Tuesday, 11 January 2011

CES 2011 been and gone...

Well, I've had a break and left you all in peace over the Christmas & new year period for a few weeks. Now it's time to review the main stuff at Vegas's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year. Even though Apple doesn't attend CES, yet again this year most of the talk seemed to be dominated by one of their products and this time it wasn't phones but tablets. It's not as if they haven't appeared at CES before; in fact there have been concepts and vapourware from lots of companies over many years. However this year everyone it seems was trying to come up with the "iPad killer". So how did they do?

The most likely competitors expected to achieve any moderate success in the market are the RIM PlayBook and the Motorola Xoom. However one of the biggest problems for competing devices to iPad may actually be the sheer confusing number of devices, with around 40 different ones likely to appear in 2011.

Most analysts and commentators still seem to overwhelmingly believe that Apple are likely to continue dominating as market leader with iPad with around 70% share as these competitors come to pass. The PlayBook will try especially to appeal to those corporates that already run Blackberry devices, however the iPad has already become a consumer-led trojan horse in many large global corporations. The PlayBook seems to suffer some power management and browser/scrolling performance issues, the latter apparently common amongst many of the Intel competitors at CES. Many competitors also have too small screen sizes, and the promise of later larger models will worry potential buyers in case the apps each device is trying to build up will not look so great or function well on a different sized screen later.

Apple still leads the way in aesthetics and design, although a new even sleeker upgraded iPad 2 is expected in the next month or two. They also have advantages in hardware-software integration and hence a better user experience, and their massive app store ecosystem. On the profits side, Apple also have cost/volume advantages in component supplies not only due to the number of iPads being made but also some of the components that it shares with other Apple products. This will make it difficult for competing companies to match quality and price of device.

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