad’s dominance has dimmed. Samsung has also gained brand recognition with its high quality devices such as the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note. As a result, Apple definitely doesn’t have the same grasp on the market as it had before.

Today, Apple offers two sizes for the iPad in the forms of the 4th generation iPad and the newly introduced iPad Mini, brought forth to compete with the increasingly popular smaller Android tablets. The 4th generation iPad boasts a 9.7in Retina display and starts at the high price of £499, while the iPad Mini starts at a much cheaper £269 and has a 7.9in non-Retina screen.

Kindle or iPad?

Other smaller tablets such as the 7 inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD come at the much lower price of £159, while Google’s Nexus 7 tablet starts off at £179. These tablets offer higher resolutions and faster processors than the iPad, so it’s easy to see why someone would prefer them to Apple’s Mini. But at the same time, Apple’s iconic and simple to use iOS eco system is a big selling point. Apple has always been known for its sleek design and high attention to detail, and therefore the high price is justified in some people’s eyes. Apple’s design philosophy has always been about simplicity, as Steve Jobs famously said in 1983:

 “What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes.

Another major player in the tablet war is Microsoft with its line-up of Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, with the Pro’s expected release at the end of May in the UK. Surface Pro is a fully-fledged PC in tablet form that is large in both its build and price, which may be off-putting for potential buyers. It’s also been criticised for not excelling as a tablet or as a PC.

The alternative would be the Surface RT, which offers the Windows 8 tablet experience only. Microsoft currently has a 7.5 per cent market share and analysts are expecting the company will face significant challenges in the market.

With growing competition and tablet technology forever evolving, it will be interesting to see how things turn out in the tablet race. While brands such as Samsung are gaining wide recognition, Apple is slowly losing its tablet crown.

There are many ways the competition could go, and new competitors could also appear in the not so distant future. As rumours of new devices constantly float around the web, it’s a certainty that anybody looking to buy a tablet will be faced with a healthy variety of options, and that can only be a good thing.

 

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