About 4 months ago Amir Zmora, VP Products and Marketing of our Technology Business Unit, came back from IFA Berlin and gave a few of his insights in Tsahi’s blog. His title was: It’s Raining Tablets. Well, guess what? Just 4 months later came CES 2011, and Android tablets were all what people were talking about. As Tal Givoly, Chief Scientist for Amdocs, testifies:
While at CES 2010 we already saw plenty of tablets, almost all ran Windows. Now most of them run Android. Now it’s Gingerbread (Android 2.3) or Froyo (Android 2.2) and soon they’ll all be running Honeycomb (Android 3.0, re-designed for tablets). CNET has a good wrap-up for the tablets at CES. 2011 will likely be a great year for this revived form factor.
Lots of action in the Samsung exhibition area. Photo: Robert Scoble.
Hosting our annual sales meeting a few weeks ago and traveling to APAC 2 weeks ago I can now personally testify – everyone are just obsessed with tablets. In fact, it is estimated that anywhere from 75 to 125 tablets were presented around CES 2011. That number is simply amazing.
2011 is about to be the year of the tablet, mainly thanks to what Apple has done (again!) to this weird form factor. And while until recently tablets were regarded as just big smartphones, with Android 3.0 (and the iPad 2?) tablets OS and apps will make better use of the screen size and provide a much better user experience.
But if Android and iOS dominate the market, one may wonder what will be the difference between the tablets, and why would a customer prefer this tablet and not that one? I guess Apple knows the answer to that – it’s not about the spec but the user experience, it’s about delivering on the promise, it’s about creating a new reality.
Cisco knows that as well: Their Cius tablet stands out in the crowd. It’s a “business tablet”, designed for collaboration, and so it delivers an “integrated, contacts-driven, touch-target based collaborative experience”. It also interoperates with Cisco and Tandberg’s product portfolio, allowing enterprise users to use their tablets as if they were using any other visual communications endpoint.
I believe the Cius launch is maybe ahead of time, but in a sense so was Telepresence. Just like visual communication became a reality in the consumer world, and is slowly (but surely) proliferates to the enterprise, so will tablets. If we will start to use tablets elsewhere, just like we use smartphones, we will want to continue to use them at work. And then visual communications on the tablet will seem very logical.
And Apple knows that. While Apple’s new CEO is calling Anroid-based tablets “bizarre”, it’s clear that unless the iPad 2 truly re-invents itself (again!), it will be hard for Apple to stay ahead of the market. According to analysts Android is set to take 15% of the tablet market that Apple currently dominates in 2011. And we are talking a 200 Million tablets market by 2014, 10 times more than were sold in 2010.
So what will Apple pull out of their sleeve this time, other than front-facing camera and FaceTime for the iPad? I’ve eaten my hat too many times lately to bet. But it’s clear that 2011 is shaping up to be a year of tablets. The only question is whether the rain is going to be a rain of bliss or a disastrous flood.